Tuesday at Lib Dem conference

Key Points

  • Nick Clegg announced all infant school pupils in England would get free lunches from next September.
  • Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander addressed delegates.
  • Debates also took place on the NHS, Trident and domestic abuse.
  1.  
    1818:

    That ends our live coverage of a busy day at the Lib Dem conference. The big news was Nick Clegg's announcement that all infant school pupils in England would get free lunches from next September. The party also backed calls for a slimmed-down version of Trident. Business Secretary Vince Cable said the break-up of the coalition before 2015 was possible. And former leader Charles Kennedy accused some at the party gathering of lacking humour. We have less than a day to wait until Nick Clegg's end-of-conference speech on Wednesday. Will he have them laughing, while inspiring them for the year ahead? Please join us tomorrow to find out.

     
  2.  
    1817:

    The final debate has wrapped up in the conference hall and delegates head to their fringe meetings and later to the Glee Club, an evening of drinking and singing which is a tradition at Lib Dem conferences.

     
  3.  
    1817:

    One of the co-authors of the School Food Plan, Henry Dimbleby, tells the BBC he is sure that all three major parties would promise free school meals for all primary school children in their manifestos. The founder of Leon's restaurant chain says the announcement of free school meals for infants in England is "a massive step".

     
  4.  
    1817: Emily Schwartz

    tweets: "heard so much about this #ldconf "Glee Club" excited to see what they bring to the singing table. #politicalsongs?"

     
  5.  
    1755:

    Labour responds to the free school meals announcement: "After three years of broken promises and empty words, people have come to judge the Lib Dems on what they do, not what they say. They talk about helping families but they have overseen massive reductions in childcare support; they talk about helping with school meals after supporting the Tories in scrapping Labour's plans to extend free meals for school kids. You can't trust a word the Lib Dems say."

     
  6.  
    1748: Hull Labour MP Diana Johnson

    tweets: "Labour pioneered universal free school meals in Hull eight years ago. Hull Lib Dems then axed the policy! More opportunism from Nick Clegg."

     
  7.  
    1740:

    Alex Davies from Streatham in moving an amendment which would empower councils to restrict the number of betting shops in local communities. Present provisions just don't work, he says.

     
  8.  
    1737:

    Back in the Lib Dem conference hall, communities minister Don Foster is opening the day's final debate, on high street gambling. He is calling for "specific planning permission" to be required before betting shops can be opened.

     
  9.  
    1734: Further education body the Institute for Learning

    tweets: "Great news! Students who receive free school meals at school will now have the same entitlement at college."

     
  10.  
    1733: Labour activist Jilly Bermingham

    tweets: Free Primary School Meals for ALL, but not Legal Aid, child benefit..... You just don't get it Nick #ldconf #saveukjustice

     
  11.  
    1731:

    The National Union of Teachers welcomes the free school meals announcement, but general secretary Christine Blower says the union "remains committed to the ambition of universal free school meals for all primary school pupils".

     
  12.  
    1730:

    Martin Doel, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, calls the announcement on meals "great news". He adds: "It marks the end of a fundamental funding anomaly that saw students penalised based on their choice of academic institution and is a clear sign that the government is serious about creating a level playing field between colleges, sixth form colleges and schools. "

     
  13.  
    1729:

    Alongside free school meals for infants in England, the coalition has extended the scheme to disadvantaged students in further education and sixth form colleges. Currently only students in school sixth forms are eligible.

     
  14.  
    1722:
    Nick and Miriam Clegg

    Will fruit kebabs be on the menu across England from next September? The Cleggs visited a school to promote the new scheme.

     
  15.  
    1720:

    Children's Society chief executive Matthew Reed says the promise of free lunches for all infants in England is a "historic step forward in the fight against child poverty" and "clearly shows that the government is recognising the hardship that thousands of families are facing".

