Page last updated at 14:27 GMT, Monday, 21 September 2009 15:27 UK

Lib Dems: Sunday at-a-glance


Cuts. Nick Clegg says "savage" cuts are needed if Britain is going to stand a chance of balancing its books. He has even suggested the party's policy of scrapping university tuition fees will have to go. It will not go down well with many in the party. Former leader Charles Kennedy says not scrapping tuition fees will lose them votes from young people and blunt the party's ability to take on Labour. This is a row that looks likely to dominate the week.


Party members back proposals to ban "airbrushing" from images of women in young girls' magazines and require others to clearly label "retouched" photos: Ban airbrushed photos - Lib Dems

Nick Clegg turns his fire on the Conservatives, describing David Cameron as the "conman of British politics": Clegg rounds on 'phoney' Tories

Atheist author and campaigner Richard Dawkins says libel laws are being exploited by powerful firms to inhibit scientists and need reform: Relax 'unjust' libel law - Dawkins

Health spokesman Norman Lamb outlines savings that could be made in the NHS budget saying it has become a "bureaucratic monster": Lib Dems vow to axe NHS quangos

Nick Clegg questions the Tories' commitment to green issues and civil liberties, after David Cameron urges Lib Dems to join a new "national movement": Clegg rejects Tory alliance call

Former BBC boss Greg Dyke tells the conference the corporation is part of a "conspiracy" preventing the "radical changes" needed to UK democracy: Dyke in BBC 'conspiracy' claim

Former leader Charles Kennedy says members are concerned about apparent plans to drop a pledge to axe university tuition fees in England: Kennedy warning over tuition fees


Nick Clegg has really "thrown down the adjectival gauntlet" to David Cameron, reckons Tony Blair's ex-policy guru Matthew Taylor. How will the Tory leader top "savage" public spending cuts, mused Taylor at a fringe meeting? "Bloody awful"?


"Am I in the right room?," said a momentarily befuddled Nick Clegg, after walking into the wrong lunchtime fringe meeting. "Yes you are Nick! Come back!," they all cried as he beat a hasty retreat. Well not all. "No, you should be at the Tory conference," muttered one malcontent under his breath. Some people.


Mark Littlewood - the Lib Dems' former press chief - must have been concerned his Liberal Vision fringe meeting, featuring Greg Dyke and Guido Fawkes, had not made much of an impact. Otherwise he wouldn't have ended it by setting fire to his wallet - to show that not all politicians had "money to burn". Would he?


Sarah Teather was the warm-up act at the party's opening night get together. She had a few digs at the opposition, suggesting David Cameron's favourite songs should include You're So Vain, Fake Plastic Trees or "anything by the Pretenders". But she reserved her best lines for her own side. Noting that a number of party figures were set to publish books in the near future, she offered others some advice on possible titles. For Evan Harris, left wing scourge of the party leadership, she suggested The God Delusion. Ouch.


As ever, Charles Kennedy gave a rousing speech to the party faithful, in which he compared Gordon Brown to the Spanish dictator Franco on his deathbed. But his best reminiscence was at the expense of the Tories. He remembered sitting next to the former prime minister Ted Heath in the Commons when the two were listening to a speech by William Hague on Europe. The speech was greeted with rapturous applause by the Tory benches, from which Mr Heath - one of the party's minority of Europhiles in the 1990s - did not join. As William Hague sat down, Charles Kennedy says Ted Heath twitched and apparently whispered to him "such a vulgar little man".


One of the star turns of the party conference this year is former Playschool presenter and Lib Dem convert Floella Benjamin. Ms Benjamin, who despite turning 60 next week is running the Great North Run this weekend, said the Lib Dems were the party best equipped "to make Britain smile again". How nice.



Nick Clegg: "Change for real, change for good"

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