Murphy collapses at conference

Paul Murphy was carried out by paramedics on a stretcher

Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy has been stretchered out of the Labour Party conference after taking ill.

Mr Murphy collapsed in the Conference Hall in Brighton on Tuesday afternoon, shortly before he was due to address delegates.

Reporters said the 55-year-old chatted to paramedics as he was wheeled out of the conference centre.

Within an hour of the incident, Mr Murphy's ministerial colleague Angela Smith told the BBC that he was now "fine".

She said it appeared he may have been overcome by the heat shortly after Prime Minister Tony Blair had finished his keynote address to delegates.

Mr Murphy's speech will not be rescheduled for Wednesday as he will take some time off to recover.

He is expected to discharged from hospital late on Tuesday.

Mr Murphy fainted just after the prime minister's speech.

In his address, he had been widely expected to urge Northern Ireland's parties to build on the potential for progress achieved at the recent talks at Leeds Castle in Kent.

A Northern Ireland Office spokesman said: "Mr Murphy felt unwell as he was sitting in the hall just after the prime minister's speech and fainted.

"At no time was he unconscious and there's no question of it being a heart attack.

"At the minute, he's undergoing routine tests at the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton."

The spokesman said he thought it unlikely that Mr Murphy would be kept in overnight.

Mr Murphy is a former Welsh Secretary, and has been MP for Torfaen since 1987.

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