Monday, September 20, 1999 Published at 08:45 GMT 09:45 UK
Kennedy promises to live dangerously
Charles Kennedy promises to be a euro evangelist
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Charles Kennedy has started his first Liberal Democrat conference as leader by pledging to continue backing controversial and unpopular causes.
"I've always subscribed to the David Steel view of third party leadership, when if you're not prepared to live a little bit dangerously the real danger is that you may not live at all.
He described a "little bit of danger" as sticking to the policy themes of social justice and European integration he pursued in his leadership campaign.
"Let's take one issue: Europe, for example, which I'll be talking about a lot this week.
"So if you're looking for an issue to fasten on, by which to raise the flag if you like, Europe might not be it. But it's going to be one of the key issues of my leadership, because it is so important for this country and this party."
Asked whether he would again lead his party into an election campaign in which they would promise to raise tax, he said he would wait and see.
"We've always said over two elections that we'll go for the penny on income tax if necessary. I think it would be unwise at this conference to enter into long-term commitments when we genuinely don't know what the circumstances will be," he said.
Overall on taxation, he argued that the future would be more hypothecation - taxes raised for specific areas only.
"There are quite a number of arguments to be had in that kind of direction, but the balance of the emphasis should be towards specific targeted expenditure to help those areas most in need, rather than tax breaks for the well off."
Conference Talk with Andrew Neil is at 6.45pm on BBC Two. You can call with your question now on 0345 514614, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or fax 0171 973 6283."
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