Page last updated at 16:48 GMT, Tuesday, 16 September 2008 17:48 UK

Lib Dems: Day Four at-a-glance

By Justin Parkinson and Gavin Stamp
BBC News political reporters, in Bournemouth


Mr Cameron, you are not a salesman. You are a conman.

Simon Hughes, Lib Dem president


Chris Huhne's speech in full

First tax, now crime. Home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne continued the leadership's effort to make Lib Dem policies appear distinctive from those of their rivals. In his speech, he said the party would focus efforts on improving policing and crime clean-up rates, instead of simply increasing the number of prison places. Continuing the anti-Westminster, anti-Whitehall theme of the conference, he accused the government of "legislative diarrhoea" and called for more "hard thinking" on law and order. Penalties were already "tough enough", and in future the emphasis should be "Catch criminals to cut crime", Mr Huhne added. The Tories and Labour are likely to seize upon the comments on punishment, using them to accuse the Lib Dems of being weak. Mr Huhne faces a difficult task in conveying to the public the thoughts behind his crime policies.


Home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said crime clean-up rates had to improve and promised more police under a Lib Dem government.

The party called for local authorities and other social landlords to have more powers to borrow against their assets, so that they can buy up more repossessed or empty homes, easing the housing crisis.

The party distances itself from rapid adoption of the euro, after accepting economic and political conditions are not right for entry.

Nick Clegg told the BBC News Channel he had got it "spectacularly wrong" when he said in an interview on Tuesday that the basic state pension was just 30. The amount is actually 90.70 a week for a single person and 145.45 for a couple. Mr Clegg said he done several back-to-back interviews and had made a mistake.


Outgoing party president Simon Hughes has called on the party to use positive discrimination to ensure more women and people from ethnic minorities can become MPs. He said he and leader Nick Clegg were backing a move from the Labour MP Keith Vaz to legalise all-ethnic minority shortlists - just as there are women-only shortlists.


The Green Party's new leader, Caroline Lucas, has accused the Lib Dem leadership of a "Tory-isation" of policy, criticising this week's call for income tax cuts. She urged members to "stick with their progressive values rather than their errant leader".


Conference walkabouts can be a hazardous affair. Remember the pictures last year of Sir Menzies Campbell - then facing heavy criticism of his leadership - being photographed pointing down a toilet bowl? Successor Nick Clegg proved far more media-savvy on trip to meet a catering class at a Bournemouth college. Asked to slice an onion for the cameras, he demurred, for fear of letting out a tear and appearing in the newspapers looking emotionally overwhelmed. In the end he opted for celery.


Confusion reigns supreme over Nick Clegg's interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme. When asked how much the Lib Dems were offering in tax cuts, the leader was heard to say "millions". Presenter Ed Stourton corrected him. Surely he meant "billions". But party policy chief Danny Alexander told a press briefing that this intervention had been unnecessary. "Nick didn't make a slip-up on Today," he said. Mr Clegg had said "billions", but Mr Stourton had "misheard him". There you have it.


What is Lib Dem foreign policy?

Rushing Nato membership for Georgia and Ukraine would be "madness", foreign affairs spokesman Ed Davey has said. He added that continued diplomacy would be the best approach to take to the crisis in the Caucasus. But he said Nato membership for the two countries could not be ruled out, providing they meet the "normal criteria", because to say otherwise would effectively be to give Russia a veto over who was allowed to join.


Transport spokesman Norman Baker has promised to reverse the work of Dr Beeching, the enemy of railway enthusiasts everywhere. He said train companies should be offered 30-year contracts, to ensure they invest more money in the network, re-opening some of the branch lines done away with by the doctor in the 1960s. Mr Baker also reiterated the party's commitment to extending the high-speed rail network, currently running to the Continent from London St Pancras. It should be connected to northern and England, taking in Heathrow Airport along the way, he argued.


Torbay MP Adrian Sanders has apologised after a scuffle in which the Lib Dems' former communications chief Mark Littlewood was apparently knocked to the ground. He reportedly became incensed at a report by Mr Littlewood's Liberal Vision, suggesting that two-thirds of Lib Dem MPs faced the possibility of losing their seats at the next general election. No charges are to be brought, the party said.

Watch Charles Kennedy on Clegg's leadership and Brown's future...or Menzies Campbell on the same topics, both from The Daily Politics.


Lembit Opik's campaign to replace Simon Hughes as party president when he steps down later this year is gathering pace - or is it? Asked at a press briefing whether he had seen any of the "Ipik Opik" badges promoting the eccentric Montgomeryshire MP's bid, Lib Dem policy chief Danny Alexander said he had noticed "one or two". Home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne seemed bemused. "Have you?" he asked, with a mixture of laughter and horror spreading across his face.


Tavish Scott, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, and Alison McInnes, Scottish Liberal Democrat transport spokeswoman

Scottish Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott takes in the sea air with his transport spokeswoman, Alison McInnes.


On Wednesday Nick Clegg rounds off his first autumn conference as leader, with his keynote speech. Before that, there are debates on mental health care and the use of personal data.

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