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Last Updated: Monday, 17 September 2007, 16:37 GMT 17:37 UK
Lib Dem conference at-a-glance
All you need to know about the Liberal Democrat conference 2007: Monday

CONFERENCE CATCH-UP

Gordon Brown's attempts to recruit politicians from other parties is a "threat to democracy", Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Vince Cable has warned.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage is barracked by delegates at a fringe meeting as he backs Sir Menzies Campbell's call for an EU referendum.

Treasury spokesman Vincent Cable goes on the attack over the crisis at Northern Rock, calling it a product of executive "greed", lax regulation and government complacency.

The Lib Dems back a radical series of proposals to tackle climate change - including a ban on petrol powered cars by 2040. Environment spokesman Chris Huhne said tackling global warming would need an "enormous economic change".

Sir Menzies Campbell kicks off the Lib Dem conference with an attack on the government's human rights record.

The rich have done "too well" under Labour, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell has said.

The Lib Dems say they are ready for a "snap" general election - and they believe the most likely date for an autumn poll is 25 October.

Shami Chakrabati, of pressure group Liberty, criticises the government's terror law reviewer Lord Carlile for being "an "enthusiastic public champion for internment".

TODAY'S AGENDA

09.00 Dentistry

09.35 Speech: Dr Vincent Cable MP

09.55 Debate: Zero-Carbon Britain - Taking a Global Lead (Climate Change Policy Paper)

09.00 Dentistry

09.35 Speech: Dr Vincent Cable MP

09.55 Zero-Carbon Britain - Taking a Global Lead (Climate Change Policy Paper)

11.25 Women in Prison

11.55 Presentation: Steve Webb MP

LUNCH BREAK

14.20 Tourism

14.50 Speech: Josť Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission

15.15 Q&A Session: Menzies Campbell MP

16.00 Action on Bullying

16.30 Speech: Danny Alexander MP and Julia Goldsworthy MP

16.50 Report: Federal Finance and Administration Committee

Membership Subscriptions and Federal Levy

17.15 Reports: Parliamentary Parties

CONFERENCE DIARY

  • For weeks Justine McGuinness was the personal spokeswoman for the parents of missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann. But now the former Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate is back to one of her day jobs - chairing party conference debates. The PR expert made regular TV appearances to defend Kate and Gerry McCann when they were formally declared suspects by the Portuguese police. She also organised events to keep the public eye focused on the hunt for Madeleine. But just two weeks after the couple returned to the UK from Praia da Luz, Ms McGuinness - who came second in the race for Tory MP Oliver Letwin's West Dorset seat in the 2005 general election - is in the rather cooler climes of Brighton for the Lib Dems' annual gathering. And it was straight back to business for the suntanned 37-year-old. She kicked off the afternoon's proceedings by chairing a debate on action to prevent bullying.

  • Forget about the plaudits of the conference hall. The real popularity contest is taking place in the Lib Dem merchandise shop. Badges featuring home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg are said to be outselling all others. A source tells the BBC that staff have shifted 19 units featuring the fresh-faced Sheffield Hallam MP. In second place - on 10 - is environment spokesman Chris Huhne, with party leader Sir Menzies Campbell and Northern Ireland spokesman tied for third place on nine.

  • Sir Menzies prompted some puzzled looks when he equated his political beliefs to a sweet Sussex delicacy, before meandering into some more meaty - not to say macabre - metaphors. During a Q&A session with comedian Sandi Toksvig, he said: "I suppose if you went out and bought a stick of Brighton rock and sliced it, it would say 'Brighton' all the way through. If you ever put me through one of those ham-cutting machines, you will see the top bit says Liberal and the bottom bit says Liberal Democrat."

  • We all know Sir Menzies Campbell was an Olympic sprinter in his youth. What we didn't know is that he regularly used to compete against OJ Simpson - in the days before the notorious celebrity became an American footballer. "I used to race against him," mused the Lib Dem leader as he watched a news item on OJ earlier. Wonder who won?

  • Sir Menzies must be thoroughly hacked off with questions about his age by now. But UKIP leader Nigel Farage seems to have the opposite problem. "I must be the only member of UKIP under 50," he told a fringe meeting.

  • Home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg denied stories that he had repeatedly been wooed by the Tories, telling a meeting: "I've never had a meeting with any of them. I'm not complaining and I'm not weeping from the trees about this loneliness."

  • Treasury spokesman Vince Cable reassured a fringe meeting that his sober-suited look does not hide a more exotic sartorial taste. Accusing the other parties of "political cross-dressing", he told delegates: "Cross-dressing is never something I've been into."

  • Policy guru Steve Webb gave the Lib Dem faithful some food for thought. In his speech, he said that "choosing between Labour and the Tories is like choosing between McDonalds and Burger King - same unhealthy meal but a different plastic toy". But, just like Boris Johnson's criticism of Jamie Oliver at last year's Tory gathering, Mr Webb's culinary carping could return to haunt him. For, on Tuesday, there is a Lib Dem fringe debate on animal welfare co-sponsored by none other than... McDonalds.

  • If further proof were needed that the Lib Dems refuse to be kowtowed in the kitchen, campaigns chief Ed Davey had hacks salivating on Sunday. In the event of an election, he promised to beat Labour and the Tories by providing the best bacon butties at morning press conferences. A rash promise? Only time will tell.

    BLOG AWARDS

    Lib Dem activist James Graham has won the party's blog of the year award. His Quaequam Blog also scooped best posting and was praised for its humour and opinions by judges, including blogging MP Lynne Featherstone. Mr Graham, who works for non-governmental organisation Unlock Democracy, said he was "delighted" to scoop the top prize. "Generally I try to be independent but not unnecessarily critical of the party."

    PHOTO OF THE DAY

    Sir Menzies Campbell and wife Elspeth pictured in Brighton
    Sir Menzies Campbell and wife Elspeth pictured in Brighton

    QUOTE OF THE DAY

    "The house that Gordon Built may not be built on sand but it has certainly been built on a floodplain." Treasury spokesman Vince Cable on Gordon Brown's handling of the economy


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