Brown's bid to rally party as Labour slips to 3rd place in poll

Brown`s bid to rally party as Labour slips to 3rd place in poll London: The ruling Labour party in the UK was today pushed into third place for the first time in a generation in a new poll, even as embattled Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a last-ditch bid to win over Britain's "squeezed middle classes" in a bid to avoid a wipe-out in elections next year.

Brown, in his speech at the party conference in Brighton, pinned his hopes of political survival on an appeal to the "squeezed middle classes", insisting that he would stand up for their values.

He accused the Conservative Party of being heartless as he urged Labour to "never, never stop believing" and unveiled a raft of new policies aimed at staving off political oblivion.

His hugely ambitious programmes of reform set out plans for free health care, free personal care for the elderly and a series of plans to address anti-social behaviour.

His fighting speech came after an Ipsos Mori poll put Labour at 24 per cent, the opposition Liberal Democrats at 25 per cent and the bigger opposition Conservative Party at 36 per cent. The general election is due in Britain by June next year.

The latest survey also suggested the Tories have lost some support to the Lib Dems.

The survey pointed out that the Lib Dems traditionally enjoyed a "bump" in the polls after their annual conference, and Labour will be hoping for their own bounce at the end of this week. The headline figures are based on those who say they are "certain" to vote at the next general election.

Bureau Report