Labour plan for teacher licences to 'update skills'

 

Tristram Hunt: ''This is about believing that teachers have this enormous importance''

Related Stories

Teachers would have to be licensed every few years in order to work in England's state schools under a future Labour government, the BBC has learned.

Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said regular re-licensing of teachers would allow the worst ones to be sacked whilst helping others to receive more training and development.

The last government made a similar proposal for what became known as "classroom MOTs" but then dropped it.

Unions criticised it as "pointless".

The Conservatives said they had already taken steps to improve teaching standards.

When former schools secretary Ed Balls proposed a so-called "licence to practise" in 2009, the National Union of Teachers said it would be "another unnecessary hurdle" for teachers while the Association of Teachers and Lecturers said it would be a "bureaucratic nightmare" to introduce.

But the NASUWT and National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) came out in favour of the plans at the time.

At the moment teachers are not licensed.

Indeed, Labour and the Liberal Democrats have criticised the fact that some of those working in the government's new "free schools" can teach without having "qualified teacher status".

Passion

Tristram Hunt told the BBC the idea was about recognising the "enormously important" role that teachers played and helping the profession "grow".

"Just like lawyers and doctors they should have the same professional standing which means relicensing themselves, which means continued professional development, which means being the best possible they can be," he said.

"If you're not a motivated teacher - passionate about your subject, passionate about being in the classroom - then you shouldn't really be in this profession.

"So if you're not willing to engage in relicensing to update your skills then you really shouldn't be in the classroom," he added.

Although the "devil would be in the detail", the NUT said it could potentially be a positive development.

Nick Wigmore, a primary school teacher, said the plans were "unnecessary"

"If this turned out to be a continuation of the Michael Gove denigration of teachers a top-down judgemental prescription of how teachers teach it would be very negative," said union official Kevin Courtney.

"But if relicensing were truly based on a new entitlement to high-quality professional development that was controlled by the teacher profession then we could talk about the details of how to improve it.

"It could be very positive for education."

However, NUT general secretary Christine Blower added: "There will be a good many teachers who will just see this as another hurdle."

Ian Fenn, the head teacher of Burnage Media Arts College in Manchester, told BBC Breakfast that in principle he would welcome the licensing plan.

But he warned: "If it's going to be a test, that would be absolutely the wrong way to go about it - we're not cars, we don't need an MoT."

Start Quote

If it's going to be a test, that would be absolutely the wrong way to go about it - we're not cars, we don't need an MoT”

End Quote Ian Fenn Head teacher

The largest teaching union NASUWT said "important preconditions" needed to be met before the move could be introduced.

And Chris Keates, the union's general secretary, hit out at commentators for hijacking any debate about how to improve the profession and turning it into an attempt to "root out incompetent teachers".

"No group of workers, least of all teachers, deserves to be treated in this way," she said.

Classroom standards

Labour plans to consult with the unions on how a new system of licensing might be made more acceptable to them.

The assessments would be continuous, based in the classroom and would involve external assessors and not just school staff. Re-licensing of teachers could take place every seven or nine years and not five as under the Balls plan.

A newly strengthened Royal College of Teaching could be used to issue and supervise the licences.

Kevin Courtney, NUT: ''This is more denigration of teachers''

There have been calls from across the political spectrum for the creation of a new professional body like the General Medical Council which would be separate from both the unions and the government.

Labour is hoping to use this announcement to claim it is interested in classroom standards while the Conservatives are, instead, focusing on school structures.

They also want to show that they are willing to stand up to the unions.

The coalition has recently introduced annual appraisals for doctors supervised by the General Medical Council. They face a decision every five years on whether they can continue to practice.

A Conservative Party spokesman said the party would look at any proposals which would genuinely improve the quality of teaching.

"We have already taken action by allowing heads to remove teachers from the classroom in a term, as opposed to a year previously, and scrapping the three-hour limit on classroom observations.

"We are improving teacher training, expanding Teach First and allowing heads to pay good teachers more. Thanks to our reforms, a record proportion of top graduates are entering the profession.

