Back for its third year (see 2009 and 2010) is my conference fringe meeting league table, showing how many fringes each Lib Dem MP will be speaking at during the forthcoming federal autumn conference. As ever, this is based on the information from the official fringe listings in the printed conference directory.
The Simon Hughes Memorial Prize for Multiple Simultaneous Fringe Booking award this year was tightly contested. After Simon Hughes winning in 2009 and then in 2010 the honours being split four ways between Burstow, Cable, Featherstone and Teather, 2011 saw a tight contest again.
There were numerous MPs who managed one, or more, double bookings. Special mention for daring double booking must go to Huppert and Lamb both of whom have a double booking when in one of the slots they are down as the only speaker. Presumably they are hoping for very long-winded questions that are so unclear that they can safely nip out, give a talk somewhere else and then return in time to give an answer as if they’d been listening all the time. In fairness, evidence from past conferences suggests this is not an unreasonable hope.
On simple numbers, they lose out to Andrew Stunell and his triple booking. But even he loses out to Vince Cable’s extra special triple booking where not only is he the only speaker listed at one of the events, the format is in fact him being interviewed. Absence from stage may be tricky during that one even allowing for the slightly shifted time of the interview.
So congratulations Vince. He is the Simon Hughes of Birmingham 2011, with his Usain Bolt impression coming soon to a fringe hotel corridor near you.
If you see him dashing do helpfully shout “The interview is that way” whilst pointing in a random direction.
Simon Hughes can meanwhile console himself with the knowledge that he and triple booking star Andrew Stunell displace Cable from his 2009 and 2010 number one spot for total number of fringes.
Note: I have included MPs marked as “tbc” and “invited” but excluded those who are not listed even if I know otherwise (as my extra information is only partial).