Diary of the week

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Indy Politics

BEAUTY PARADE

As the party faithful awaited their leader's arrival, a series of pictures of the 63 Lib Dem MPs were flashed up on the big screens. Female delegates gave their loudest cheers of appreciation to unlikely sex symbols Ed Davey, Chris Huhne and Charles Kennedy.

MEMORY MAN

Colleagues hold Lord Rennard, the party's chief executive, in awe for his astonishing recall of obscure statistics. But he does have some help - he carries a hi-tech "memory stick" that he can plug it into any laptop computer and instantly call up every opinion poll over the past 20 years.

GOOD WEEK

Sir Menzies Campbell, who has finally established his credentials as leader after a shaky first six months in the job. He convincingly won a vote on his contentious tax plans and delivered a fighting end-of-conference speech.

MOST GRUELLING WEEK

The award has to go to Chris Huhne, below, the Lib Dems' hyperactive environment spokesman. His exhausted aides calculate that he delivered more than 20 speeches - five from the conference floor and 16 on the fringe.

BAD WEEK

Baroness Tonge has been summoned to explain comments that her party - along with the rest of the Western world - was "probably in the grip" of the pro-Israel lobby. She has form for infuriating the leadership over the Middle East. Charles Kennedy sacked her from his front bench after she said she did not condone suicide bombers, but would consider becoming one if she were Palestinian.

UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE WEEK

Sir Menzies Campbell, 65, remarking that his generation was entering "youthful middle age".

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