Conference diary

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Indy Politics

VANISHING ACT

Once the tubbiest of Tony Blair's frontbench team, Ian McCartney has shrunk to a 32-inch waist. Since heart surgery a year ago he has embarked on a punishing schedule of careful eating and exercise. He boasts: "The doctors have ordered me to stop dieting."

START 'EM YOUNG

Labour conference starts in the cradle for some. Gordon Brown's son James, who was born in July, was spotted being carried by his mum around the conference circuit. He even has his own pass.

CARACAS MOVE?

Nothing splits as easily as a bunch of Labour lefties. They organised not one but two meetings at lunchtime yesterday, to show solidarity with Venezuela. One boasted the Venezuelan ambassador and Mayor Ken, the other was organised by awkward squad veterans John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn.

FRINGE OF THE DAY

The Independent's, as always, boasting a power combo of Harriet Harman, Charles Clarke, Peter Hain, Jack Straw and Alan Milburn.

GOOD DAY

John Reid, as research by US polling guru Frank Luntz puts him as the voters' favourite for Labour leader.

BAD DAY

Cherie Blair, whose reported "that's a lie" outburst wrecked what was supposed to be the most important statement of intent by the man likely to be the next PM.

TODAY'S AGENDA

am: Debates: environment; international affairs.

pm: Speech by Tony Blair.

On the fringe: 5.45pm Progress question time

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