Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Wednesday, 17 September 2008 16:49 UK

Lib Dem conference at-a-glance

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


Clegg outlines his party's economic plans

All eyes were on the boss. The leader's speech is the high point of any conference, when media attention is keenest and the delegates are looking for a rip-roaring performance. Nick Clegg's mistake on Tuesday, when he wrongly said the state pension was about 30 a week, increased the pressure not to mess up. Mr Clegg, strolling all over the stage at the Bournemouth International Centre, managed that, winning warm applause from delegates. Unusually for a modern political speech, there was little emphasis on the leader's personal life, save a few references to his children and pregnant wife. But the policy line of the week - the pledge to cut income tax - was hammered home clearly. Now it is time to sell it to the country. It is something Mr Clegg will have to do if his promise to move "towards" government is to mean anything.

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The party plans to target 250,000 homes in 50 target seats with automated phone calls asking for opinions on its policies, and are swiftly accused of hypocrisy by the Scottish National Party. The SNP have been told off in the past after the Lib Dems complained about their use of unsolicited automated calls urging people to vote SNP. Lib Dem chief executive Lord Rennard says his plan is very different and is "market research" only.

Delegates voted for changes to mental health care, including ending mixed-sex wards in care units. They also called for a ban on under-18s being placed in an adult mental health ward.


Developed countries should press ahead with cuts in agricultural subsidies after the collapse of world trade talks, the Lib Dems have said. The conference backed a motion regretting the failure to reach agreement in the Doha round in July and blaming it on the "inflexibility" of developed nations. But subsidies should still be reduced to help poorer countries, it was argued.


Nicholas Parsons on the Lib Dems


A critic has seized on Nick Clegg's gaffe on Tuesday, when he mistakenly said, in an interview, that the basic state pension was "about" 30 a week. It is actually 90.70. Treasury Minister Angela Eagle said: "Nick Clegg can't even say how much the state pension is worth. The truth is Lib Dem sums don't add up. They offer a menu without prices." And this from Pensions Minister Mike O'Brien: "Anyone who thinks that pensioners could live on 30 a week must be living in an ivory tower." Well, the Marriott Hotel in Bournemouth, actually.


Treasury spokesman Vince Cable predicted there would be "hysteria" when the government announces its borrowing figures, as they would be "off the wall".

Vince Cable also spoke to The Daily Politics:


Lib Dem Treasury Spokesperson, Vince Cable, talks to Andrew Neil about the current economic problems.


Hoggart's Lib Dem conference guide

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