Labour's annual conference has got under way in Liverpool, with delegates voicing their anger at "vicious, venomous and vindictive" Government cuts.
Thousands of MPs, councillors and grassroots activists gathered for the five-day rally which party officials have themed "fulfilling the promise of Britain".
But there were tears as conference chairman Norma Stephenson announced her decision to step down, and controversy as constituency Labour Party members criticised the time allocated to debate plans for "refounding" the party.
Welcoming delegates to Liverpool, the Labour leader of the city council, Joe Anderson, urged activists to highlight to the public the differences between Labour and the Conservatives.
He said: "We need to tell them and we need to tell them loud and clear that there are ideological and principled differences that separate us.
"While the previous Labour Government, based on Labour values, targeted its resources towards the poor and those most in need, it's the Tories, based on their principles and values, that have targeted the most savage cuts in generations to the poor and those most in need."
Mr Anderson accused the coalition of "a venomous, vicious and vindictive onslaught, never seen before".
Clutching a cardboard sign bearing the slogan "Vote Ken for London" - in a reference to Ken Livingstone's bid to become the capital's mayor next year - Mr Anderson told the conference: "We need to keep reminding ourselves and the public that during 13 years of a Labour Government, we saw cities treated fairly and recognised and respected as part of UK plc.
"We saw Liverpool, along with other core cities, benefit from massive investment and support."
He claimed the "global economic crisis" was "not caused by Labour but by those institutions who abused the trust of the nation". He added: "We know that, they know that and the Tories know that.Â This message needs to be made loud and clear: there is a better way - the Labour Party way."
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