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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 September 2007, 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK
Lib Dem conference at-a-glance
All you need to know about the Liberal Democrat conference 2006:


Sir Menzies Campbell uses his first major conference speech as Lib Dem leader to say the party must show it is a serious prospect for government.

Ex-Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy refuses to do a public handshake with Sir Menzies Campbell after his conference address.

Sir Menzies Campbell wins a crunch vote on his tax plans.

Charles Kennedy gets a standing ovation as he tells the Liberal Democrats' conference the best is yet to come.

Disputes about what is "tough" or "soft" must stop dominating debate over law and order, says home affairs chief Nick Clegg.

Cash incentives are being offered to local Liberal Democrat parties who recruit women and people from ethnic minorities to stand for election.

Schools should get more funds to take underperforming pupils, says Lib Dem education chief Sarah Teather.


Media-stoked fear of paedophiles is an "absolute tragedy" which is destroying communities, Baroness Williams warns.

The head of a controversial Swiss clinic says depressed people could get help to commit suicide.

Ex-Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown says the European Union is failing.

Lib Dem peer Jenny Tonge is summoned for talks with her leader after saying her party was "probably in the grip" of the pro-Israel lobby.


The Lib Dems clearly have a deep sense of irony. Just eight months after their leader stepped down because of his drink problem, conference delegates are being given free linen bags with special pouches for bottles of wine.

Not only that, but within minutes of Mr Kennedy's big speech, Sir Menzies and campaigns chief Ed Davey will be heading off for a photo opportunity at a non-alcoholic juice bar...

There is a life-sized cardboard cut out of Sir Menzies standing in one of the conference centre bars, covered from head to foot in yellow Post It notes containing questions for the leader. Sample: "What did you do in the Great War?" Or - our favourite - "There is no try, only do," signed "Yoda".

William Hague - who has never quite lived down his teenage party conference debut - has competition for a nerdy childhood. Lib Dem deputy leader Vince Cable confesses he learned about politics "standing behind the curtains" listening to local Tory meetings at his home. "My father made Alf Garnett look like a cringing liberal," he explains.

Treasury spokeswoman Julia Goldsworthy may be flattered that The Sun puts her top of their list of Lib Dem "beauties". But her delight clearly evaporated when she saw the paper has also dubbed her the "Abi Titmuss of Westminster". "That's not very nice," she tells us tersely.


The blogs continue to pick over Charles Kennedy's speech and its aftermath.

Lord Ashdown - who is much in evidence this week - tops a poll on Stephen Tall's site, asking who should be the next Lib Dem president. Incumbent Simon Hughes comes third behind self-styled Queen of the Blogs Lynne Featherstone.

Jonathan Calder recommends a useful guide to second-hand bookshops in East Sussex but obviously the conference has taken its toll on his wallet. "Not that any of us has the money left to buy books tomorrow".

The Lib Dem blogosphere is buzzing with talk of the blogging award ceremony, with everyone from the authoritative Liberal Voice to the frankly bizarre "Millennium Dome" elephant blog, heaping praise and congratulations on winner Stephen Tall.

The man himself has a swipe at the media's obsession with Sir Menzies Campbell's leadership. "I travelled down by train to conference today, together with three fellow Lib Dems. The issues we discussed ranged widely: the 50p debate, land value tax v local income tax, replacing Trident, the size of school sixth forms, compulsory voting, waste recycling. Ming's leadership wasn't mentioned once," he writes.

Over on Liberal Review's Apollo blog there is an interview with Treasury Spokesman Vince Cable, in which he claims the party's green tax proposals will not hit "Mondeo man" as it only applies to new cars. The plan is to move eventually to road user pricing, adds Mr Cable - "but given the record on government computerisation projects, we cannot expect to have the infrastructure for road user pricing in place in the near future".


Sir Menzies Campbell with wife Elspeth
Sir Menzies Campbell with wife Elspeth after delivering his end-of-conference speech in Brighton


"The best is yet to come."
Charles Kennedy.
For the party or for the ex-leader?

"You never quite say never in politics there are always exceptions and one of those exceptions is when you leave the stage, you leave the stage."
Lord Ashdown.
That was the message to Charles Kennedy from an ex-leader who was everywhere in Brighton cheerleading for Sir Menzies.

"My objective is nothing less than to complete the transformation of the Lib Dems from a party of opposition into a party of government."
Sir Menzies Campbell

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