It's a bug's life, Mr Blair, says invertebrate trust

Buglife, the charity for the conservation of invertebrates, had the chance to tell Tony Blair last week why slugs and bees should be made a political priority when its urban wildlife campaign was named campaign of the month by the Labour Party's campaign website, Labour Space.

The site, which was launched in September, allows charities to post their campaigns online and visitors to vote for their favourite (Third Sector, 8 November 2006). The most popular campaign wins the chance to meet at least one member of the cabinet.

Buglife, which won in November, and the Terrence Higgins Trust and Aspire, joint winners in October, met Blair at Westminster last Wednesday.

"Traditionally, invertebrates don't have any representation," Matt Shardlow, director of Buglife, told Blair and Labour Party chair Hazel Blears, who launched Labour Space in September.

Shardlow wants the Government to take invertebrates into account when it looks at biodiversity. "We need to take a joined-up eco-system approach," he said.

The Terrence Higgins Trust asked Blair to let third sector organisations help modernise NHS HIV-testing services. It wants HIV tests to be available at more community-based facilities.

Nick Partridge, chief executive of the trust, also urged Blair to continue funding public health campaigns on sexually transmitted infections. The Government said in 2004 that £50m would be spent on STI advertising campaigns, but less than £5m has been spent so far.

Aspire discussed wheelchair provision problems, telling Blair that some people wait as long as two years before being assessed for a wheelchair.

The Prime Minister promised to respond personally to the three charities.

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