Tony Blair yesterday promised to work "night and day" to help rescue jobs at the stricken car maker Rover, and Downing Street officials are intervening directly to win breathing space for the Phoenix consortium in its attempts to take over the Longbridge plant. Senior officials are taking advantage of the close relations between the German chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, and Mr Blair to exert political leverage on Rover's parent, BMW, not to shut the plant until Phoenix has had every opportunity to put together a viable offer.