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Liberal Democrat conference diary

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 25, 2012

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The Nick Clegg "So Sorry" mug on sale at conference has sold out. But some delegates have requested a more positive slogan than a tuition fees apology. In response, official merchandisers are to produce a mug featuring a quotation from late Cornwall Liberal MP David Penhaligon, the man often described as the greatest leader the party never had. The politician was killed in a car crash in 1986, but remains an influential figure among Lib Dems in the Westcountry. The quotation is likely to be: "Stick it on a piece of paper and shove it through a letterbox."

Which MP sells the most pin-badges is a staple story of the Lib Dem conference. As the party's household name, Nick Clegg's tally has been discounted. Aside from the party leader, its president, Tim Farron, leads with 20 badges sold. Close behind, though, is North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson, who has sold 15. "Though ten were bought by one person," the stallholder notes. In second place in the South West is Wells MP Tessa Munt, and Sir Graham Watson, MEP for the South West, is in third. More updates to follow.

Yeovil MP David Laws is renowned as political polymath, the man Nick Clegg was anxious to have back around the Cabinet table following his expenses scandal. It was announced at conference that Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander would now take charge of a Whitehall review of alternatives to the Trident nuclear deterrent. Concerns had been raised that Mr Laws, Cabinet Office and education minister and previously slated for the task, would not be able to give it enough attention. "Danny has spoken out repeatedly about how expensive and unnecessary a like-for-like replacement would be," Mr Clegg said. "And there is no-one better when it comes to getting value for money for the taxpayer."

Conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson evoked the imminent badger cull in the South West as he to sprang to the defence of under-fire Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg. Mr Johnson, whose family live in Exmoor, has set out 20 reasons why everyone – and not just Conservatives – should be grateful that Mr Clegg "laid down his political life" to form a government, even if that meant being attacked from all sides and suffering a "protracted political humiliation". "It is time for us Clegg fans to echo those kindly folk who are trying to save the sweet furry badgers from the wrath of farmers," Mr Johnson said. "Never mind the badgers – save the Cleggster from extermination," he wrote yesterday.

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