Page last updated at 15:36 GMT, Thursday, 1 October 2009 16:36 UK

In a nutshell: Labour conference


Operation Fightback, as the conference was branded, began with a barnstorming performance by Lord Mandelson on Monday followed by a rallying cry by Gordon Brown. However, the defection of the Sun on Wednesday came as a blow, despite ministers' best efforts to dismiss it as inconsequential. Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Harriet Harman sought to send activists home with a "song to sing, hymn to hum" and the will to fight to win. The question is whether the conference did the trick for Brown?


Oh Lordy - Lord Mandelson cemented his return to frontline politics with a rabble-rousing speech on Monday. He insisted the election was still "up for grabs" and said if he could come back from the political wilderness, so could Labour. His announcement about extending the car scrappage scheme was all but eclipsed by discussions about the party's new-found love for the one time Prince of Darkness. Election up for grabs - Mandelson

The Sun

Policy plans - The PM announced a raft of new policies during his keynote speech. High on the agenda was a National Care Service to provide free at-home support for elderly people in the greatest need. More controversial was the idea of creating supervised homes for teenage mothers. The Full Story: Brown's big speech

Budgets and bonuses - After a speech heavy on spending pledges and light on budgetary detail, the PM inevitably faced questions about how he would pay for his big ideas. Especially as only a day earlier Alistair Darling had vowed to introduce new legislation to require the government to demonstrate how the country's deficit was being reduced every year. The chancellor also used his speech to declare that automatic annual bonuses for bankers were a thing of the past. Labour should be proud - Darling

Sundown - Just hours after Mr Brown's big moment, the Sun newspaper announced it was switching its allegiance to the Tories. "Labour's lost it," said the front page. One by one, Cabinet members dismissed the defection as unimportant - David Miliband did it best when he said: "The earth does revolve around the sun, but not the one printed in Wapping." Brown defiant after Sun rejection

Tackling disorder - Anti-social behaviour made a return to the political agenda, after the sad case of Fiona Pilkington and her daughter came to light. Home Secretary Alan Johnson admitted Labour had "coasted a bit" on the issue, but outlined new measures on "problem families" and alcohol-related disorder which he said would tackle it head on. Johnson pledge to tackle disorder


Ed Balls, Ben Bradshaw, Peter Mandelson and David Miliband enjoying themselves at the Labour conference
Ed Balls, Ben Bradshaw, Peter Mandelson and David Miliband see the lighter side of Operation Fightback (Pics: AP)


Talking telly - On Wednesday, the PM told the BBC he had decided whether or not to take part in a televised debate with his election opponents - but wouldn't tell the country what that decision was. His cryptic remarks came after David Cameron accused him of "dithering" over the issue and demanded he "bring it on". PM 'has made TV debate decision'

Misspelled text from Labour election broadcast

Word trouble: "Education, education, education" was the New Labour mantra, and it does seem that there's a bit more work to be done. Viewers contacted the BBC after an election broadcast on Wednesday in which the word "educational" was mistakenly spelt "eductional".

Sage advice - Deidre Sanders - best known as Dear Deidre, the Sun's agony aunt - was due to speak at a fringe event with Ed Balls about relationship breakdowns but the paper's own relationship breakdown with the Labour Party appears to have got in the way. The audience was told she would not be taking part "for diplomatic reasons" and were read a note from her saying staying away "was thought best" in the circumstances.

Ripping yarn - Unite joint general secretary Tony Woodley drew cheers on Wednesday afternoon when he angrily tore up a copy of the Sun. Alluding to the Sun's unpopularity on Merseyside over the Hillsborough tragedy, Mr Woodley said the entire country should follow Liverpool's lead and junk the paper.

Labour conference stand
Now you see it...

Smoke signals - There appeared to be a rare victory for the Tobacco Retailers' Alliance this week. They began the conference with their stall placed under a sign saying The Killers (the indie band are forthcoming attraction at the Brighton centre). After declaring it "not very helpful", the banner was replaced less than 24 hours later with one promoting the Labour Party.



Gordon Brown's conference speech in full


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