     
  16.  
    1717: Conflict Resolution Education in Sheffield

    tweets: Hopefully @nick_clegg's #FreeSchoolMeals for infants is good news for students' mental & emotional as well as physical health #ldconf

     
  17.  
    1714: UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom

    tweets: #ldconf free school meals for all.Feed the rich, cost £600m to Treasury. We're in deep debt yet there's a let them eat cake approach

     
  18.  
    1710:

    Talking to the BBC, Nick Clegg denies that the free school meals policy is "a headline grabber". He says all children should "get the best possible start in life".

     
  19.  
    1709: Matt Knowles

    tweets: They're not free, they're taxpayer-funded MT @BBCNormanS: Clegg announces free school meals for all 5,6 & 7 year olds from Sept 2014 #ldconf

     
  20.  
    1707:

    Free primary school meals for all pupils was one of the recommendations of a recent review of school food by two founders of the Leon restaurant chain for the Department for Education.

     
  21.  
    1704: Lib Dem activist Chris Took

    tweets: Free school meals for 5-7 year olds - Lib Dems certainly going for the family vote #ldconf Makes good economic sense too

     
  22.  
    1702:

    In the conference hall, Peter Ramrayka from Lewisham alleges that PFI ties the NHS into "Wonga-type contracts". The motion "condemns many of the private finance initiative deals entered into by the last Labour government".

     
  23.  
    1702:

    Free school meals - affecting all children in reception, year one and year two - will save parents about £400 a year per child, the Lib Dems say. It is estimated this will cost about £600m a year.

     
  24.  
    1700: Breaking News

    All pupils at infant schools in England are to get free school lunches from next September, Lib Dem leader and Deputy PM Nick Clegg announces.

     
  25.  
    1659:

    Conference votes to approve the EU motion. Now it's time for a debate on the private finance initiative and the NHS.

     
  26.  
    1659:

    Delegates oppose removing lines in the motion on an EU referendum.

     
  27.  
    1659:

    Conference votes to back amendment one opposing secret ballots in the European Parliament.

     
  28.  
    1648:

    Charles Kennedy says he he would rather be unpopular for campaigning for EU membership than for "some of the things we're having to swallow in the age of austerity". He's still a popular figure amongst party members. Delegates give him an ovation at the end of his speech.

     
  29.  
    1641:

    Charles Kennedy accuses Tony Blair of running scared of Rupert Murdoch over the EU when he was prime minister.

     
  30.  
    1639:

    Former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy MP is on stage, dropping an accidental clanger when he mixes up Danny Alexander and Douglas Alexander.

     
  31.  
    1636:

    Angelika Schneider, Lib Dem candidate for the European Parliament for the North East of England, tells conference: "I am an EU migrant. I do not claim any benefits but I am seeking a job." She is originally from Germany.

     
  32.  
    1633:

    Chris Davies MEP says there is "a long way to go to make [the EU] better, but you don't stop the world because you want to get off".

     
  33.  
    1630:

    Chris Davies MEP is another speaker launching an attack on UKIP. "It's not just mad; it's downright bad," he says.

     
  34.  
    1624: Pawel Swidlicki

    tweets: "Martin Horwood MP says we shouldn't 'dodge referendum question any longer' but that doesn't mean he supports one right now"

     
  35.  
    1619:

    James Harrison from Glasgow North is moving his amendment to remove lines in the motion mentioning an in-out referendum. He argues that EU membership should not be put at risk.

     
  36.  
    1615:

    Martin Horwood MP says removing lines in the motion on an EU referendum won't make the issue "go away". He calls for an in-out referendum "at the right time".

     
  37.  
    1611:

    A majority of speakers are arguing in favour of EU membership to protect jobs. Joe Otten from Sheffield says the policies of the Conservatives and UKIP represent "economic vandalism bordering on treason".

     
  38.  
    1610:

    From Brian Wheeler in Glasgow: Did you know Labour MP Hazel Blears played a Salford street urchin in iconic sixties film A Taste of Honey? Thanks to Tony Blair's former speech writer Philip Collins for that piece of trivia at a fringe meeting earlier.

