Lib Dem Conference: Day 1

A good start to Conference, after finally getting through the traffic from the South West. Some early controversy in the policy motion on Early Years, as an attempt was made to block the motion and send it back for review, due to being deemed muddled and inaccurate. The attempt failed quite heavily, and the motion passed.

The next motion on getting the best out of our schools also had a minor controversy when an attempt to remove a line mentioning the EBacc was also refused. The proposer argued that the Lib Dems as a party have never agreed on an EBacc, or to replace CGSEs. He said that he tried to submit a formal amendment but was refused. The motion passed overwhelmingly in the end.

The Conference Rally was a good success. The theme this year was Jobs, Education, Environment, Tax – and pointed out Lib Dem policies working to improve these areas in Government. Jo Swinson shone in particular, giving a powerful speech on campaigning and getting our message out. And Nick Clegg handled the fun around his apology video with proficient self-deprecation.

No fringe events for me last night as it was dinner with my previous party, Thornbury & Yate, and their excellent Pensions Minister Steve Webb.

This morning a motion has overwhelmingly passed reasserting our opposition as a party to a third runway at Heathrow. Norman Baker, our Transport Minister, rounded on David Cameron for moving on Justine Greening and Theresa Villiers, both 3rd runway opponents, from the Department for Transport.

Am now off to listen to ourParty President, Tim Farron MP, give his speech to the hall.

More later.

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