"Fixing the schools system so young people have the skills they need is a key part of our long-term economic plan. That will mean better schools for our communities and a better education for young people who want to get on," he said.

 

More on This Story

Related Stories

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    +21

    Comment number 405.

    The General Teaching Council was the last attempt to make teachers more like doctors and lawyers. As a teacher, I don't remember feeling any closer to doctors or lawyers then. Good teachers gain the respect of their pupils, parents and colleagues through their day-to-day work, not through registration.

  • rate this
    +23

    Comment number 399.

    I was teaching at a school where another member of staff was just not up to the job. The head gave lots of support & eventually warnings over 6 months until the teacher finally resigned before he was sacked. Good schools can already manage poor staff. Weaker schools simply need to be helped to achieve what is already best practice. Successive governments must stop interfering!!!

  • rate this
    +83

    Comment number 179.

    Ofsted inspections regularly, performance management annually, up to three hours of classroom observations as well as "drop in" walkabouts. Termly discussions of individual students target grades with "management" who have been in the job for five years at most. After 20 years of teaching I quit because I was tired of justifying my ability to do the job. This is just another layer of bureaucracy.

  • rate this
    +40

    Comment number 176.

    I realise that teachers have become a politically unassailable sacred cow in the same way as nurses, but the truth is that like any profession, there are good ones and not so good ones. But rather than throw yet more bureaucracy at them, we should just properly empower the heads, parents and governors to weed out the bad apples - they at least actually know what's going on on the ground.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 173.

    About time too - my brother-in-law is a headmaster and says that it is virtually impossible to sack a teacher for poor performance with people just going on sick leave. The unions as ever are more interested in protecting their members than in protecting children from poor quality
    teaching.

 

Comments 5 of 11

 

More UK Politics stories

RSS

Conservative conference

  1.  
    12:00: 'Chance for all'

    I believe in something for something, not something for nothing, David Cameron tells conference. He stresses his deep patriotism and desire to make Britain a place that everyone is proud to call home. This is not just about making the lines on the graph go in the right direction - it is about helping people to live better lives, he adds. A country that rewards hard work, "not a free-for-all, but a chance for all".

     
  2.  
    11:58: Future

    David Cameron says he wants to secure a working majority at the general election, telling conference that entering into coalition with the Lib Dems was not what he wanted to do but what he had to do. He's now setting out his vision for Britain's future.

     
  3.  
    11:57: English devolution

    David Cameron says he has one more task for William Hague - to ensure "fairness" in the UK's constitutional settlement. He says further devolved powers for Scotland must be matched by greater English devolution - and vows English votes for English laws.

     
  4.  
    @toryboypierce 11:57: Andrew Pierce, Journalist

    tweets: Having met Michael Gove's puppy he's right. You would trust it more than Ed Miliband to do down Putin

     
  5.  
    11:57: William Hague laughs at David Cameron's impersonation
    William Hague laughing
     
  6.  
    11:56: Prime mimicker

    David Cameron draws laughter from the crowd as he attempts to impersonate ex-Conservative leader William Hague. He says he owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Mr Hague, who is standing down as an MP at the general election. Activists give Mr Hague a standing ovation.

     
  7.  
    11:56: Jihadists warning

    David Cameron highlights the UK's role in military operations against IS militants in Iraq - and says there is no walk-on-by option. He says the Conservatives will do whatever it takes to keep the country safe. To British nationals who go abroad to jihadist wars in Syria and Iraq, Mr Cameron sends a message: "You are an enemy of the UK and you should expect to be treated as such."

     
  8.  
    11:53: 'Hellish crucible'

    David Cameron tells conference he wants to set out how to build a Britain that "everyone is proud to call home". He pays tribute to UK combat troops in Afghanistan - who are returning from operations at the end of the year. Activists applaud. He goes on to stress the threat posed by Islamist extremism which has found a "hellish crucible" with IS in Iraq.

