Protest to clog Manchester city centre
MANCHESTER transport will suffer major disruptions tomorrow for Gordon Brown's prime ministerial "coronation".
The Labour party has picked the city to formally announce that the Chancellor will replace Tony Blair - and reveal who will be his new deputy.
But with thousands of anti-war expected to take part in a protest march to "welcome" Mr Brown, buses, trams and roads will all be affected. Dozens of bus routes - including the free Metrolink shuttle - will be diverted from 10am until late afternoon. Services 33 (Wigan-Manchester), 63 (Brookhouse-Manchester), 84 (West Didsbury-Manchester), 105 (Manchester Airport-Manchester), 255 (Partington-Manchester) and 256 (Flixton-Manchester) will be diverted away from the city centre from midnight tonight.
Metrolink services running through the city centre will also be stopped from 12.45pm until after the march has passed - expected to be up to 75 minutes later.
A rolling programme of road closures will include Princess Street, Oxford Street, Peter Street, Deansgate, St Mary's Gate and Cross Street.
Greater Manchester Police has pledged to minimise disruption and will reopen streets as soon as the practical after the march, which starts at 1pm in Albert Square, has passed.
The Stop the War Coalition will also hold a series of speeches outside the town hall from 2pm, including an address by Eddie Hancock - whose 19-year-old son Jamie, from Wigan, was killed in Iraq.
During the march protest leaders aim to deliver open letter to a representative of Mr Brown saying: "We urge you on behalf of millions of British voters to withdraw British troops from Iraq no later than October 2007. We also urge you to declare that this country will not participate in any attack against Iran and will pursue a foreign policy independent of the administration of the United States of America." (NWN: Our emphasis in bold)
The letter has been signed by 4,000 people including actor Pete Postlethwaite, ex-Coronation Street star Shobna Gulati and Peter Hook, from New Order.
The Labour "mini-conference", at the Bridgewater Hall, has attracted 3,000 party delegates - as well as thousands more media representatives from around the world.
It comes amid continuing controversy over Mr Brown's decision to offer government jobs to politicians from outside the Labour party.
News the Chancellor had offered the post of Northern Ireland Secretary to former Lib Dem leader Lord Ashdown prompted criticism from Conservative shadow Commons leader Theresa May, who accused him of "offering Cabinet positions like knocked-off watches".
Lord Ashdown himself criticised Mr Brown's attempts to "add the Liberal Democrats as a bungalow annexe to a Labour Government".
But Mr Brown defended the move, saying he had to "draw in" the most talented individuals and arguing there was "a lot of common ground" on major issues which transcended party labels. And a new poll showed more than one in three voters would be more likely to back him if he succeeded in recruiting Liberal Democrats to his first Cabinet.
NWN: For once we agree with the reds here ! Brown is a mental misfit, just check the way he breathes, he sounds like darth vader ! No offence to disabled folks, but surely we should have the very best available to run the UK.
Brown has also never been elected nor voted by the British people for the position of Prime Minister.
Also, asking Paddy 'Pantsdown' to be a Minister ? What the hell is that all about ? Ashdown has been rubbish at everything he has turned his hand too.