Bid to end EU crisis

Prime Minister Tony Blair yesterday called for Europe's constitutional crisis to be resolved as quickly as possible to give the Union a new set of rules for the future.

Prime Minister Tony Blair yesterday called for Europe's constitutional crisis to be resolved as quickly as possible to give the Union a new set of rules for the future.

But he warned that EU leaders could not simply brush aside the fact that Dutch and French voters delivered a resounding "no" to the original constitution plans nearly two years ago.

The EU has been rudderless ever since - but the celebration summit delivered a clear pledge to get the project back on track.

A new EU mission statement - the "Berlin Declaration" - proclaimed: "We are united in our aim of placing the EU on a renewed common basis before the European Parliament elections in 2009."

Casino revolt

CULTURE Secretary Tessa Jowell has refused to drop an all-or-nothing ultimatum to MPs over supercasinos despite a late Tory decision to vote alongside Labour rebels.

Plans to build Britain's first Las Vegas-style gambling venue in Manchester could be put in jeopardy if the Government cannot persuade critics by Wednesday's Commons vote.

More than 100 MPs - including 83 from Labour - have signed a parliamentary motion expressing "surprise and regret" at the selection of Manchester.

Critics warn the city's relatively high levels of unemployment and income support mean too many vulnerable people could have easy access to gambling.

Addiction fears

SUPPORT for prisoners with an alcohol addiction "falls far short" of the help available to those with drug problems, a new report claims.

National voluntary agency Alcohol Concern wants ring-fenced funding for programmes to reduce dependence on alcohol in a bid to cut crime, and claim 35% of all prisoners say they have a drink problem.

The report, Tackling alcohol misuse in prison: a window of opportunity or a lost opportunity? also said that 46% of prisoners believed alcohol was a causative factor in their offending.

Straw's man

GORDON Brown's bid to become Prime Minister stepped up a gear yesterday when Jack Straw announced he would run the Chancellor's campaign to succeed Tony Blair.

The Commons leader declared he had "no doubt" Mr Brown had the best combination of experience and vision to succeed Tony Blair.

His endorsement came amid renewed speculation of a potential challenge from Environment Secretary David Miliband.

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