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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 September, 2003, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
Key points: Charles Kennedy's speech
Election battles to come

  • He called on the party to "go for it together" and take the Liberal Democrat message to the country

  • "The time is running out for our opponents. And a great moment of opportunity stands there for us to work towards."

  • He warned Labour and the Conservatives preparing for the next local elections: "We are coming after you both and the voters are coming with us."
  • In London he said that the party had in Simon Hughes the best candidate for next year's mayoral elections, and warned Mayor Ken Livingstone: "Watch out, Ken. You are sitting on squatters' rights as far as polling day in London is concerned."
  • Predicting success against the Conservatives Mr Kennedy said he would not like to be in Tory Chairman Theresa May's shoes
  • After criticising the Tories and Labour, he described the nationalist parties as rebels without a cause because the better devolution works, the more irrelevant independence becomes


  • The party would be campaigning hard on the issue of scrapping the council tax, in next year's local elections

  • It would be replaced by a tax based on people's ability to pay

  • Major constitutional changes should be the subject of referendums

  • It is left to the Liberal Democrats to make the positive case for Europe

  • Mr Kennedy re-stated his party's call for free personal care for the elderly

  • Polluters must pay he said, and those who are environmentally friendly must be encouraged

  • The economy must work for the environment

  • For every new function of government his party proposed one other function would be scrapped
  • Proposals for fewer government departments and fewer ministers

    Turning on Labour

  • On the prime minister he said: "We should start thinking about Tony as a future former prime minister."
  • "People have given up trusting Labour."

  • "Two words this government doesn't understand - liberal and principle."
  • "My warning, my challenge to Labour MPs: they should examine their consciences and listen to constituents and join us in the House of Commons lobbies and defeat once and for all Tony Blair's bad ideas for top-up fees being applied to students in this country."
  • On the Conservatives

  • "This year be in no doubt we are overtaking the Conservatives, be in no doubt we are the only credible challenge to the government."
  • Mr Kennedy called the Conservatives Britain's third party
  • Tories want tax cuts to benefit the better off, which will damage public services, he said

  • "They are a party of defeat and they are in retreat. Increasingly they are not truly a national party any more."

  • "The Tories remain paralysed by feuds and rifts, the government has lost its way; it is tired and fractious."

  • Giving Iain Duncan Smith advice he said that the Tories had thrown in the towel in Brent East before the end of the campaign
  • On Iraq

  • "If the Commons had known then what it knows now about the events leading up to that fateful parliamentary vote, the outcome could and should have been fundamentally different."

  • "This is to be supposed to be a parliamentary democracy that we are living in, what we have seen instead is a small clique driving us into war."
  • Mr Kennedy criticised the Conservatives for cheerleading the case for war, and then criticising the result

  • He has called for the publication of the full advice of the attorney general on the war and he repeated his call for a broader, full independent inquiry into "the basis on which this country was led into war"

  • The voters did not ignore the Lib Dem stance against the Iraq war, he said


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