UK Politics

Lib Dem views: Clegg's conference speech

What did Lib Dem delegates make of Nick Clegg's leader's speech to conference - his first as deputy prime minister.


I thought it was a bravura performance and he worked hard to allay people's concerns. It is no secret that the party was not wholehearted in its support for the coalition agreement. We are a minority partner and we have to be realistic about that but we also have to show that we are able to bring something different and unique and not be prepared simply to be the fall guys of the Tories.


As a local councillor, anything giving more financial autonomy to a local level will make me happy. People wanted to be reassured that we are going to remain an independent force in government as we always have been. It seemed to go down well with people in the hall but I don't know about the people who did not come. It struck me what a personal journey he has been on. Five years ago he was not an MP and now he is deputy prime minister. It has been an astonishing personal journey and he has handled it with some grace.


The speech was very confident and self-assured. He struck the right tone about the challenging times the country is facing and the difficult choices ahead but also the distinct contribution that the Lib Dems are making. I accept that there have to be cuts but I am concerned about the impact it will have on the poorest. I heard what I wanted to hear about that in the speech.


He struck the right tone. It was never going to be a tribal speech in which people got up and waved the flag around and yet nothing changed on the ground. I think he gave us new confidence about our ability to retain our identity despite our being in coalition. The academies defeat was really embarrassing. He dealt with that in the speech but not satisfactorily, I felt. It is already happening and I don't think he can stop it.


I think it was quite positive. Today has really given us a boost. When we came to conference we were concerned about the coalition and its impact on the party and quite a lot of party members felt the same. But he reassured us that we will be able to keep our identity.


Obviously the main concern was the impact of the spending review. It was a difficult speech given that he was not able to give details of that and it might have been a very different speech in five weeks' time. He was never going to attack his coalition partners. He gave a flavour of the Lib Dem priorities he will push in government. I think that people felt that he looked like a deputy prime minister.

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