Leaders' speeches: How they compare

The leaders of the three largest UK political parties have all delivered their big conference speeches. It is their chance to unveil new ideas, defend existing policies and rally the party faithful. Find out how their speeches compared below.

The pitch

  • Labour

    Ed Miliband wants to rebuild Britain as a country for all

  • Lib Dems

    Nick Clegg argues for fair taxes in tough times

  • Conservative

    David Cameron pledges to put the country back on its feet

The message

With an election two years away, the three leaders concentrated on positioning their parties rather than unveiling big new policy plans

"One nation"

"Austerity to prosperity"

"On the rise"

key = one mention

Length of speech

Total minutes of applause

length of speech minutes of applause

How many times did they say...

Best joke

Judge for yourself...

The real person

Party leaders often pick out a "real person" in the conference crowd to highlight their story as symbolic of their party's values.

  • Chris Dunne

    Chris Dunne, was Ed Miliband's "inspirational" comprehensive school English teacher.

  • Maurice

    Maurice Reeves, whose shop in Croydon was burned down in last summer's riots, was Mr Clegg's choice.

  • Al Lukies Alastair Lukies, a mobile banking businessman was singled out for praise. (He didn't attend).

Leaders' speeches in 140 characters

The verdict

BBC News Online Politics editor Alex Hunt sums up how the leaders performed

  • Ed Miliband's main task in his speech was to change perceptions and be seen as a future prime minister. There was little policy substance in his speech, but a lot about his background and beliefs, It was delivered without notes and with enough panache to leave his party - and most media commentators - believing he's set to be a realistic contender for No 10."

  • The nub of Nick Clegg's message was "stick it out, it will be worth it" - the Lib Dems could be the kingmakers again after the next election. It was a well delivered speech, showing a man confident as leader of a party in government. It was well received in the hall but the challenge is whether the party faithful still believe, as winter nights draw in, if poll showings don't improve."

  • David Cameron's speech was deliberately serious in style - none of the stylistic or rhetorical flourishes of the past. As with his rivals there was little in the way of new policy. Instead the message was: these are serious "sink or swim" times, but we're on the way to making Britain great again. Although it was a mid-term speech, activists left the conference reassured their man still has it."

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