     
  39.  
    1605:

    Philip Vince from Camden opposes a referendum on EU membership. If the UK were to leave, it "should not be done by referendum" but by electing a government that supports that policy, he argues.

     
  40.  
    1557:

    Catherine Bearder MEP attacks UKIP's agenda as "racist and xenophobic". She adds that "the Tories and Labour are aping the UKIP policies".

     
  41.  
    1553:

    Catherine Bearder, MEP for South East England, says 300,000 jobs in her region depend on EU membership. The tone of this debate is overwhelmingly pro-EU.

     
  42.  
    1544:

    Most pundits seem to think Nick Clegg has had a good conference so far, but some see trouble ahead. Writing in the New Statesman, George Eaton thinks he could still face a leadership challenge if next year's European elections don't go well.

     
  43.  
    1539:

    Simon McGrath from Merton moves amendment one opposing "secret ballots in the European Parliament on legislative and budgetary matters".

     
  44.  
    1533: Lib Dem activist James Harrison

    tweets: "My request for a separate vote on the recommendation for an in/out EU referendum has been approved."

     
  45.  
    1531:

    Ben Jones says that "deeper integration in the eurozone is a necessity" but there must be an equal voice for countries inside and outside the euro.

     
  46.  
    1528:

    Ben Jones of the policy working group is moving a motion which "reiterates the party's support for the European Union and maintains that membership... is in the vital interest" of the UK.

     
  47.  
    1524: Ruth Porter from the Institute for Economic Affairs

    tweets Funny watching Danny Alexander trying to do a sinister face when warning landlords "Pay up or face the consequences". #ldconf

     
  48.  
    1523: Inside Housing reporter Peter Apps

    tweets: A huge standing ovation for the Scot from members. Future leader material? #LDconf

     
  49.  
    1523:

    Danny Alexander leaves the stage and conference moves on to discuss Europe policy.

     
  50.  
    1521: Telegraph deputy editor Benedict Brogan

    tweets: Presumably Lib Dem strategists telling Clegg and Alexander that there's votes in whacking the wealthy. Populism: the easy path #LDconf

     
  51.  
    1521:

    "If you're looking for work and want a government that will help you, if you have a job, but want security in your job, if you want to expand your business and employ more people, then there is one party that is on your side: the Liberal Democrats," says Danny Alexander, to applause.

     
  52.  
    1518:
    Nick and Mirian Clegg

    Nick Clegg and his wife Miriam met children at a primary school earlier. He is still wearing the same jumper and shirt as Danny Alexander speaks. #casuallook

     
  53.  
    1516:

    Danny Alexander argues that it is right that homebuyers should be helped to raise a deposit but also says affordable housing is needed.

     
  54.  
    1515:

    Danny Alexander says the government will close a loophole allowing private equity shareholders "to siphon money out of their firms while dodging the intended income tax".

     
  55.  
    1513:

    Danny Alexander says that Lib Dems will tax the wealthiest: "Those who have the most will contribute the most."

     
  56.  
    1511:

    Danny Alexander claims it is "just plain wrong" that better economic news is all down to the Conservatives.

     
  57.  
    1509: Norman Smith, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: "OH...and now "last thing UK needs is a majority Conservative Govt" says Danny Alexander. Equidistant rhetoric"

     
  58.  
    1509: Peter Smith, a socialist,

    tweets: If magnolia painted woodchip wallpaper could speak it would sound like Danny Alexander. #Ldconf

     
  59.  
    1507:

    "Tens of thousands of jobs... depend on us winning that fight" to remain part of the UK, Danny Alexander says.

     
  60.  
    1506:

    Danny Alexander calls for Scotland to remain part of the UK and "stick with the family of nations in which we have thrived and prospered".

     
  61.  
    1506: Student Hannah Bettsworth

    tweets: Watching Danny speak at #ldconf (surrounded by a ridiculous amount of cameras)

     
  62.  
    1504:

    Danny Alexander attacks the Tories. It will not be possible to sack people on the spot while the Lib Dems are in government with them, he insists.

