New Statesman events at Lib Dem conference 2013

The New Statesman will be heading to Glasgow to host a series of events and discussions during the Liberal Democrats autumn conference 2013.

The New Statesman will be at the Liberal Democrats autumn conference this year in Glasgow to host a series of events and round table discussions. Highlights include an "In conversation" session with Minister of State for Care and Support, and Lib Dem MP, Normal Lamb at the Glasgow Science Centre tomorrow evening, a discussions on aid and advocacy between Menzies Campbell, Simon Hughes and Medical Aid for Palestinians Chief Executive Tony Laurance on Monday afternoon and a talk with David Laws, Minister for Cabinet Office and Schools on Monday evening. All events are free to attend and open to the public.

There will also be a session with Lib Dem president Tim Farron, a possible future leader of the party, whose comments on Ed Miliband in this week's New Statesman were widely regarded as proof that coalition with Labour rather than the Tories after 2015 remains a distinct possibility. (The correlative came from Jeremy Browne in the same issue, a Lib Dem with less polite things to say about the Labour leader). 

A full list of NS events at the Lib Dem conference can be found below:

Liberal Democrat Part Conference 2013

 

Sunday the 15th of September 

 

 

Integration in an era of competition: Is it possible? 

Speakers: Rt Hon Paul Burstow MP

                  Chris Hopskin, Chief Executive, Foundation Trust Network

                  Professor Clare Bambra, Durham University 

Location: Clyde Suite, Glasgow Science Centre  

Time: 13:30-14:30 

 

What next for the criminal justice system?

Speakers: Lord McNally, Minister of State for Justice,

                  Steve Gillan, General Secretary, POA

                  Jerry Petherick, Managing Director – Custodial & Detention

                  - Services, G4S 

                  Tania Bassett, Napo Press, Parliament and Campaigns Officer

Location: Science Show Theatre, Glasgow Science Centre      

Time: 13:00-14:00  

Smart Grids: Is this the way of selling low carbon policy to skeptics?

Speakers: Stephen Gilbert MP, PPS to Rt. Hon Edward Davey MP

                  - Secretary of State for Climate Change  

                  Jim Sutherland, Scottish Power Energy Networks 

                  Dr. Hongjain Sun, Lecturer in Smart Grids, Durham University 

Location: Science Show Theatre, Glasgow Science Centre  

Time: 14:00-15:00

Norman Lamb MP in conversation with New Statesman

Speaker: Norman Lamb MP, Minister of State for Care and Support

Location: Science Show Theatre, Glasgow Science Centre  

Time: 18:15-19:15  

Monday the 16th of September

 

Home Front: the battle for a sustainable housing Market

(invite only)

Speakers: Rt. Hon Don Foster MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the

                  - Department of Communities and Local Goverment         

                  Stephen Gilbert MP, PPS to the Rt. Hon Edward Davey MP,

                  - Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change      

                  Lord Shipley          

                  Annette Brooke MP          

                  Lord Newby, Deputy Chief Whip 

Location: Clyde Suite, Glasgow Science Centre   

Time: 8.30-10:00

Innovation, what does the NHS need to do?

Speakers: Norman Lamb MP, Minister of State for Care and Support  

                  David Worskett, Chief Executive, NHS Partners Network

                  Professor Clare Bambra, Durham University 

Location: Science Show Theatre, Glasgow Science Centre     

Time: 10.30-11.30

Can aid be effective without advocacy? 

Speakers: Rt. Hon Sir Menzies Campbell MP

                  Rt. Hon Simon Hughes MP

                  Tony Laurance, Chief Executive, Medical Aid for Palestinians 

Location: Science Show Theatre, Glasgow Science Centre   

Time: 13:00-14:00

Endgames: The Lib Dems in the final phase of the coalition  

Speakers: Tim Farron MP, President of the Liberal Democrats  

                  Tavish Scott MSP      

                  Akash Paun, Fellow, Institute of Government  

                  Olly Grender, Deputy Chair, General Election Capmaign

Location:Clyde Suite, Science Show Theatre, Glasgow Science Centre     

Time: 18:00-19:00

David Laws MP in conversation with the New Statesman

Speaker: Rt Hon David Laws MP, Minister of State for Cabinet Office and Schools

Location: Science Show Theatre, Glasgow Science Centre     

Time: 19:00-20:00

Tuesday the 17th September

 

Will competition and choice open up the banking sector?

Speakers: Lord Newby, Government Chief Whip, Liberal Democrat Chief

                  - Whip, Treasury Spokesperson in the House of Lords

                  Adrian Kamellard, Chief Executive, Payments Council

                  Jeff Salway, Freelance Journalist      

                  Richard Lloyd, Executive Director, Which?

