Recap: Monday at Lib Dem conference

Key Points

  • Business Secretary Vince Cable attacked the Conservatives over Europe and social policy
  • Party leader Nick Clegg told delegates the UK was getting used to coalition government
  • The leadership won the vote on its economic motion, defeating attempts to have it modified

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  1.  
    1823:

    And that vote concludes our coverage of the third day of the Lib Dem conference in Glasgow. Please join us again on Tuesday.

     
  2.  
    1822:

    Delegates have just voted overwhelmingly to review the party's policy on the "bedroom tax" or "spare room subsidy".

     
  3.  
    1812:

    Liverpool Lib Dem councillor Richard Kemp reminds delegates it was Labour that introduced the under-occupancy penalty for tenants in the private sector. The so-called "bedroom tax" - which extends the penalty to social rented sector - is "reprehensible" and "evil".

     
  4.  
    1804:

    Greg Mulholland MP tells conference that the welfare system the coalition inherited "was failing to spend taxpayers' money properly".

     
  5.  
    1757:

    Robert Brown from Rutherglen refers to recent claims by Lib Dem peer Baroness Williams that the under-occupancy penalty was a mistake. "It's wasn't a mistake. It was a disaster," he says to applause from the hall. There is more applause when he says: "I did not join the Liberal Democrats to cut the living standards and incomes of the poor."

     
  6.  
    1753:

    Suzanne Fletcher from Stockton is the latest speaker to attack the under-occupancy penalty. She doesn't use the coalition term for it: "spare room subsidy". She prefers "bedroom tax", a term favoured by many opponents.

     
  7.  
    1750: Conservative activist Johnny Cope

    tweets: "Wasn't so long ago Vince Cable was one of the most popular politicians in the country. Now he just comes across as an angry old man"

     
  8.  
    1742:

    A pre-approved amendment to the motion credits the Lib Dems with "securing an additional £35m fund to help claimants affected by the removal of the spare room subsidy who need extra support".

     
  9.  
    1735:

    On the under-occupancy penalty, Ms Porksen claims that she knows of someone who received notice that their housing benefit would be cut one week after their mother died. "What some people might call efficiency, I call inhuman," she says angrily.

     
  10.  
    1732:

    Julie Porksen from Wansbeck is moving the motion on a new policy on entitlement to housing benefit. Speaking about room sizes in some accommodation, she says standards of living have gone "forwards for battery hens but backwards for people".

     
  11.  
    1728:

    Today's final debate, on housing benefit, begins. The session is running slightly late after so many votes following the tax debate.

     
  12.  
    1725:

    The main motion, calling for a raise in the personal allowance to a level equivalent to a full-time job on the national minimum wage, a crackdown on avoidance and implementation of a mansion tax, is passed.

     
  13.  
    1723:

    Delegates vote to maintain the top rate of tax at 45p. It wins over a proposal for a 50p rate by just four votes.

     
  14.  
    1720:

    Delegates are voting on an amendment calling for a top rate of tax of 50p. It's so close that there is a recount.

     
  15.  
    1719:

    Amendment one, calling for higher rate of stamp duty on second home purchases by wealthy non-doms, is rejected. Amendment two, opposing the Conservatives' proposed marriage tax allowance, is carried.

     
  16.  
    1719:

    Delegates vote to back a mansion tax and a policy of land value taxation.

     
  17.  
    1712:

    The debate is over and a series of votes on motions and amendments begins.

     
  18.  
    1705: Conservative MP Tim Loughton

    tweets: "I will of course apologise to Sarah [Teather] for the comments that have been reported and were certainly not intended or indeed said in that way"

     
  19.  
    1658:

    From Brian Wheeler in Glasgow: Birmingham Yardley MP John Hemming breezes into the conference centre looking jovial and relaxed. He's not overly bothered about the party's increasingly fractious relationship with the Tories. "I've never wanted to be a minister," he explains. Then he shows me a funny video clip on his phone.

     
  20.  
    1656:

    Gareth Epps, from Reading, makes his third appearance on the stage today. Discussing wealth taxes, he tells the audience he is trying to win "the title of best anorak".

     
  21.  
    1654:

    Vince Cable gives his backing to amendment one proposing higher stamp duty on second home purchases by wealthy non-doms.

     
  22.  
    1653: SNP member Independent Scot

    tweets: "After watching #ldconf for a few hours now, I now understand how they operate in Gov. They bore their ememies in submission."

     
  23.  
    1652:

    Vince Cable takes to the stage again to contribute to the tax debate, apologising to the conference for "hogging the platform today".

     
  24.  
    1651:
    This mini model of Nick Clegg's head was made by a 3d printer the MakerBot Replica 2.