     
  63.  
    1503:

    A Labour majority in Parliament is the "last thing" the UK needs, Danny Alexander argues.

     
  64.  
    1502:

    Danny Alexander says the alternative to the coalition would have been "a minority government, weak, unstable, unable to take decisions... A toxic mix of political and economic uncertainty."

     
  65.  
    1459:

    Conference passes the motion on social care. Now Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander takes to the stage for his conference speech.

     
  66.  
    1458: Labour and Unison member Chris Williams

    tweets: "LibDems making big deal about "lifting low paid workers out of taxation". How about trying to create jobs that pay more than £10k!!"

     
  67.  
    1456:

    From Brian Wheeler in Glasgow: CAMRA, the guardian of the nation's indigenous ales, is inviting delegates "for a pint" with business minister Jo Swinson tonight. Ms Swinson, however, is pregnant and will therefore refrain, while others carouse. She must be looking forward to the conversations already...

     
  68.  
    1451: Charlotte Henry

    tweets: "All a bit quiet here at #ldconf - none of the (relative) fireworks from yesterday. Going to try and catch Danny A speech though."

     
  69.  
    1441: Keith Flett

    tweets: "Beard Liberation Front finds increase in beard wearing at #ldconf "

     
  70.  
    1434:

    David Preedy of Mole Valley tells delegates that his late father must have had "20,000 visits" from carers.

     
  71.  
    1433:

    Amendment one calls for "more effective sanctions" against the Care Quality Commission "where standards are not met".

     
  72.  
    1430:
    Lib Dem delegates

    Conference halls are a good place to chat when everyone else slopes off for lunch.

     
  73.  
    1429:

    The Spectator's Isabel Hardman reports that Vince Cable might get some Conservative support if he tries to reform zero-hours contracts.

     
  74.  
    1427:

    Norman Lamb says he never expected to become a minister. As a Lib Dem it isn't part of your thinking, he says. But he argues that "we have real opportunity in this government to achieve better care".

     
  75.  
    1425:

    Norman Lamb, minister for care and support in the Department of Health, is on stage opening debate on the motion on "transforming home care". Proposals include strengthening the regulator, the Care Quality Commission.

     
  76.  
    1414:

    The lunchtime fringe meetings are almost at an end and conference is due to resume with a debate on adult social care. Then Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander is due to address conference at 14:55 BST.

     
  77.  
    1402:
    delegates voting in glasgow conference hall

    To recap - the Lib Dems voted earlier to replace Trident with a system that would mean the UK retaining its nuclear deterrent - but with fewer submarines, not continuously at sea.

     
  78.  
    1402:

    But the former defence minister Sir Nick Harvey says that, while he shares George Potter's goal, the conference has voted to point "the way towards the exit door of the nuclear business", using a "considered, stepped approach". Speaking on BBC Radio 4's World at One, he says this stands more chance of "taking the British public with us".

     
  79.  
    1353:

    George Porter is the Lib Dem activist who sought to amend the leadership's motion on nuclear weapons. He backed amendment one, which says the case for nuclear weapons is neither convincing or affordable. "We're talking about saving about £4bn out of a budget of £110bn, mostly for the sake of a compromise which we think might be more politically convenient rather than following the courage of our convictions," he tells the BBC.

     
  80.  
    1340:

    From Brian Wheeler in Glasgow: Afro-Caribbean families are "much better" at looking after their older people than white people, says Simon Hughes at the Social Market fringe event on social mobility.

     
  81.  
    1335:

    From Brian Wheeler in Glasgow: Some people are "now worse off" as a result of coalition government policies, Simon Hughes tells the fringe meeting. It's the subject he discusses as Lib Dem president the most with Nick Clegg, he says.

