MPs from opposition political parties have been invited to the urban summit, next month's two-day government conference to assess regeneration policy.
Civil servants have made the move in the belief that urban regeneration policy enjoys bipartisan support. Opposition MPs invited are thought to include Conservative David Davies and Liberal Democrat Don Foster, both of whom shadow parts of John Prescott's urban renaissance brief.

Tony Blair was originally to attend, but this is thought unlikely since Prescott took over the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in May. Prescott had previously been in charge of urban renaissance policy between 1997 and 2001, and sees it as one of the key areas he has driven since Labour came to power.

A source close to the government said: "It was certainly an aspiration for Blair to attend before the reshuffle, but now he would be seen as stepping on Prescott's shoes. Blair and Gordon Brown were being angled for."

Urban taskforce chairman Lord Rogers will deliver a keynote speech at the conference. He discussed details of the summit with civil servants on Tuesday. Rogers has been critical of the government in recent months, for failing to introduce reforms in the urban white paper.

CABE chief executive Jon Rouse will chair a fringe event on construction and planning skills shortages, while the South-East Regional Assembly is to launch research on barriers to delivering regeneration.