    We reported earlier how photographer Jeff J Mitchell has been taking atmospheric black-and-white pics of goings-on at the Lib Dem conference. Our own Brian Wheeler seems to have caught the artistic bug. His muse is the 3D model of Nick Clegg being created in the exhibition hall (also featured about seven entries below). Note how Wheeler juxtaposes the stillness and certainty of the statue-like Clegg with the frenetic debates taking place among delegates in the background. The computer image has a whiff of classical antiquity about it too. One photo, so many meanings...

     
  25.  
    1645: Stephen Tall of activist blog Lib Dem voice

    tweets: "Our survey says Lib Dems want a 50p top-rate of tax - but will they vote for it at conference?"

     
  26.  
    1641:

    Lib Dem peer Lord Philips of Sudbury says the HMRC versus big tax avoiders is "not David versus Goliath... it's David minus his sling".

     
  27.  
    1638:

    From Brian Wheeler in Glasgow: It's hard to underestimate just how annoyed Lib Dems were by those "go home" immigration vans. It's the first thing they mention when you ask about the Tories. If the coalition does fall apart before the election, blame the vans.

     
  28.  
    1636:

    Deputy leader Simon Hughes is speaking in the tax debate. He says Lib Dem policies in the coalition have led to a fall in income inequality.

     
  29.  
    1635:

    Mr Loughton blames the media for the row. He continues: "Hold on-if some journo distorting my comments on LDem family policy in2 personal attack on Sarah Teather v sorry but not intended & not fair"

     
  30.  
    1633: Conservative MP Tim Loughton

    tweets: "Blimey-what am I being panned for now? My criticism was lack of LibDem family policy not of Sarah Teather personally who I always respected"

     
  31.  
    1632:
    Nick Clegg CGI

    This is a 3D image of Nick Clegg's head produced by the team on the Microsoft stand at the conference exhibition, reports Brian Wheeler. It doesn't look much like him because he has "nondescript" features, says a techie. They are using a 3D printer to produce a lifesize model of his head.

     
  32.  
    1623:

    Paul Jackman-Graham from Suffolk Coastal tells delegates that "taxing wealth is self-defeating". Taxing wealth is ultimately a tax on the income that wealth generates, he says. "We should prevent all evasion and avoidance," he adds.

     
  33.  
    1619: Political blogger Mark Thompson

    tweets: You can't be Foreign Secretary unless you've lived in every country in the world. #TweetLikeLoughtonThinks

     
  34.  
    1616: Evening Standard columnist Rosamund Urwin

    tweets: Apology imminent? Tory MP Tim Loughton suggests Sarah Teather was a poor families minister because she has no kids

     
  35.  
    1613:

    John Leech MP tells conference that reducing the 50p rate of income tax was unpopular with voters. "The only way we can dissociate ourselves from this top-rate Tory cut is to commit ourselves to reintroducing it," he argues.

     
  36.  
    1611: The Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats group

    tweets: "EMLD condemn Jeremy Browne's comments on banning Muslim veil"

     
  37.  
    1605:

    Terry London of Barking and Dagenham is speaking against the motion, arguing that everyone should contribute to public spending. He says it "will do more to disenfranchise the poor" than any Conservative or Labour policy. "If the low-paid don't feel that they have contributed... all government services... will feel like help," he argues.

     
  38.  
    1603:

    The main motion proposes "raising the personal allowance further to the level equivalent to a full-time job on national minimum wage".

     
  39.  
    1558:

    Stephen Williams MP is on stage, echoing the call for "light taxes on work and heavier taxes on wealth and speculation".

     
  40.  
    1556:

    Attacking the Lib Dems' coalition partners, Edward Lord says conference should tell the Tories "where to put their Daily Mail-inspired family values".

     
  41.  
    1555:

    Edward Lord from Cities of London and Westminster is moving an amendment opposing the proposed marriage tax allowance. He says it is discriminatory and "benefits only a limited group of couples who match the Conservatives' idealised vision".

     
  42.  
    1548:

    Cllr Anood Al-Samerai from Bermondsey in south London is moving amendment one. The proposal targets wealthy people buying second homes which "mean the price is inflated massively for local people". The amendment would increase stamp duty on residential properties bought by UK non-doms.

     
  43.  
    1543:

    Liberal Democrats believe in "taxing work less and wealth more", Danny Alexander says.

     
  44.  
    1541:
    Nick Clegg

    Nick Clegg spent about an hour answering delegates' questions.

     
  45.  
    1538:

    Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander is on stage saying Lib Dems were responsible for raising the personal allowance. He tells conference that ministers are closing tax loopholes.

     
  46.  
    1534:

    The debate on fairer taxes begins.

     
  47.  
    1533:

    Nick Clegg's Q&A session ends with applause. Chair Andrew Wiseman comments that he "can't imagine any other party leader" putting themselves through such a question session.