     
  82.  
    1330:

    From Brian Wheeler in Glasgow: Simon Hughes is speaking about family poverty at a Social Market fringe in a sweaty, airless, bunker deep in the bowels of the conference centre.

    simon hughes
     
  83.  
    1324:

    Michael Moore, the Lib Dem Scottish secretary, tells BBC Radio 4's World at One programme he's "certain" the coalition "will continue all the way to the election". His colleague Vince Cable said last night it could break-up early. But Mr Moore claims the business secretary was merely saying there is a "logical possibility people could talk about" an early divorce.

     
  84.  
    1315:
    Mark Pritchard

    Away from the party conference, the Conservative MP Mark Pritchard told Daily Politics he tries "to reach out to Liberal Democrats every day - that's why I am growing a beard".

     
  85.  
    1310:
    John Pugh MP

    John Pugh - the Lib Dem MP for Southport - snapped with a cardboard Doctor Who at the BBC's conference stand

     
  86.  
    1259:

    Delegates are heading to their lunchtime fringe meetings. Live coverage from the conference hall begins again at 14:15 BST.

     
  87.  
    1258:

    Conference backs the motion backing defence proposals, including plans for a Trident replacement system which would mean fewer submarines, not continuously at sea.

     
  88.  
    1256:

    Conference rejects amendment one, which calls for Trident's successor to be scrapped and for a policy to "eliminate entirely the UK's nuclear deterrent as soon as practicable".

     
  89.  
    1251:

    The vote on amendment one calling for nuclear disarmament is very close and a recount has been ordered.

     
  90.  
    1248:

    MP Sir Nick Harvey says: "We do not have a nuclear adversary at this time... but we cannot say with certainty that this will not be the case." He says the right policy is that "we will not go out on the high seas waving these weapons of mass destruction" but nevertheless retain a nuclear capability.

     
  91.  
    1246:
    Lib Dem conference

    Woolly liberal? A delegate enjoys a bit of knitting during a debate.

     
  92.  
    1244: Yeovil Lib Dem councillor Jon Gleeson

    tweets: Surprised someone hasn't managed to get stronger economy fairer society into a speech on defence... #ldconf

     
  93.  
    1242:

    Former defence minister Sir Nick Harvey is summing up on the motion, and praising the party for having "never been afraid" to debate nuclear weapons.

     
  94.  
    1237:

    Brussels and Europe delegate George Cunningham opposes reducing or scrapping the existing four-submarine Trident system. "If we give up our nuclear deterrent unilaterally... it will deprive us of an important negotiating card," he argues.

     
  95.  
    1234:

    From Brian Wheeler in Glasgow: One effect of the Lib Dems' status as a party of government is tighter security at conferences. Dave Page, of the party's LBGT section, tells me enhanced background checks have prevented some transgender activists from attending conference. Apparently they were concerned about police contacting their employers.

     
  96.  
    1232:

    Baroness Garden, defence spokesperson in the Lords, tells delegates that "nuclear threats remain... We live in an uncertain world."

     
  97.  
    1231:

    Baroness Kramer says Danny Alexander and Vince Cable "work incredibly together", despite reported differences over the direction of the economy.

     
  98.  
    1225:

    Lib Dem peer Lady Kramer tells Daily Politics the world is in a "better place" following the recent decision of Parliament to rule out military intervention in Syria.

     
  99.  
    1223:

    Lord Ashdown says Vince Cable's description of the Conservatives' politics as "ugly" is not his sort of language. He would use less "blood-curdling" words, he adds.

     
  100.  
    1221:

    On BBC Two's Daily Politics, former party leader Lord Ashdown says the option of military action in Syria "has to remain on the table".

     
  101.  
    1219:

    Martin Horwood MP backs the motion as a way "to start climbing down the nuclear ladder".

     
  102.  
    1215:

    Monroe Palmer from Barnet mocks the proposal to send submarines to sea without nuclear arms. "That should scare the living daylights out of the enemy," he jokes.

     
  103.  
    1211:

    Deputy leader Simon Hughes MP calls the Lib Dems a "disarmament party" and says they must have maximum influence internationally. He backs the motion for a reduced deterrent but opposes the amendment calling for the deterrent to be scrapped.