     
  9.  
    11:52: The cabinet stands to applaud
    The Cabinet applauds David Cameron
     
  10.  
    @janemerrick23 11:51: Jane Merrick, Political Editor of @indyonsunday & columnist for @independent

    tweets: "The run up to that referendum was the most nerve-racking of my life" says Cameron. Good honest admission #cpc14

     
  11.  
    11:50: David Cameron gets standing ovation
    David Cameron entering the stage
     
  12.  
    11:50: Scottish referendum

    David Cameron opens by talking about the Scottish independence referendum. He tells conference of his pride at being able to stand there as prime minister "of four nations in one United Kingdom". He pays tribute to Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson. He describes the lead-up to the referendum as one of the "most nervous weeks of my life".

     
  13.  
    11:47: PM is here

    Activists are on their feet as David Cameron takes to the stage. Union flags are being waved. His cabinet is lined up along the front row, clapping.

     
  14.  
    @BBCRichardMoss 11:46: Richard Moss, BBC

    tweets: The Killers providing the soundtrack to warm-up video for Cameron speech at #cpc14. Will PM be Mr Brightside? See what I did there.

     
  15.  
    11:45: Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Danny Finkelstein, columnist for The Times and a Conservative peer, says the confidence in the Conservative Party this week is based on the fact that Ed Miliband had a "very bad week".

     
  16.  
    11:44: Not long

    The audience is being treated to a short film before the leader's speech. David Cameron's wife, Samantha, has just taken her seat.

     
  17.  
    @BBCLouise 11:43: Louise Stewart, BBC

    tweets: Gove says he would trust his Bichon Frisée puppy dog Snowy over Ed Miliband to face down Putin

     
  18.  
    @BBCNormanS 11:42: Norman Smith, BBC

    tweets: Theresa May leadership stakes go up another notch as Michael Gove refers to her as "The Iron Lady" #cpc14

     
  19.  
    11:41: Miliband

    Michael Gove takes a swipe at Labour's record in office. He says the only way to secure Britain's future is with a Conservative government led by David Cameron. Ed Miliband cannot provide leadership as he's never offered anything other than a "warm bath of cliche", Mr Gove tells the hall. He comments that Mr Miliband's stance on UK air strikes against IS in Iraq and Syria was "as reassuring as a Kleenex parachute".

     
  20.  
    11:40: Gove warms up crowd
    Michael Gove
     
  21.  
    @Tinglepolitics 11:39: Len Tingle, BBC

    tweets: Outside #Conservative conference. No doubting what this bloke wants-he mentions 1940 and the Germans a lot #CPC14. See photo

     
  22.  
    11:38: Social justice

    Michael Gove says society is fairer, with the gap between rich and poor "closing". He brands the Conservatives as the party of social justice and progress - as "only we know" the importance of a secure economy and a strong leader. Labour is unfit to govern, he adds.

     
  23.  
    11:36: Praise

    Michael Gove praises David Cameron and George Osborne's "guts" for sticking to their long-term economic plan. Britain is on the rise again and we must not let Labour pull us back down, he tells activists.

     
  24.  
    @nigelfletcher 11:35: Nigel Fletcher, ex-Conservative adviser

    tweets: Didn't even try to get into the hall for the PM's speech- watching instead in the #LondonLounge, my conference home from home. #CPC14

     
  25.  
    11:34: What we've done

    Michael Gove is listing the government's achievement, including on the economy, housing and pensions.

     
  26.  
    11:34: Tax pledge? Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    BBC political editor Nick Robinson describes the Conservative guarantee to ring-fence NHS spending as a "statement of the blindingly politically obvious", and says he suspects the rumoured big policy announcement by David Cameron will be related to tax: either raising the personal allowance on income tax up to a level ensuring no-one on the minimum wage pays income tax, or reforming National Insurance in a similar fashion.

     
  27.  
    11:33: Gove love

    David Cameron's warm-up act is Michael Gove - former education secretary, now Conservative chief whip. He's a huge hit with activists - who stand, whoop and wave their papers as he enters the hall.