     
  48.  
    1530:

    Nick Clegg says "I often tear my hair out" when he hears cases in his constituency of problems with immigration red tape.

     
  49.  
    1528:

    Merlene Emerson from Twickenham and Richmond asks about immigration raids in London which, she claims, are even targeting "regulated immigrants". She puts it down to Home Office "incompetence".

     
  50.  
    1526: Labour's press team

    tweets: Clegg now criticising the "go home or face arrest" van he did nothing to stop - see @Andrew_Adonis article http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/sep/14/nick-clegg-coalition-tories-cost … #ldconf

     
  51.  
    1524:

    Mr Clegg is questioned about the Home Office vans urging illegal immigrants to go home. He describes the idea as "so silly" and "very unsettling". But he claims that it is not possible to "encourage a culture of tolerance" if the authorities can't tell who is entering and leaving the country.

     
  52.  
    1521:

    Nick Clegg says local government should have much more freedom to raise and spend its own money.

     
  53.  
    1520: The Labour think-tank Progress

    tweets: Like Hans-Dietrich Genscher in Germany, Britain's third party could remain in govt for decades

     
  54.  
    1511:

    On the subject of welfare, including the under-occupancy penalty - dubbed the "bedroom tax" by opponents - Mr Clegg says: "I wrestle with these things." He says the previous Labour government introduced housing benefit curbs for people in private rented accommodation.

     
  55.  
    1508:

    As Nick Clegg's Q&A continues, Linda Jack of Mid Bedfordshire wonders if there is still a place for her in the party. She says she has seen "an abandonment of our values."

     
  56.  
    1507: Kevin

    texts: At last, Vince Cable has said what so many think.

     
  57.  
    1505:

    "The country is getting used to coalition government," Mr Clegg says. Lib Dems could be a force for responsibility if in power with Labour and for fairness if in government with the Tories, he suggests.

     
  58.  
    1503:

    A delegate asks Nick Clegg what a coalition with Labour might have been like. That sounds like "a parlour game," the deputy prime minister says.

     
  59.  
    1501: The Guardian's Andrew Sparrow

    tweets: New Guardian ICM poll shows Lib Dem supporters want LDs to form coalition with Lab not Tories by 2 to 1 in hung parl.

     
  60.  
    1459:

    Mr Clegg says he wants to protect spending on the NHS and schools after 2015.

     
  61.  
    1457:

    Nick Clegg says the coalition's policy is "not some ideological, small-state agenda".

     
  62.  
    1456:

    Mr Clegg argues: "Without sound finances you can't build a sound economy. Without a sound economy you can't build a fair society."

     
  63.  
    1454:

    Nick Clegg is asked if the party is "fighting for all the people of Britain" after it recommitted itself to the deficit-reduction policy this morning. "Of course we are," he insists.

     
  64.  
    1453: Phil Wallace, Swindon

    emails: I feel for the Lib Dems because they have sacrificed their popularity for doing a task where there was ultimately going to be no thanks.

     
  65.  
    1451:

    A tieless Nick Clegg takes to the stage. Trying to show a more informal side perhaps. But he still stands behind a lectern.

     
  66.  
    1450: Nick, Ipswich, Suffolk

    emails: Even after all this time, I find it quite unbelievable that Vince Cable, or any Lib Dem politician, has the temerity to criticise their coalition partners. They do not deserve to be in a position of power.

     
  67.  
    1449:

    Next is a Q&A session with Nick Clegg.

     
  68.  
    1449:

    Kirsty Williams ends her speech saying Lib Dems are needed in government to protect against "lacklustre, incompetent" Labour or "intolerant" Conservatives.

     
  69.  
    1449:

    From Brian Wheeler in Glasgow: Lib Dem MP Stephen Williams tells me he agrees with much of what Vince Cable had to say about the Tories. He says there is a "three-party coalition": Lib Dems, Conservatives and "Tory headbangers". Mr Williams predicts there will be more of a "them and us" feel to the coalition as the election approaches and the partners try to "differentiate themselves".

     
  70.  

    Ms Williams claims the Lib Dems "weren't rewarded at the ballot box for our success in government because we didn't concentrate on the issues that matter most to people".

     
  71.  
    1446:

    Another attack on the Tory right, which Kirsty Williams calls "the Bone squad". Conservative MPs including backbencher Peter Bone have proposed policies including naming a bank holiday after Margaret Thatcher. "You may laugh, but these people are serious," she tells fellow Lib Dems.

     
  72.  
    1443:

    Kirsty Williams says that if people want to see what a UK Labour government would be like, they should go to Wales. "We've had 13 years of the same old Labour," she adds.