     
  104.  
    1208: Lib Dem Voice journalist Nick Thornsby

    tweets: "Unexpectedly, funniest speech at #ldconf in defence debate. Speaker compares trident to mid-life crisis sports car."

     
  105.  
    1206:

    The Telegraph's Iain Martin cautiously praises Liberal Democrat party democracy .

     
  106.  
    1203: Lib Dem activist Alex Smethurst

    tweets: My preferred motion would simply read 'No to Trident' #LDconf

     
  107.  
    1200:

    A lot of anti-nuclear sentiment in the hall. Paul Coleshill from Glasgow South says: "Trident, and its part-time replacement, is a Cold War weapon."

     
  108.  
    1155:

    Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, says that Trident is one of the biggest areas of disagreement between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives. He says the motion proposing a reduced deterrent is "credible, deliverable and achievable".

     
  109.  
    1153:

    Mick Taylor from Calderdale says: "I'm a Quaker. I'm a pacifist. I don't want to spend money on war." In an impassioned call for disarmament, he says: "Let's stop threatening people with annihilation."

     
  110.  
    1149: The Guardian's Nicholas Watt

    tweets Jeremy Browne must be serious about future leadership contest against fell runner @timfarron - just jogged past #ldconf centre in shorts

     
  111.  
    1145: Flo Bullough

    tweets: "#LDConf crowd hoping to see Sidse Babett Knudsen of Borgen fame after she adorned a leaflet were left disappointed"

     
  112.  
    1141:

    Former MP Richard Younger-Ross opposes the policy motion, arguing that the UK "will end up reliant on America, France and other nations."

     
  113.  
    1137:

    George Potter of Guildford calls the nuclear deterrent a "monstrous folly" and is backing amendment one, which says the case for nuclear weapons is not convincing and not affordable.

     
  114.  
    1128: Lib Dem candidate for European elections Giles Goodall

    tweets Either we sleepwalk to exit or stand up and fight for Britain's place in Europe #ldconf

     
  115.  
    1128:

    The policy motion proposes "greater integration of EU and NATO... military capabilities". The UK should examine its role in the world, Julie Smith says.

     
  116.  
    1127:

    Julie Smith of party's policy working group is moving the motion on the future of UK defence. Among the policy proposals is the end of continuous at-sea deterrence.

     
  117.  
    1123:

    Next up is the debate on Trident and the UK's nuclear deterrent.

     
  118.  
    1122:

    Fiona Hall urges Lib Dems to campaign for continuing EU membership "with our heads held high".

     
  119.  
    1122:

    Fiona Hall refers to the "Tea Party Tories". Vince Cable used the term in his speech yesterday.

     
  120.  
    1120: LibDem MEPs group

    tweets: "Tories understand that we're #BetterTogether when it comes to Scotland, but the same arguments apply to UK and EU"

     
  121.  
    1118:

    From Brian Wheeler in Glasgow:

    Bermuda Triange

    This is the picture they all wanted! Sir Andrew Stunell's "Bermuda Triangle". He is unveiling it at fringe meetings to remind activists any policies they dream up for the next election manifesto must fit within it - ie they must be liberal, popular AND deliverable. As a veteran of the 2010 coalition talks, he must know what he's talking about.

     
  122.  
    1116:

    Fiona Hall MEP accuses UKIP of having "an ugly far-right agenda", similar language to that used by Vince Cable to describe the Conservatives in his speech yesterday.

     
  123.  
    1115:

    Fiona Hall insists that only with EU membership will people "enjoy secure lives and secure lives here in the UK". The Lib Dems "are the party of 'in'" she says.

     
  124.  
    1114:

    Fiona Hall MEP attacks the Conservatives for wanting to take the UK out of the European Arrest Warrant, calling them "the so-called party of law and order".

     
  125.  
    1110: Conservative MEPs group

    tweets: Lib Dem Euro leader @FionaHallMEP speaking @ #ldconf. Will she finally back the our pledge on giving the British people a referendum?