Location: Science Show Theatre, Glasgow Science Centre 

Time: 13:00-14:00    

Why invest in UK life sciences?

Speakers: Dr Julian Huppert MP

                  Andrew Powrie-Smith, Director ABPI, Scotland 

                  Mike Farrar, Chief Executive, NHS Confederation 

Location: Science Show Theatre, Glasgow Science Centre   

Time: 13:00-14:00

Tim Farron MP in conversation with New Statesman

Speaker: Tim Farron MP, President of the Liberal Democrats

Location: Science Show Theatre, Glasgow Science Centre 

Time: 18:15-19:15   

Is a cap on immigration a cap on growth?

Speakers: Rt. Hon Dr Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State, Business

                  - Innovation and Skills, President of the Board of Trade  

                  Mr. Neil Stevenson, Brand Executive Director, ACCA       

                  Dr. Adam Marshall, British Chamber of Commerce        

                  Professor Christian Dustmann

Location: Clyde Suite, Science Show Theatre, Glasgow Science Centre        

Time: 19:00-20:00

Nick Clegg's speech will close the conference on Wednesday 18 September. Photograph: Getty Images.
Photo: Getty
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Who will win in Stoke-on-Trent?

Labour are the favourites, but they could fall victim to a shock in the Midlands constituency.  

The resignation of Tristram Hunt as MP for Stoke-on-Central has triggered a by-election in the safe Labour seat of Stoke on Trent Central. That had Westminster speculating about the possibility of a victory for Ukip, which only intensified once Paul Nuttall, the party’s leader, was installed as the candidate.

If Nuttall’s message that the Labour Party has lost touch with its small-town and post-industrial heartlands is going to pay dividends at the ballot box, there can hardly be a better set of circumstances than this: the sitting MP has quit to take up a well-paid job in London, and although  the overwhelming majority of Labour MPs voted to block Brexit, the well-advertised divisions in that party over the vote should help Ukip.

But Labour started with a solid lead – it is always more useful to talk about percentages, not raw vote totals – of 16 points in 2015, with the two parties of the right effectively tied in second and third place. Just 33 votes separated Ukip in second from the third-placed Conservatives.

There was a possible – but narrow – path to victory for Ukip that involved swallowing up the Conservative vote, while Labour shed votes in three directions: to the Liberal Democrats, to Ukip, and to abstention.

But as I wrote at the start of the contest, Ukip were, in my view, overwritten in their chances of winning the seat. We talk a lot about Labour’s problem appealing to “aspirational” voters in Westminster, but less covered, and equally important, is Ukip’s aspiration problem.

For some people, a vote for Ukip is effectively a declaration that you live in a dump. You can have an interesting debate about whether it was particularly sympathetic of Ken Clarke to brand that party’s voters as “elderly male people who have had disappointing lives”, but that view is not just confined to pro-European Conservatives. A great number of people, in Stoke and elsewhere, who are sympathetic to Ukip’s positions on immigration, international development and the European Union also think that voting Ukip is for losers.

That always made making inroads into the Conservative vote harder than it looks. At the risk of looking very, very foolish in six days time, I found it difficult to imagine why Tory voters in Hanley would take the risk of voting Ukip. As I wrote when Nuttall announced his candidacy, the Conservatives were, in my view, a bigger threat to Labour than Ukip.

Under Theresa May, almost every move the party has made has been designed around making inroads into the Ukip vote and that part of the Labour vote that is sympathetic to Ukip. If the polls are to be believed, she’s succeeding nationally, though even on current polling, the Conservatives wouldn’t have enough to take Stoke on Trent Central.

Now Theresa May has made a visit to the constituency. Well, seeing as the government has a comfortable majority in the House of Commons, it’s not as if the Prime Minister needs to find time to visit the seat, particularly when there is another, easier battle down the road in the shape of the West Midlands mayoral election.

But one thing is certain: the Conservatives wouldn’t be sending May down if they thought that they were going to do worse than they did in 2015.

Parties can be wrong of course. The Conservatives knew that they had found a vulnerable spot in the last election as far as a Labour deal with the SNP was concerned. They thought that vulnerable spot was worth 15 to 20 seats. They gained 27 from the Liberal Democrats and a further eight from Labour.  Labour knew they would underperform public expectations and thought they’d end up with around 260 to 280 seats. They ended up with 232.

Nevertheless, Theresa May wouldn’t be coming down to Stoke if CCHQ thought that four days later, her party was going to finish fourth. And if the Conservatives don’t collapse, anyone betting on Ukip is liable to lose their shirt. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.