     
  73.  
    1442: Jack Foster

    tweets: "@Kirsty_Williams doesn't get it: Scots aren't 'going' anywhere, we just want to run our own affairs (it's called democracy) #indyref #ldconf"

     
  74.  
    1438:

    Kirsty Williams attacks the Labour-run Welsh government on its record on the NHS, claiming both ambulance and operation waiting times are worse than in England.

     
  75.  
    1436:

    Kirsty Williams says Liberal Democrats must campaign for the Union. "The Conservatives are conflicted. Labour is confused. The nationalists? Well, they just want separation," she says.

     
  76.  
    1435:

    On the subject of the Union, Kirsty Williams calls for a "more balanced settlement" with "more autonomy across the UK".

     
  77.  
    1431: From the BBC's Brian Wheeler in Glasgow:
    Lord Ashdown "I didn't hear Mr Cable's speech and I will give you a reaction only when the press office asks me to." Lord Ashdown is keeping his head down, then
     
  78.  
    1430:

    Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, takes to the stage on the day of her 13th wedding anniversary. "We all know unions can be difficult. Just ask Ed Miliband," she jokes.

     
  79.  
    1426:

    Ros Gordon, chair of the Lib Dems' campaign for gender balance, says the party has to work harder to increase the number of its female Lib Dem MPs.

     
  80.  
    1421:

    The afternoon session of conference is just beginning with a report from the party's diversity engagement group. Baroness Brinton, chair of the group, is speaking.

     
  81.  
    1417: From Brian Wheeler in Glasgow:

    Just heard a story at a Lib Dem conference fringe meeting - which may or may not be true - about a former education minister who thought creativity had ruined British education and liked to recite times tables with his officials at those who disagreed.

     
  82.  
    1416:

    Vince Cable tells the BBC News Channel he "probably would be classified as left-of-centre" but some of his colleagues would not.

     
  83.  
    1415: From Brian Wheeler in Glasgow:

    Leader of the NUT teachers' union Christine Blower tells a fringe meeting Lib Dem education minister David Laws and Conservative Education Secretary Michael Gove need to meet more "real" children and stop spending so much time visiting academies and free schools.

     
  84.  
    1415:
    nick clegg, danny alexander, steve webb

    Despite backing the Lib Dem leadership over the economy, Mr Cable did not sit with other senior Lib Dems during the debate. Here Nick Clegg is flanked by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.

     
  85.  
    1414: From Brian Wheeler in Glasgow:
    An education fringe meeting

    That's not David Laws on the right - the education minister had to leave his lunchtime fringe meeting, early but his name tag remains. Danny Alexander didn't make it at all to his fringe on living standards. Are they in lockdown after Vince Cable's incendiary speech? Just a theory.

     
  86.  
    1412:

    Asked about potential post-2015 coalition combinations, Vince Cable said his party was "equidistant" between Labour and the Conservatives. "I make a point of maintaining good relations with people in other parties," he told the BBC.

     
  87.  
    1407:

    In case you missed it earlier, Vince Cable described the party he is in coalition with as "Tea Party Tories" - a reference to Republican faction on the libertarian right. "Deep down they believe that there is no alternative to unhindered, individual self-interest," he told delegates.

     
  88.  
    1355:

    As reported earlier Lib Dem press officers sent an apparently confidential crib sheet intended for MPs to journalists. BBC Radio 4's The World at One presenter Martha Kearney was one of them. She was particularly pleased to see the "five things to remember in interviews, e.g. this conference sees the party in a confident mood".

     
  89.  
    nick clegg

    Another of those black and white shots from photographer Jeff Mitchell, who captures a pensive looking Nick Clegg. Vince Cable told a meeting of Lib Dem MPs he backed the economy motion earlier because it had become an issue of leadership, according to the BBC's political editor Nick Robinson.

     
  90.  
    1348:

    To recap, party members earlier backed the Lib Dem leadership's deficit-cutting proposals. They rejected calls from some activists to refocus the Bank of England on jobs and living standards and to set a target of 300,000 new homes. And - after suggestions he might not vote in the debate - Vince Cable the business secretary played down suggestions of a rift with the leadership as he backed the motion.

     
  91.  
    1347:

    And from the debate on the economy this morning, here's leader Nick Clegg trying to convince activists to back the party's tax and spending policies. Watch till the end and you'll see that - even at his own conference - the deputy prime minister isn't allowed to go over time.

     
  92.  
    Laurence Meehan

    tweets: Been here two days but big themes are housing and broadband - been brought up in all sorts of forums - manifesto writers take note #ldconf

     
  93.  
    1325:

    In case you missed it earlier, the business secretary used his conference speech to lay into the Lib Dems' coalition partners. He referred to the Conservatives as the "nasty party" and attacked their election campaign strategist Lynton Crosby as "an Australian rottweiler". You can watch a clip here.

