Tuesday at Lib Dem conference

Key points

  • Nick Clegg announced all infant school pupils in England would get free lunches from next September.
  • Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander addressed delegates.
  • Debates also took place on the NHS, Trident and domestic abuse.

Live text


  • Aiden James 
  • Justin Parkinson 

Last updated 18 September 2013


That ends our live coverage of a busy day at the Lib Dem conference. The big news was Nick Clegg's announcement that all infant school pupils in England would get free lunches from next September. The party also backed calls for a slimmed-down version of Trident. Business Secretary Vince Cable said the break-up of the coalition before 2015 was possible. And former leader Charles Kennedy accused some at the party gathering of lacking humour. We have less than a day to wait until Nick Clegg's end-of-conference speech on Wednesday. Will he have them laughing, while inspiring them for the year ahead? Please join us tomorrow to find out.


The final debate has wrapped up in the conference hall and delegates head to their fringe meetings and later to the Glee Club, an evening of drinking and singing which is a tradition at Lib Dem conferences.


One of the co-authors of the School Food Plan, Henry Dimbleby, tells the BBC he is sure that all three major parties would promise free school meals for all primary school children in their manifestos. The founder of Leon's restaurant chain says the announcement of free school meals for infants in England is "a massive step".

TWEET 1817

Emily Schwartz

tweets: "heard so much about this #ldconf "Glee Club" excited to see what they bring to the singing table. #politicalsongs?"


Labour responds to the free school meals announcement: "After three years of broken promises and empty words, people have come to judge the Lib Dems on what they do, not what they say. They talk about helping families but they have overseen massive reductions in childcare support; they talk about helping with school meals after supporting the Tories in scrapping Labour's plans to extend free meals for school kids. You can't trust a word the Lib Dems say."

TWEET 1748

Hull Labour MP Diana Johnson

tweets: "Labour pioneered universal free school meals in Hull eight years ago. Hull Lib Dems then axed the policy! More opportunism from Nick Clegg."


Alex Davies from Streatham in moving an amendment which would empower councils to restrict the number of betting shops in local communities. Present provisions just don't work, he says.


Back in the Lib Dem conference hall, communities minister Don Foster is opening the day's final debate, on high street gambling. He is calling for "specific planning permission" to be required before betting shops can be opened.

TWEET 1734

Further education body the Institute for Learning

tweets: "Great news! Students who receive free school meals at school will now have the same entitlement at college."

TWEET 1733

Labour activist Jilly Bermingham

tweets: Free Primary School Meals for ALL, but not Legal Aid, child benefit..... You just don't get it Nick #ldconf #saveukjustice