     
  28.  
    Tweet: @BBCPolitics 11:32: Get involved

    @ultramodtro tweets: Just watchin' the @daily_politics while I finish my tea, before going into the spillover hall to watch the PM. #CFC14. See photo

     
  29.  
    11:32: Let the music play

    The hall is full and the press pack is huddled along the front of the stage. The Electric Light Orchestra's Mr Blue Sky plays through the speakers.

     
  30.  
    11:31: Cheers

    A standing ovation for Philip Hammond, as the hall readies itself for David Cameron. First up, though, is Conservative Chief Whip Michael Gove.

    Audience
     
  31.  
    11:30: Hammond concludes

    Britain cannot afford five more minutes, let alone five years, of Labour, Philip Hammond asserts. He tells conference only the Conservatives can deliver growth, jobs and an in/out referendum on the EU, as he brings his speech to a close.

    Philip Hammond
     
  32.  
    11:27: EU negotiations

    The foreign secretary says his priority between now and the general election in May is to lay the groundwork for EU reform negotiations, so that the Conservatives will "already be in pole position" if they win power.

     
  33.  
    11:26: Lib Dems attacked

    Philip Hammond quotes Margaret Thatcher now - which goes down well in the hall. He says slowly but surely other EU states are "coming round" to the need for change. Mr Hammond attacks Labour for "surrendering" sovereignty and taxpayers' money to EU - and counters that the Conservatives have started to "reverse that trend" - noting David Cameron's success in securing an EU budget cut. "All that in coalition with the most Brussels-loving bunch of Europhiles you could ever wish to meet," Mr Hammond says, and adds: "Just think what a proper Conservative government could do."

     
  34.  
    11:24: Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Treasury minister Priti Patel MP tells Andrew Neil she "will not speculate on other departments' budgets and cuts" at this stage, in a discussion about ring-fencing the NHS budget under a future Conservative government.

     
  35.  
    11:23: EU concerns

    Philip Hammond says foreign policy must support the government's long-term economic plan. He tells conference that worldwide exports are up 28% since 2009. Turning to the EU, the foreign secretary says he has been "aghast" as the common market has "morphed into an institution with the aspirations of a superstate" and "hoovers up" powers that belong to member states. It's not what the British people signed up to, he says.

     
  36.  
    11:20: Ukraine

    Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says the UK has extended its hand to Russia over recent decades but President Putin has "torn up the rule book and chosen the path to confrontation" through his "illegal behaviour" in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

     
  37.  
    11:18: Assad

    Philip Hammond rejects suggestions that a deal should be done with Syrian President Assad to defeat IS: "Assad is the problem and he cannot be part of the solution," he says, to applause.

     
  38.  
    11:18: Iraq action

    Philip Hammond talks about the "twisted ideology" of Islamic State and says the organisation is the "antithesis of everything we stand for". Britain must defeat it, he tells conference. As a defence leader in the world, it is right that Britain is taking part in international military action against IS militants in Iraq, Mr Hammond adds, and says it should be "proud".

     
  39.  
    @afneil 11:17: Andrew Neil, BBC

    tweets: We are on BBC2 now with two hour special from Tory party conference. Including Cameron speech #bbcdp

     
  40.  
    11:15: Hague quip

    Philip Hammond says William Hague is a very hard act to follow as foreign secretary - but quips that he has one thing that Mr Hague doesn't, and brushes a hand through his hair.

     
  41.  
    11:14: Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, is addressing the conference
    Philip Hammond addressing the conference
     
  42.  
    11:13: Hammond time

    Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond now has the stage - and begins by paying tribute to his ministerial team, and his predecessor William Hague - "who will surely go down as one of the truly great British foreign secretaries". Activists show their appreciation.

     
  43.  
    11:12: Safety promise

    Michael Fallon concludes by assuring conference that "this party, this government" will ensure the armed forces have all they need to help keep Britain safe.

    Michael Fallon
     
  44.  
    11:10: Trident

    Labour left a terrible defence legacy, Michael Fallon tells conference, including a "£38bn black hole" in the budget - but this has been fixed by the Conservatives in government, he adds. He also launches an attack on the Lib Dems - noting that there are none in the defence ministry. He says the party is only interested in "downgrading" Trident, which is "in a dangerous world is truly dangerous thinking".