     
  94.  
    Mark Brown, Brighton

    tweets: #ldconf Cable's political judgement not good over recent weeks - Wrong on bubble and speech was itself the politics of the dog-whistle

     
  95.  
    vince cable

    And here is Mr Cable, seen in the hall at that economic debate earlier.

     
  96.  
    Ian Baxter

    tweets: Very good of the Lib Dems to remind us that whilst they look sensible in Coalition Government, in fact they are not #ldconf

     
  97.  
    1315:

    Vince Cable tells BBC Radio 4's The World at One programme there was never any question of him not attending this morning's economy debate and vote: "I always turn up and say what I think." He adds: "Why would I duck out?"

     
  98.  
    1310: Caroline Mortimer

    tweets: "I do love it when they serve loads [of] alcohol at the 'Stop Britain binge drinking' fringes in the middle of the afternoon #ldconf"

     
  99.  
    1307: Sky's deputy political editor Joey Jones

    tweets: this is vince cable's Glasgow kiss for his coalition partners

     
  100.  
    1306:

    The Labour Party is "deeply illiberal" and believes it can mould the perfect society by banning everything it disagrees with, Lib Dem Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne has told a fringe meeting organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs.

     
  101.  
    1304: Owen Jones, columnist with the Independent,

    tweets: "Lib Dem Conference: when MPs with the voting record of George Osborne speak with the rhetoric of Tony Benn #ldconf"

     
  102.  
    1302: Politics Home editor Paul Waugh

    tweets: He's not a rousing orator, but they *loved* Cable's Old Testament Prophecy in the hall.

     
  103.  
    1300:

    Asked if David Cameron continues to have full confidence in Vince Cable, the prime minister's official spokesman tells a Westminster media briefing: "He has."

     
  104.  
    1258: ITV political editor Tom Bradby

    tweets: Here is the truth; Vince gets on very well in private with most of his Tory colleagues. The only guy he disliked in cabinet was Huhne.

     
  105.  
    1256: Theo Usherwood, Press Association parliamentary editor,

    tweets: "First standing ovation of #ldconf for Cable."

     
  106.  
    1255:

    And that's lunch. Conference resumes at 14:15 BST.

     
  107.  
    1255: Conservative Party HQ

    tweets: Odd Vince Cable mentions the 1867 Reform Act, extending the franchise. Backed by Disraeli's Conservatives, opposed by Gladstone's Liberals..

     
  108.  
    1252:

    Vince Cable finishes his speech, saying the Lib Dems are the party to fight "prejudice and entrenched privilege". Delegates give him a standing ovation.

     
  109.  
    1251:

    The business secretary talks about life expectancy in Glasgow varying by up to seven years between affluent and deprived areas.

     
  110.  
    1250: Andrew Beckett

    tweets: "#ldconf This is hilarious - Cable completely slagging off his own government!"

     
  111.  
    1249: Peter Mannion, spoof Conservative MP

    tweets: ..apparently without the Liberal Democrats in government David Cameron would have slain all first born... #LDconf

     
  112.  
    1248:

    On the EU, Mr Cable warns about "backbench Bones and Hollobones" - Eurosceptic Conservative MPs Peter Bone and Philip Hollobone. "We didn't vote to join a coalition with UKIP," he says.

     
  113.  
    1247:

    Mr Cable says he thought Lib Dems and Tories would both support an "open" Britain, but instead visa restrictions on students and others are driving business away. "What they hear is that we are closed for business and that must change."

     
  114.  
    1245: Stuart W Ramsay, London

    tweets: Vince Cable listing his reasons for hating tories, whilst helping tories deliver harmful right-wing policies. There's a word for that...

     
  115.  
    1245:

    Referring to what he regards as successful "government interventions" in the economy, Vince Cable says: "Without the Liberal Democrats, they would never have happened."

     
  116.  
    1244: The Guardian's Michael White

    tweets: #LibDems Tremendous conference rant against Tory market failures/Labour tribalism. Ostensibly loyal to Nick, but says "Jeremiah was right"

     
  117.  
    1243:

    Mr Cable favours "sustainable growth" and "rebalancing the economy across the UK". He says the government has encouraged exports and manufacturing.

     
  118.  
    1242: Times sketch writer Ann Treneman

    tweets: Vince letting rip at the Tories. This speech feels like it is authentic Vince, unlike some in the past

     
  119.  
    1241:

    After laying into the Conservatives, Mr Cable says he agrees with them on cutting the deficit and promoting private enterprise.

     
  120.  
    1240:

    Mr Cable says the Conservatives' "spiritual home is in the Unites States" and labels them "Tea Party Tories".

     
  121.  
    1239:

    The business secretary says Labour was "negligent" when in power but the Conservatives want to turn the clock back. He says: "As Liberal Democrats we value both private and public sector." He adds: "I don't think even Tony Benn could have claimed to have launched two state-owned banks."

