Conference Diary: Just a joke, Evan

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Indy Politics

Stephen Gilbert, MP for St Austell and Newquay, appeared to drop a bombshell as he congratulated colleague and would-be male model Evan Harris on being the "first out Lib Dem Member of Parliament". The comment was not as surprising as it seemed. Just a joke about Dr Harris's championing of equality issues.

Socks give the game away

Lib Dems daring to attend the Conservative conference in two weeks' time are sniffing out ways to steer clear of hostile elements. One insider will be examining feet to work out which Tories share his views on Europe. "If they wear socks in a bright primary colour, they're Eurosceptics," he said. "If they're wearing a pair with a softer tone, like a Ken Clarke mauve, they're Europhiles. It's very useful."

Julia goes schmoozing

When Julia Goldsworthy lost her Camborne and Redruth seat by 66 votes in May, all assumed it was a huge setback to her career. Yet the 32-year-old has been a ubiquitous figure in Liverpool, briefing for Danny Alexander and becoming schmoozer-in-chief at late-night parties.

Quiet at the back, please

Some feared civil war had broken out as a Lib Dem minister could be heard trying to shout down party favourite Simon Hughes. That's how it seemed as the voice of Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne boomed from the back of the hall. It turned out to be an unfortunately-timed TV interview and he was hushed by annoyed listeners.

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