     
  45.  
    11:09: David and Samantha Cameron arrive at the conference centre
    David Cameron arriving with his wife Samantha
     
  46.  
    11:07: Jobs

    The defence secretary says it is because the Conservatives have "sorted out" the budget that the government is able to spend £164bn on defence over the next decade. He reiterates this morning's announcement of a £3,5bn investment in UK naval bases, securing 7,500 jobs.

     
  47.  
    11:03: IS 'barbarity'

    Michael Fallon says the UK now faces "new threats to our security" - as he talks about the "chilling barbarity" of Islamic State militants, which if left unchecked would result in "a terrorist state on Europe's doorstep".

     
  48.  
    11:01: Services tribute

    Michael Fallon pays tribute to the 453 British servicemen and women who died during combat operations in Afghanistan, and all those who were injured. A round of applause ensues.

     
  49.  
    10:59: Defence budget

    Over to Defence Secretary Michael Fallon now. He says the UK has the biggest defence budget in Europe and the second largest in Nato. He pays tribute to his predecessor Philip Hammond - now foreign secretary - who he says put the defence budget on a stable footing.

     
  50.  
    10:59: 'Long nights, strange men' Tom Moseley, political reporter

    What would David Cameron have made of Ed Sheeran's dedication of a number to him at a recent gig? The singer said the only tune he had left to play was The A Team. Will it join Radiohead and REM on the PM's playlist?

    The opening lyrics:

    White lips, pale face

    Breathing in snowflakes

    Burnt lungs, sour taste

    Light's gone, day's end

    Struggling to pay rent

    Long nights, strange men

     
  51.  
    10:57: Summit

    Justine Greening welcomes the global Girl Summit - hosted in London over the summer - to end female genital mutilation and forced child marriage, and thanks all those who took part.

     
  52.  
    10:55: Pride

    Britain's response to humanitarian emergencies "sets us apart" from many other countries, Justine Greening says. The international development secretary praises British aid workers and adds that "we should be proud of our country, because we don't walk on by".

     
  53.  
    @tnewtondunn 10:55: Tom Newton Dunn, Political Editor of The Sun

    tweets: David Cameron does indeed have a jumbo rabbit in his #CPC14 speech today. A big new tax move to help C2 voters especially, I hear.

     
  54.  
    10:53: Ebola threat

    Justine Greening describes Ebola as "one of the most serious threats facing the world today", with estimates that 1.4 million people will be infected by January 2015 "if we don't act". She says an international coalition is working to contain and defeat the virus - and adds that the UK is overseeing the construction of treatment centres, and will treble the number of Ebola treatment beds.

    Justine Greening addressing the Conservative conference
     
  55.  
    10:50:

    Justine Greening says international aid - including the government's commitment to spending 0.7% of national income on it - is a vital component alongside the defence and diplomacy.

     
  56.  
    10:48: Greening

    International Development Secretary Justine Greening is introduced to the hall. She opens by saying she is "proud" of what the Conservatives have achieved in government. Ms Greening says her department's international development programme has been improved since 2010, with a much greater focus on jobs and economic growth.

     
  57.  
    10:47: 'We'll deliver'

    London Conservative MEP Syed Kamall is addressing the hall now - and stresses that "only the Conservatives can and will deliver" a referendum on the UK's relationship with the European Union. He criticises the previous Labour government which "gave away" British taxpayers' money and powers to Brussels. Now is the time for the Conservatives to "roll up our sleeves" and make the case for reform, he says - and adds that this must be done by working with Britain's allies across Europe. Mr Kamall leads the European Parliament's European Conservatives and Reformists group.

     
  58.  
    The Times 10:46: Newspaper round-up

    Theresa May, says (£) Ann Treneman, gave "the best speech of her life" yesterday. Her "unflinchingly serious" performance was followed by "clown-man" Boris Johnson, whom the Tory audience adored.