     
  122.  
    1238: Amy

    tweets: Clegg's not looking happy. #ldconf #cablespeech

     
  123.  
    1236:

    "We're not just a nicer version of the Tories," Mr Cable says.

     
  124.  
    1236:

    Mr Cable says a mansion tax is "sensible... but above all fair".

     
  125.  
    1235:

    Vince Cable goes on the attack against the Conservatives. He refers to election strategist Lynton Crosby as "an Australian rottweiler" promoting "dog-whistle politics".

     
  126.  
    1233:

    Mr Cable accuses Labour of "tribalism" and says Lib Dems should "reinforce" liberal tradition.

     
  127.  
    1232:

    Vince Cable says Glasgow is the city where he had his "political baptism of fire" when he was part of the "Labour political machine in the 1970s".

     
  128.  
    1232:

    Vince Cable takes to the stage for his big speech to conference.

     
  129.  
    1229:

    Conference delegates vote to support the motion giving more protection to cohabiting couples.

     
  130.  
    1226:

    Julian Huppert MP is summing up on the cohabitation debate. Business Secretary Vince Cable's keynote speech follows at about 12:30 BST.

     
  131.  
    1214: Lib Dem party member Jeremy Sanders

    tweets: "So, we will now have to fight the next election on an economic policy of 'Ask George Osborne' #ldconf"

     
  132.  
    1210: ITV political editor Tom Bradby

    tweets: The Lib Dem Conference has become a rather predictable event; every year they flirt with a rebellion, but don't go through with it.

     
  133.  
    1200: Norman Smith, chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel,

    tweets: "Ooooops. Lib Dems have sent out their confidential 'lines to take' briefing to media #ldconf"

     
  134.  
    1156: The Guardian's Nick Watt

    tweets: If @nick_clegg had summed up as well in Syria commons debate as he did in #libdemconf debate on econ...

     
  135.  
    1153:
    Vince Cable

    Vince Cable's arrival in the hall towards the end of the economy debate caused quite a stir.

     
  136.  
    1151: The Sun's political editor, Tom Newton Dunn,

    tweets: It appears Deputy Leader Simon Hughes rebelled on Libs economy vote.

     
  137.  
    1150:

    Lib Dem peer Lord Marks opens the debate on cohabitation rights. He's backing the motion giving more rights to cohabiting couples, including those in same-sex partnerships. "We should embrace our freedom to choose how we live and who we choose to live with," he says.

     
  138.  
    1149:

    That's the end of the economy debate, with the party leadership having got its motion through with minor amendments. Up next is a debate on cohabitation rights.

     
  139.  
    1146:

    The second amendment on housing is rejected, then conference backs the main motion on the economy. Vince Cable is among those in the hall voting in favour.

     
  140.  
    1145:

    Delegates reject lines in amendment one calling for a change in economic policy but back the call for "distinctive economic policies" for the next election.

     
  141.  
    1143:

    Voting on amendments is under way.

     
  142.  
    1142:

    Even the party leader has to stick to the time limit for speeches in the debate. The chair tells him to draw his remarks for a close.

     
  143.  
    1141:

    "We are committed to dealing with this black hole in our finances," Nick Clegg says.

     
  144.  
    1139:

    Nick Clegg warns against "chopping and changing" the mandate of the Bank of England. Vince Cable, sitting in the audience, nods.

     
  145.  
    1137:

    "Nick Clegg from Sheffield" takes to the stage to support the motion. He praises the quality of the debate.

     
  146.  
    1137:

    Former MP Paul Holmes is speaking in support of the amendment on housing and on the independence of the Bank of England. He says he and Nick Clegg agree on very little, but gets a round of applause when he says that he wants to see him lead the party into the election.

     
  147.  
    1136: The Sun's Emily Ashton

    tweets: Things you only hear in the #ldconf security queue: 'If you could just stand there behind the man in the yellow trousers'

     
  148.  
    1132:

    David Howarth accuses George Osborne of caring more about "cutting public spending than he does about cutting the deficit". He adds: "If the deficit went away, he'd be furious."

     
  149.  
    1131:

    David Howarth MP is summing up in support of the amendment calling for measures on employment and growth. He says inequality is "a threat to our society and our ability to live in a decent way".

     
  150.  
    1130: Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: If all pols emailed us the things they were going to say in interviews notwithstanding questions, things wd be much simpler...

     
  151.  
    1126:

    David Grace, from Cambridge, raises a laugh when he says Nick Clegg is "not the Lone Ranger and we are not Tonto". He calls on the party to support the amendment.

     
  152.  
    1126:
    Nick Clegg

    Nick Clegg awaits the conference's decision on the economy motion amendments.