     
  126.  
    1109:

    The domestic violence debate ends and Fiona Hall, leader of the Lib Dems in the European Parliament, is addressing conference.

     
  127.  
    1107:

    Conference votes to back the amendment on female genital mutilation and to support the motion on domestic violence.

     
  128.  
    1106:

    Delegates vote to retain the policy of "domestic violence perpetrator programmes".

     
  129.  
    1104:

    Delegate Sarah Brown urges people to stay safe online. "All this person had to do was Google me and they would know where I live."

     
  130.  
    1057:

    Sarah Brown from Broxtowe is describing her experience as a victim of stalking. "Not all things that hurt you leave a physical scar," she says, and points out that not all stalkers are hiding outside their victim's house "with a pair of binoculars".

     
  131.  
    1050:

    Michael Bukola from Camberwell and Peckham says that attitudes to domestic violence have changed over the last 10 years. Once incidents would have been dismissed as "just a domestic", he says.

     
  132.  
    1040:

    Lynne Featherstone says of female genital mutilation that, if men, rather than women, were affected, the practice "wouldn't have lasted four minutes, let alone 4,000 years".

     
  133.  
    1038:

    International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone is backing the amendment on female genital mutilation, saying it "symbolises the brutal oppresson of women".

     
  134.  
    1036:

    Dr Ann Morrison, from South West Birmingham, is opposing part of the motion which proposes running "domestic violence perpetrator programmes" in all domestic violence court cases. Dr Morrison, a magistrate, argues: "We do not tell the judiciary in this country how to sentence."

     
  135.  
    1033: Lib Dem activist Andrew Brown

    tweets: Pleased to have a bit more rest, although disappointed to skip #ldconf morning proceedings! Should now manage through to Glee, though!

     
  136.  
    1031: Paul Steedman, of Friends of the Earth,

    tweets: Having given up any semblance of care for civil liberties, democracy, social justice or enviro protection what's the point of the #LibDems?

     
  137.  
    1026:

    Simon McGrath from Merton is moving amendment one, which would include action to combat female genital mutilation in the policy on sexual violence.

     
  138.  
    1021:

    Tessa Munt, MP for Wells, says that "one third of women and one in six men" experience domestic violence.

     
  139.  
    1020:

    The motion calls for children to be educated "in relationships and consent as part of sex education teaching in schools".

     
  140.  
    1020:

    The conference motion for debate concerns "gender inequality, harassment, keeping safe online [and] the protection of victims".

     
  141.  
    1019: Cambridge councillor Sarah Brown

    tweets: Security guards screening material for our @lgbtld stall to make sure it's "on message". What the very hell? @LibDemConf #ldconf

     
  142.  
    1018:

    Next is a debate on preventing and tackling sexual and domestic violence.

     
  143.  
    1017:

    Conference votes to back the motion developing policy on "the recognition of sign language as an official language".

     
  144.  
    1013:

    Sir Malcolm Bruce MP, whose daughter is profoundly deaf, is on stage. He says there are more sign language users than speakers of Scottish Gaelic, and it should also be protected.

     
  145.  
    1011:

    Delegates vote to reject a call for a "reference back". This is a procedure put down when a delegate feels that a policy needs more work and should be re-examined. But in this case conference wants to press on with debating the motion.

     
  146.  
    1003: Norman Smith, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: "Exclude London and South East from ONS figures and house prices in rest of England only increased by 0.8 per cent"

     
  147.  
    0959: Labour press team

    tweets: "Lib Dem decline: In 2007, closest vote was 454-414. Yesterday's vote 224-220. Where have the members gone?"

     
  148.  
    0956:

    The New Statesman reports on tensions between Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and Business Secretary Vince Cable over the government's Help to Buy housing policy.

     
  149.  
    0955:

    David Buxton from Epsom and Ewell is moving the motion for debate using sign language. He describes British sign language, or BSL, as "an indigenous language" in the UK.

     
  150.  
    0955: Dave Alcock

    tweets: "Claiming early coalition breakup is Vince Cable making sure his lifeboat to Labour is not holed before jumping ship."