    The paper claims David Cameron will today attempt to move the discussion from being about the party's "long-term economic plan" to talking about "individual benefits offered by a recovering economy". A YouGov poll commissioned for the paper shows 41% of those questioned saying they trust the Conservatives more to clear the deficit, compared to 13% for Labour, but when asked which party is most likely to improve living standards "for people like you" 31% chose Labour against only 25% for the Conservatives.

     
  59.  
    10:44: Ed inspired by Dave

    Here's Ed Sheeran, who apparently dedicated a song, called the A Team (not the A-list), to the PM at a recent gig he attended. His music was not in evidence in the conference hall this morning before speeches got under way. Instead the Starship song Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now was blasted out of on the PA system. The year of its release - 1987 - was when Mrs Thatcher won her third term in office. Some misty eyes in Birmingham?

    Ed Sheeran
     
  60.  
    10:37: Jess Denham, for the Independent

    writes: Ed Sheeran dedicates song to David Cameron. Ed Sheeran has admitted dedicating a song to the prime minister at a private house party this summer. Read more

     
  61.  
    10:33: Out of the blocks

    The conference is officially under way. Steve Bell, vice-president of the National Conservative Convention, is opening proceedings.

     
  62.  
    10:32: Sell off the banks?

    Conservative MP and former Welsh Secretary John Redwood proposes a way to tackle the deficit on his blog: "Total borrowing in the next Parliament could be reduced substantially by selling all the remaining shares in banks. This would be a good idea for a variety of reasons and would be the single biggest way of reducing the loan mountain."

     
  63.  
    10:28: Newspaper round-up The Daily Telegraph

    Peter Oborne, chief political commentator, says (video) that David Cameron must navigate three major points of controversy: projecting himself as a "war leader" after the recent Commons authorisation of action against Islamic State; scrapping the Human Rights Act; and, the "most dangerous" potential pitfall, drawing a line under the recent defections to UKIP.

    Michael Deacon, in his sketch of yesterday's conference activity, describes Boris Johnson as "the politician who reduces the sketch writer's role to mere transcription", but says that despite the theatrics Boris's great strength is that he makes the party "believe they can win, and deserve to win".

     
  64.  
    10:22: Story

    David Cameron appears at 11:15 BST. In the meantime, here's our main story about his speech.

     
  65.  
    10:19: Line-up

    Just over 10 minutes until we get going again. The first of the big-name speakers will be International Development Secretary Justine Greening.

     
  66.  
    @TheGreenParty 10:17: The Green Party

    tweets: #Cameron=austerity forever; #Miliband=austerity-lite. If you're fed up with their policies join us. Please RT #CPC14

    The Green Party slogan
     
  67.  
    10:11: Newspaper round-up The Guardian

    Theresa May's speech is described as "both highly accomplished and highly disturbing", saying that for a Conservative home secretary to open by issuing a "frank challenge" to the police "felt like a kind of cultural revolution". She now proposes, however, a range of powers which "in classic abuse-of-civil liberty mode, could be misused", not least the so-called "snoopers' charter" which was "rightly blocked by the Liberal Democrats two years ago".

    Looking forward to David Cameron's speech today, Denis Campbell, the paper's health correspondent, notes that Labour has been outflanked by the Conservative leader on NHS spending, and says that unless Ed Miliband "outbids the Tories yet again he risks being accused of not matching his fine words about saving the NHS with the cash needed".

     
  68.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 10:08: Get involved

    Adam Rees: Labour keep banging on about the Tories privatising the NHS. I've been hearing it for as long as I remember. It's still free at the point of use. There are some NHS services provided by private companies for sure but who introduced it for the very first time? Labour!

     
  69.  
    @Andrew_ComRes 10:07: Andrew Hawkins, ComRes Chairman

    tweets: ComRes/ITV News poll helps explain Tory struggles - immigration & NHS are 2 of top 3 voter concerns but rate as worst policies

     
  70.  
    @iainmartin1 10:06: Iain Martin, Journalist

    tweets: And so far all the defections to UKIP have been men. Serious diversity problem. May require quotas.

