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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 October 2005, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Lib Dem conference at-a-glance
All you need to know about the Liberal Democrat conference 2005, at-a-glance:


The party debates its future policy direction, while speculation remains rife about the position of the leader, Charles Kennedy.


Charles Kennedy steps up his personal attacks on Tony Blair as he brings the conference to a close.

The government's plan to introduce identity cards poses a "fundamental" threat to civil liberties, Liberal Democrats have heard.

Senior Liberal Democrats signal they are prepared to break cross-party consensus on the government's anti-terror plans.

Charles Kennedy defends his style of leadership - insisting he is capable of making tough decisions.

Vince Cable urges delegates to back fairer, not higher, taxes during a debate on their taxation policies.

The leadership proposal to sell-off the Royal Mail was rejected by delegates who sent it back to be revisited.

Party chairman Simon Hughes pledges to "deliver Liberal Democracy" across Britain "soon" and "in our time".

Sir Menzies Campbell calls for an end to the US and UK "occupation" of Iraq and an "ethical" foreign policy.


Party chief Lord Tim Razzall was getting decidedly irritated at the constant questions over Charles Kennedy's leadership during his morning press briefing. He was particularly dismissive of one poll suggesting the party would do much better with a better leader. "I am surprised 100% of those asked didn't agree with that," he said. Europe spokesman Nick Clegg chipped in, helpfully. Asking if there should be a new leader who would make a better prime minister was "like asking whether you want 1m or 4m," he said to a chorus of: "so what's Charles worth then?". He's priceless, of course.

Party Treasury spokesman Vincent Cable provoked croaks of laughter when he compared Gordon Brown to the children's book character Toad of Toad Hall. Both were "shamelessly boastful, egged on by an admiring fan club of stoats and weasels", he said. But perhaps Dr Cable should brush up on his knowledge of animal politics. Toad was in fact driven out of Toad Hall by the stoats and the weasels. Badger, Mole and Ratty had to remove them with the threat of cudgels.

To add to Charles Kennedy's woes this week, one of his newly elected MPs has declared an interest in becoming leader. John Hemmings said the Lib Dems were "about more than one person". But the MP for Birmingham Yardley said he would be "quite happy" to remain a backbencher for a while, having been in parliament "for about five and a half seconds".


"Charles Kennedy's closing sales pitch for a 'sensible, genuine, mature' leadership style could not hide the fact that he'd been forced to respond to those critics. He wooed his party with a rare display of passion - accusing Tony Blair of playing politics with terrorism, making excuses for George Bush's failure to tackle climate change and for letting his personal pride claim lives in Iraq. What he didn't do was stake out a clear position on what really divides this party - its domestic policies."


Charles Kennedy hitches a ride on one of Blackpool's famous trams


"You mustn't confuse the need for effective chairmanship, which is part of the job of the boss, along with the ability to take tough decisions and to lead people." Charles Kennedy hits back at critics of his leadership style.

"We think that is a recipe for another Vietnam," Lord Razzall on government policy in Iraq.

"Lynton Crosby does not deserve to have returned to Australia any more happy than Ricky Ponting," Simon Hughes compares the performance of the Tories' Australian election strategist with that of its Ashes-losing cricket captain.


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