Labour Conference: Seen & heard

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The Independent Online
"Charlie is the youngest person ever to address a Labour conference. All I can say is, 'William Hague, eat your heart out." David Blunkett introducing Charlie Nobbs, an 11-year-old whose speech on his reading summer school beat Mr Hague, who addressed the Tory conference at 16, by five years.

Seen in the conference shop: Sets of mugs for pounds 17.50, each bearing one of Labour's five election pledges. But "Waiting lists will be shorter" has mysteriously become "Treat more NHS patients." (see picture opposite)

Labour's post-election euphoria was briefly dented by its failure to overturn a slim Tory majority in the Uxbridge by-election, so the news last night that a re-run of the general election fight in Winchester is "likely" will not be welcome.

The High Court is expected to announce on Monday that the contest must be staged again following months of controversy over the Liberal Democrats' two-vote victory.

Gerry Malone, a former Tory health minister, lost the seat to Liberal Democrat Mark Oaten by the narrowest recorded margin for a Westminster constituency on 1 May.

He took legal action, claiming some ballot papers had not been correctly stamped by the polling station staff, leading to some of his votes being disqualified.

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