     
  151.  
    0948:

    That's the end of the topical debate on Syria. Next is a debate on recognising a legal status for British sign language.

     
  152.  
    0945: BBC political correspondent Norman Smith

    tweets: Lib Dem MP Lorrely Burt - "Vince will be Vince" #ldconf

     
  153.  
    0939:

    John McHugo from Putney asks: "Why did public opinion sleep while 100,000 people died?" He argues that Western countries and Syria's neighbours have shown "political and moral bankruptcy" over previous decades.

     
  154.  
    0934: Tory supporting blog Conservative Home

    tweets: "Lib Dems in Glasgow cannot hide harmony in Downing Street"

     
  155.  
    0930: Richard Simcox, PCS union

    tweets: "Vince Cable. The uncle who turns up every Christmas, telling the same anecdote, not realising everyone stopped listening years ago."

     
  156.  
    0928:

    Richard Moore from Bexhill and Battle argues that "the blunders of Bush and the lies of Blair" do not mean that military action cannot sometimes achieve things. pointing to the former Yugoslavia and Libya as examples.

     
  157.  
    0925:

    Jonathan Brown calls for the "moderate" Syrian opposition to be backed, both "armed and unarmed".

     
  158.  
    0924:

    Jonathan Brown from Chichester, who says he lived in Syria for a time, says: "Lib Dem and UK policy on Syria is a mess, a disaster... We have no strategy, no end goal."

     
  159.  
    0922: Conservative Home editor Paul Goodman

    tweets: My colleague @AndrewGimson puts his finger on it: LibDem attacks on the Tories are a cover for co-operation. http://is.gd/rBWaoq #ldconf

     
  160.  
    0921:

    Jeremy Hill from Westminster sounds a note of caution on military intervention: "If we dropped missiles on Syria, we would have no idea of the likely repercussions."

     
  161.  
    0916: Labour supporter Mike Elrick

    tweets: Doesn't Libdem conference feel as its gone on forever?Nightmare scenario,Clegg invites John Kerry to speak to conference next year #ldconf

     
  162.  
    0915:
    Nick Clegg

    It's the first Nick Clegg pic of the day. The deputy PM had a go at table tennis when he visited the Scotstoun Sports Centre, one of the venues for next year's Commonwealth Games.

     
  163.  
    0914:

    Some news of gallantry on the part of a cabinet minister. Guide Dogs Campaigns tweets: The man in charge of keeping us warm saw Ash shivering and lent her his coat! Thanks @EdwardDaveyMP #ldconf pic.twitter.com/F1Fv9LD0AK

     
  164.  
    0912:

    Martin Horwood attacks Ed Miliband's stance on Syria, describing the Labour leader as "paralysed by the spectre of Iraq" and "desperate to prove he was no Tony Blair".

     
  165.  
    0910: Press Association reporter Tim Sculthorpe

    tweets: We're starting with a 45 debate on Syria. Martin Horwood doesn't like 'little Englander' Tories or "inexcusable" Labour politicking.

     
  166.  
    0908:

    Martin Horwood tries to distinguish any military intervention in Syria from that in Iraq. "Those of us who voted to permit limited military action... did so because this time the weapons inspectors would be given time," he says.

     
  167.  
    0904:

    The Syria debate has begun. Martin Horwood, MP for Cheltenham, says the Lib Dems can be proud of the level of humanitarian aid the government is giving to refugees.

     
  168.  
    0903:

    Overnight there has been more news involving Business Secretary Vince Cable. He told a conference fringe meeting that a break-up of the coalition before the 2015 general election was "possible". That has set a few tongues wagging, not least in the media. There's likely to be a bit of comment on that at some stage.

     
  169.  
    0900:

    Hello and welcome to our live coverage of day four of the Liberal Democrat conference. First up today is an emergency debate on the Syrian crisis. There will also be discussions on funding the NHS, preventing sexual and domestic violence, UK defence and high street gambling. The keynote speaker is Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.

     

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