     
  71.  
    10:00: Air strikes

    As Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon prepare to address the conference a little later, the Ministry of Defence has announced that RAF jets fired four missiles at Islamic State (IS) vehicles in Iraq overnight. The MoD says the strikes - aimed at an armed pick-up truck and a transport vehicle west of the Iraqi capital Baghdad - were "successful". Parliament approved UK military action against IS in Iraq last Friday.

     
  72.  
    09:59: Newspaper round-up The Daily Mail

    Quentin Letts, at the Daily Mail, sketches yesterday's "duel of two would-be leaders". Theresa May, "fervid and Thatcherish", gave the "speech that deserves to be remembered". The home secretary attacked Islamist extremism from a "defiantly centrist position", quoting the Koran and opening with a condemnation of racial bias in the exercise of police stop-and-search powers, perhaps seeing that "there are votes in centrism", he adds. Boris Johnson, meanwhile, was "full of jokes", entertaining the Tory faithful but "the closing passages of the speech - the serious bits - sagged".

     
  73.  
    09:58: Carswell not bitter

    Douglas Carswell, the former Conservative MP who has defected to UKIP, has some fond words for Tory chairman Grant Shapps. Writing on his blog, Mr Carswell says: "I like him, and I've made no secret of my admiration of him in the past. If he has had to say some fairly strong things as Conservative Party chairman over the past few days, he is doing it because he is Conservative Party chairman. I know Grant is a thoroughly decent person and have always enjoyed his company. I might have changed parties, but I'm not going start pretending that everyone that wears a blue rosette is bad. Grant is one of the good guys." Mr Carswell also says he gave up going to Conservative conferences long ago, because: "There never seemed to be many Conservatives. The lobbyists outnumber the activists. The fringe debates seemed so sterile."

    Douglas Carswell
     
  74.  
    @Freeman_George 09:50: George Freeman, Conservative MP

    tweets: As JeremyHunt said ystdy: unlocking potential of #NHS R+D in Genetics+DiseaseData is DNA of NHS: pooling our resources to prevent disease.

     
  75.  
    09:45: BBC website reader responds to MP's tweet

    Richard Heath responds to Andy Burnham, Labour MP's tweet at 09:16: Is he honestly trying to accuse the TORIES of making promises without saying where the money is going to come from? Did he not see any of the speeches by Balls and Miliband?

     
  76.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 09:45: Get involved

    Bob, Cambridge: It never ceases to amaze me when the general election is close by how the Tories send out sweeteners to get voters to stay. No chance Mr Cameron we all know what your party is about and always has been and that is to persecute the poor for the mistakes of the rich.

     
  77.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 09:41: Get involved

    Henry Francis Naudi in London: Whatever the main political parties may say about the NHS and their determination to improve it, the fact of the matter is that the main reasons for a 'distressed' NHS are (1) massive wastage in bureaucracy and admin; and (2) leeching of the NHS by people who are either not entitled to it for free or who manage to get round it by not paying their dues.

     
  78.  
    09:36: Joe Shute, for The Telegraph

    writes: David Cameron: Can he draw a line under his month to forget? Ahead of his Conservative Party conference curtain call, the prime minister has endured the most painful of Septembers. Read more

     
  79.  
    09:30: What channel? Dave, maybe?

    A bizarre scene as David Cameron prepares his speech apparently watched by... himself.

    David Cameron
     
  80.  
    @_James_Lyons_ 09:26: James Lyons, Daily Mirror Deputy Political Editor

    tweets: All sorts of rumours about another defection at #CPC14

     
  81.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 09:25: Get involved

    Colin in Gloucestershire: If we really want to keep the health service as it is people MUST take responsibility for themselves. Smoking and use of other drugs maybe your 'god given' right but it should not be the responsibility of the rest of the community to pay for the consequences. Even if Cameron can deliver on this promise, which will only come about by painful cuts elsewhere, that will only delay the day that society will no longer be willing to support people unwilling to take responsibility for themselves.