     
  153.  
    1124:

    David Grace from Cambridge argues that the Lib Dems did not in fact approve the fiscal policy last year. He says he's sick of the media presenting every conference disagreement as a "challenge to the leadership". He says Nick Clegg is a leader making a "challenge to the membership".

     
  154.  
    1122: The Evening Standard's Joe Watts

    tweets: Oh dear, Lib Dem HQ has just accidentally emailed all hacks what they want MPs to say in TV interviews. #ldconf

     
  155.  
    1119:

    The BBC's Brian Wheeler reports: Lib Dem "golden couple" Duncan Hames and Jo Swinson are expecting their first child. Nick Clegg jokingly compared the MPs to William and Kate in his speech on Saturday...

     
  156.  
    1118: Former Lib Dem campaign chairman Olly Grender

    tweets: Am in middle of hall very hard to discern which way votes are going to go on economy debate - only in this democratic party #ldconf

     
  157.  
    1115: The Daily Mail's Tim Shipman

    tweets: Cable ambles mordantly into the conference room, like an undertaker attending his own funeral

     
  158.  
    1114:

    Nick Thornsby, from Heywood and Middleton, argues the motion represents "Gladstonian responsibility" rather than "Osbornomics".

     
  159.  
    1112:

    Vince Cable has been spotted entering the conference hall during the economy debate.

     
  160.  
    1112: The Mirror's Kevin Maguire

    tweets: Been to village fetes busier than the Lib Dem conference exhibition. Particularly small this year

     
  161.  
    1110:

    The BBC's Brian Wheeler: With Sarah Teather no longer in the picture it fell to Ed Davey to take on the mantle of conference gagsmith on Sunday. His quips about shale gas (I'm "fracking responsible") and Nigel Farage - too tortuous to go into here - received the customary groans from the party faithful.

     
  162.  
    1109: James Landale Deputy Political Editor, BBC News

    tweets: Economy debate at Lib Dems is about ownership. Clegg wants Lib Dems to part-own the recovery. Critics want party to wholly-own the policy.

     
  163.  
    1105:

    Sian Read from Cambridge City Council backs removing the borrowing limits on councils to enable a "bold" new programme of house building.

     
  164.  
    1104:

    The BBC's Brian Wheeler reports: It was strangely quiet on the way into the conference hall this morning. Where were the die-hards, eccentrics and single-issue campaigners who traditionally throng the entrance to party conferences? "They're all inside the hall," quipped one hack.

     
  165.  
    1102:

    Barbara Janke, from Bristol, tells Lib Dems they have to take some of the "credit" for the coalition's economic decisions, rather than just "pain".

     
  166.  
    1055:
    Band at Lib Dem conference

    The BBC's Brian Wheeler reports: The wind was blowing so hard on Sunday, conference organisers had to briefly close the security tent in case it blew away. But this hardy band of troubadours defied the elements. No prizes for guessing which Bob Dylan classic they were playing.

     
  167.  
    1053:

    Linda Jack from Mid Bedfordshire, supporting the amendments, says the party can't go into the next election on "the coat tails of George Osborne".

     
  168.  
    1050:

    Tim Farron says he rejects lines in the amendment calling for measures aimed at increasing employment and growth. "Economic growth has returned" he says and Lib Dems can't get the "jitters" and "hand the credit to George Osborne".

     
  169.  
    1046:

    Party president Tim Farron is on stage talking about the "incredibly tough decision" the Lib Dems made to go into coalition with the Conservatives. It may have damaged the party but it saved the country, he says.

     
  170.  
    1043: The BBC's Norman Smith

    tweets: Sources close to @vincecable describe row over whether he wd back economy motion at #ldconf as "massively overblown"

     
  171.  
    1035:

    The BBC's Brian Wheeler, in Glasgow, says Vince Cable will turn up during the economy debate and that he will support the government's motion.

     
  172.  
    1030:

    A large helping of food metaphors from Sharon Bowles MEP. She says that changing course on deficit reduction would be "like going on a binge in the middle of a diet... We will end up fatter and worse off".

     
  173.  
    1024:

    Labour "presided over the biggest contraction in our economy since the 1930s", Sir Malcolm Bruce says.

     
  174.  
    1023:

    MP Sir Malcolm Bruce, a former economic spokesman for the party, warns that the government may have taken its eye off inflation. But he tells conference that "thanks to the grit and determination of Liberal Democrats in government" they are building a strong economy.

     
  175.  
    1020:

    The second amendment to the economy motion proposes that councils be allowed to "borrow to invest in building at least 50,000 homes per year for social rent" through removing their borrowing limits. Lord Shipley calls for "more social homes for rent".

     
  176.  
    1018:

    "Unless supply is increased, prices will go on rising," Lord Shipley says of housing.

     
  177.  
    1018:

    Lib Dem peer Lord Shipley is speaking in support of amendment two on the economy motion, covering housing. It calls for an increase in new homes being built to 300,000 per year.

