London Lite Tuesday, 29 September 2009 5 Brownmugsmiddle class to help the poor Minister:Houndedfamilys case was a wake up call Ministersfuryin pointeddebate withTVhost ALAN JOHNSON today said the case of a mother who killed herself and her disabled daughter after being hounded by a gang of youths was a wake-up call for tackling antisocial behaviour. The Home Secretary, pictured below, said the tragedy of Fiona Pilkington, who killed herself and daughter Francecca, 18, in 2007 by setting fire to the family car, should never have happened. Criticising the response from Leicestershire Police to repeated 999 calls from Miss Pilkington over a decade, he said: This has to be a wake-up call to ensure consistent standards for tackling antisocial behaviour. His comments came before the introduction of new measures on tackling social breakdown, expected to be announced today. The Independent Police Complaints Commission today started an investigation into the two deaths. It coincides with reports naming the Simmons family, neighbours of Miss Pilkington, as allegedly being at the centre of the intimidation. Steven and Suzanne Simmons have four children -- Ross, 20, Alex, 16, who is the subject of an Asbo, Mitchel, 15, and Charlie, 12.Alleged intimidation: Alex Simmons, 16 ANDREW MARR became embroiled in a stand-up row with housing minister Ian Austin at the Labour conference in Brighton over the BBC TV hosts controversial questioning of the Prime Minister. Marr was forced to defend himself when confronted by Mr Austin in a hotel, as delegates looked on. The clash came as Labour MPs plotted to boycott Marrs Sunday morning show in protest over what have been seen by some as intrusive questions about Gordon Browns health. Senior backbencher and possible leadership contender Jon Cruddas said Marrs conduct had been disgraceful, while Lords Kinnock and Mandelson also lambasted him, claiming the interviewer simply repeated rumours spread by the extreme Right-wing blogosphere. Angry words: Austin and Marr argue, as Labour conference delegates look on BRIGHTON BITS AN OPINION poll putting Labour behind the Liberal Democrats cast a cloud over Gordon Browns fightback today. The Ipsos Mori survey put the Conservatives in front on 36 per cent, the Lib-Dems on 25 and Labour on 24. Although ministers dismissed the findings, it follows a poll yesterday which suggested Labour and the Lib-Dems were level pegging after the Lib-Dem conference. AN putting Labour behind the Liberal Democrats cast a cloud over Poll results GORDON BROWN today withdrew childcare tax relief from thousands of middle-class families to fund an expansion of free nursery places for the poor. About 250,000 two-year-olds from less well-off house- holds will be given up to 10 hours a week of free childcare. But to fund the introduction of the policy over the course of the term of the next Parliament, those who currently benefit from Employer Supported Childcare will lose out. The Prime Ministers move was being announced in his speech to the Labour conference this after- noon, the last such address before the election. Billed as a make-or-break speech, Mr Browns address was worked on late into the night and again early this morning. Home Secretary Alan Johnson said today: Gordons got to make the speech of his life and I think he will. The childcare policy will benefit poorer working parents by giving free access to 3,000 childrens centres such as SureStart, or the ability to claim for places in private nurseries. But many middle-class families will lose out and be forced to pay more for their childcare. Mr Brown will say his move is for all those mums and dads who struggle to juggle work and home. The policy will spark accusations that the Prime Minister is squeezing the middle classes to raise money for election promises. With more polls showing voters losing faith in Labour, ministers were desperately hoping the Prime Minister could pull off a success. The childcare announcement appeared to clash with Mr Browns recent pledge to stand up for the squeezed middle classes rather than just for Labours natural constituency of poorer and struggling families. BY MARK BLUNDEN MARR-GATE MOVES TO BRIGHTON, AS PM PREPARES FOR SPEECH OF HIS LIFE THE Prime Minister looks ready to gamble on three live TV debates against David Cameron. After agonising over the challenge for weeks, Gordon Brown believes he has nothing to lose. He is said to want a series of face-offs with the Tory leader to cover the economy, foreign policy and domestic issues, believing that Mr Cameron would trip up at least once. There has never before been a TV debate involving the leaders of the three major parties during a UK general election campaign. THE Prime Minister looks ready to gamble on three live TV debates against TVdebates LABOUR is planning for a 6 May general election, a secret campaign pack handed to activists suggested today. An internal party document told activists to prepare for an April campaign and gave timetables and advice on how to target voters. The 34-page pack entitled General Election Handbook Part 1 -- a day-by-day planner for your general election campaign, was issued to candidates and strategists this week. Local elections are already scheduled for 6 May and all parties would save money if national and local polls were held on the same day. 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