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MEN readers grill PM at newspaper's own debate

The Manchester Evening News marked its move to new offices with a visit from Tony Blair on the eve of his final party conference as leader of the Labour Party.

The Prime Minister took part in an intimate Q&A session with a selected group of MEN readers and figureheads from the local community.

The hour-long event saw Mr Blair grilled on such issues as public services, crime and foreign policy.

There was also a strong local emphasis on the regeneration and growth of Manchester and the north west.

Introducing the event, MEN editor Paul Horrocks heralded a new era for the paper.

He said that the editorial department had only made the move from its old offices earlier in the day.

In a lively debate, one audience member accused the Prime Minister of war crimes for the conflict in Iraq.

With questions remaining over when Mr Blair will leave his post, the Prime Minister concluded by saying he would like to leave office having made significant strides towards the resolution of the Northern Ireland and Middle East peace processes.