     
  178.  
    1015:

    Naomi Smith warns Lib Dems not to "collude with and condone Osborne's plan" that deficit reduction should be achieved "entirely" through cuts and not tax.

     
  179.  
    1014:

    An amendment to the leadership's motion calls for economic policy to be "rebalanced to give greater support for measures that raise employment and growth". Naomi Smith, who supports the amendment, warns against an "ideological merger" with the Conservatives, to some applause.

     
  180.  
    1012:

    Naomi Smith, from Westminster, accuses Chancellor George Osborne of stoking a housing bubble in a "mortgages for votes" scheme. This contrasts with Steve Webb, who said a housing bubble was not being created.

     
  181.  
    1011:
    Nick Clegg

    Jokes about swing voters, pitching to the electorate and the party being "on course" will not be used as a caption for this photograph. Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg had a go at mini-golf while touring the exhibition stands at the conference. Will he adopt a similar pose if the economy debate and vote go according to plan?

     
  182.  
    1009:

    Steve Webb says the independence of the Bank of England is a long-standing party commitment and should not be changed.

     
  183.  
    1007:

    Steve Webb urges conference to reject an amendment that calls on the party to go back on economic policy approved 12 months ago. It would be "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory", he says.

     
  184.  
    1003:

    Work and Pensions Minister Steve Webb is opening the economy debate, telling delegates that the party "stuck with it" having been urged to change course this time last year. Growth forecasts and confidence are up, he says.

     
  185.  
    1001:

    Conference votes to approve the race equality motion. Up next is the UK economy debate.

     
  186.  
    1001:

    Baroness Hussein-Ece tells the conference that her mother was told not to use her real name Aisha, and to adopt the name Flossie instead, when working in the UK in the 1950s.

     
  187.  
    0958:

    Lib Dem peer Baroness Hussein-Ece is summing up on the race equality debate. The motion concerns implementation of the Equality Act and improving education outcomes for ethnic minority pupils.

     
  188.  
    0951:
    Lib Dem conference

    Photographer Jeff J Mitchell has captured some rather arty, black-and-white snapshots of goings-on at conference for the Getty Images agency. Here, delegates vote.

     
  189.  
    0949:

    Conservative MP Brooks Newmark tweets: "In avoiding economy debate Vince Cable is signalling he supports @edballsmp failed Plan B."

     
  190.  
    0946:

    Laughter as Marisha Ray says: "When England and India play cricket, I want a draw."

     
  191.  
    0942:

    Marisha Ray, who was the Lib Dems' parliamentary candidate in the Croydon North byelection, claims that she couldn't see a visibly ethnic minority person in the media room of the conference centre.

     
  192.  
    0935:

    In the conference hall, activist Gareth Epps, from Reading, calls for "a tough line with the Tories" to stop them undermining the Equality Act 2010.

     
  193.  
    0933:

    Nick Clegg tells ITV's Daybreak that he and Vince Cable "have been working hand in glove for the last three years". He adds of the economy motion that the two of them have "worked on it together in very many important respects".

     
  194.  
    0925:

    Pash Nadrha, from Harrow, says attitudes towards race have improved, but adds that some ethnic minority children need more help at school.

     
  195.  
    0924:

    Jemima Bland, from Worthing, tells the conference that ethnic minority pupils face considerable disadvantages, endorsing the motion.

     
  196.  
    0923:

    The hall in Glasgow is quite empty for the race equality debate. It should be a lot busier later in the morning for the economy debate and Vince Cable's much-anticipated speech.

     
  197.  
    0914:

    Party activist Janice Turner opens the debate on race equality. She says Labour "messed up" on equality when it was in power, while the Conservatives don't see a need for action. She pays tribute to Lib Dem members of the government.

     
  198.  
    0911: Nick Robinson Political editor

    The man most people think of when they think about the Lib Dems and the economy is refusing to be part of the plot.

     
  199.  
    0906:

    Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Nick Clegg played down any ideas of a split between himself and Vince Cable over economic policy. He said Mr Cable had "made it clear he supports" the coalition's strategy. The business secretary will make his own speech to conference at around 12:30 BST.

     
  200.  
    0903:

    A notable absentee from the economy debate will be Business Secretary Vince Cable, who will not take part and may not even vote on the motion. It has been reported that he favours reaching a compromise with party activists who are calling for a change of policy. In recent days, Mr Cable has raised concerns over the nature of the economic recovery, in particular that it might be at least partly based on a housing bubble.

     
  201.  
    0900:

    Good morning and welcome to live coverage of the Liberal Democrat conference. The day starts with a debate on race equality and then conference will debate the economy, with leader Nick Clegg asking party members to back the coalition's fiscal strategy.

     

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