A FORMER party whip defended the Government in a tense meeting with Orpington Labour party activists.

Lewisham MP Bridget Prentice was supposed to be talking about the parliamentary Labour partys preparations for the next general election at Ernie Roberts House, St Mary Cray.

But after elderly members criticised the Government for being too right wing, she was forced to spend most of her time justifying policies.

Members were angry about the intended privatisation of the tube, the Trident nuclear deterrent and the expulsion of Ken Livingstone from the party. But Mrs Prentice said the Government had achieved the national minimum wage, statutory paid holiday and a fall in infant class sizes.

Labour party member and former councillor Chris Purnell said: It was friendly but deeply-felt criticism from some of our elderly members.