Conference Diary: Home tax plans - fruit and nut, or full of holes?

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Indy Politics

"St" Vince Cable might have been expected to enjoy a leisurely lunch after telling the conference how Britain's economic mess could be sorted out. Instead he was dispatched to the press room to sort out his party's plans to tax owners of homes worth more than £1m. Vince was clutching a bar of Cadbury's chocolate dairy milk for sustenance. Perhaps fruit and nut would have been more appropriate. Or an Aero – full of holes.

Nuclear alert

Does Radio City in Liverpool know something we don't? Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Jeremy Browne was lost for words when he was challenged in a phone-in over the party's commitment to scrapping a replacement for the Trident missile system. Didn't we need atomic weapons, he was asked, because Britain would otherwise be powerless to deter a French attack?

Ripple effect

Communities spokeswoman Julia Goldsworthy got into hot water earlier this year over a £1,000 expenses claim for a rocking chair. Now she is in cold water in her hotel room (almost). She checked in to discover a water bed. When she pulled back the covers they apparently "rippled gently".


Party leaders are under orders not to speculate over who they would get into bed with in the event of a hung parliament. But the footsoldiers are not so coy. A BBC survey of Lib Dem councillors found 31 per cent believed Nick Clegg should be prepared to form a coalition with Labour. Only 16 per cent backed an alliance with the Tories.

Silence is golden... or yellow

Who says the Lib Dems have nothing new to say? A plastic yellow "freedom of speech" stool stood empty outside the jamboree for much of the day.

Good day

Ed Davey, the foreign affairs spokesman, won cheers and applause with a crowd-pleasing attack on the US involvement in rendition of terrorist suspects.

Bad day

It should have been a routine meeting with journalists for chief of staff Danny Alexander. But as he tried to talk through the day's agenda, he could not answer a series of queries on the new tax plans.

Quote of the day

"I hate the dirty cheating bastards who have taken every opportunity to fill their private pockets with public money. I despise them" – Euro MP Chris Davies doesn't mince his words about politicians who fiddle expenses.

Today's agenda

Morning: Debate on mini-manifesto A Fresh Start for Britain.

Afternoon: Speech by Chris Huhne, home affairs spokesman; debate on climate change; Q&A on the economy.