Political

Lib Dem conference: what to expect

The BBC’s Brian Wheeler has an excellent round up of the issues for Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth. The whole piece is well worth a read, and as a taster here are a few extracts:

The party is talking up the fact that it has gained 20,000 members since May’s general election – and about 2,500 of them are going to be in Bournemouth. This is a record, according to party sources, surpassing the number of party members at the 2010 post-election gathering.
“It’s going to be a busy, buzzy conference,” says Lib Dem activist Mark Pack.

But it will still be a very different kind of Lib Dem conference to those we saw during the coalition years…

[Tim Farron] has described the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader as a “staggering” opportunity for the Lib Dems to occupy the “centre ground” and attract back moderate Labour voters and members appalled by their new leader’s hard left pedigree.

“There’s no denying we’re at one of the most challenging points in our party’s history, but if anyone is going to lead us back, it’s Tim,” says a party aide.

“At conference you’ll hear what motivates him, as he tackles the housing crisis, mental health, Europe, business and enterprise, the refugee crisis, and personal freedom.”…

Mr Farron and his team will be going all out to make their party look like an attractive option for disaffected Labour supporters.

“We once again see the prospect of a decade or more of Tory rule, and it fills us with dread,” Mr Farron will tell activists at a rally on Saturday evening.

Oh, and at the end:

Former leader Nick Clegg is down to speak to conference on Monday, when he is expected to launch the party’s campaign to remain in the EU in the forthcoming referendum.

“He will get a better reception than Tony Blair would at a Labour conference,” suggests Mark Pack.

Read Brian Wheeler’s full story about Lib Dem conference here, including also the views of my former Lib Dem Voice colleague Carone Lindsay.

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