     
  82.  
    @BBCNormanS 09:23: Norman Smith, BBC

    tweets: Tory sources accuse @ukip of trying to make a somebody out of a nobody over Arron Banks defection #cpc14

     
  83.  
    09:18: Coming up at conference

    So, what else is happening at conference today? Business kicks off at the usual start of 10:30 BST - and will focus on international development, defence and foreign affairs. There'll be speeches from the secretaries of states for each respective government department - Justine Greening, Michael Fallon and Philip Hammond.

     
  84.  
    Tweet: @BBCPolitics 09:17: Get involved

    @thisisamy_ tweets: So ukip, 'the anti-establishment, people's party' attracts another millionaire donor. Yup, they're definitely on your side.

     
  85.  
    @andyburnhammp 09:16: Andy Burnham, Labour MP

    tweets: NHS facing huge funding pressures in 2015-20 Parliament. It is just not credible for Tories to make new promises without finding new money.

     
  86.  
    @matthancockmp 09:16: Matt Hancock, Conservative MP

    tweets: Delighted to see the £600m MoD contract for maintaining the Royal Navy go to Portsmouth - supporting 2000 local jobs #Portsmouth #jobs

     
  87.  
    09:15: Defence announcements

    In other news, the Ministry of Defence has announced it has awarded £3.2bn of contracts to support the management of the UK's naval bases, securing about 7,500 jobs. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon is due to make a speech to conference later this morning, so it's likely he'll make reference to this.

     
  88.  
    @Nigel_Farage 09:14: Nigel Farage, @UKIP Leader

    tweets: Arron Banks recognises that it is the European Union that is holding Britain and her businesses back. See blog post

     
  89.  
    09:13: Prop developer

    During his speech on Tuesday, London Mayor Boris Johnson wielded a brick to demonstrate his determination to get more homes built. Will David Cameron do something similar?

    Boris Johnson
     
  90.  
    09:12: Tory donor joins UKIP

    UKIP continues to cast a shadow over Conservative conference this week. One of the Tories' long-time donors is to announce later that he is joining Nigel Farage's party. Insurance entrepreneur Arron Banks has given the Conservatives more than £250,000 since David Cameron became leader - but will today present rivals UKIP with a £100,000 check. Mr Bank has also indicated he would like to stand as a candidate. The move comes after two Conservative MPs defected to UKIP - one as recently as Saturday, on the eve of Tory conference.

     
  91.  
    @Mike_Fabricant 09:10: Michael Fabricant, Conservative MP

    tweets: Another sunny day in Brum for #CPC14. An omen? See photo

     
  92.  
    09:08: Happy talk?

    David Cameron is expected to use his speech to show voters his party has more to offer them than austerity, and that with five more years the Conservatives, under his leadership, can improve people's lives.

     
  93.  
    09:06: Where is he?

    Samantha Cameron is in Birmingham to offer her husband support as he speaks later. Before that there's the obligatory walkabout.

    Samantha Cameron
     
  94.  
    09:05: More on the NHS

    The promise to protect NHS funding from departmental spending cuts is a repeat of the policy on which David Cameron fought the 2010 general election. Mr Cameron will say that a strong NHS is only made possible by a strong economy.

     
  95.  
    09:03: Midnight oil

    David Cameron has been working overnight on his speech. We are told he will deliver it using a script, rather than performing an attempted elephantine memory trick. This follows ridicule of Ed Miliband when he forgot a couple of passages of his address to the Labour conference last week.

    David Cameron
     
  96.  
    09:02: NHS spending pledge

    It is being reported that David Cameron will use his speech to pledge a yearly real-terms increase in NHS spending over the course of the next five-year Parliament, if his party secures victory at the election.

     
  97.  
    09:00: Good morning

    Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the final day of the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham. The day will culminate in the highlight of any party conference: the leader's speech. David Cameron will address party activists at 11.15 BST, in what will be his final conference speech before the general election.

     

Features

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • FilmsOnes to watch

    BBC Culture picks nine top films coming out next month

Programmes

  • A computer simulation showing a planned station upgrade in Hong KongClick Watch

    Simulated world - how architects are using virtual and augmented reality to transform our cities

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.