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22 September 2010

Conference 2010 Lookahead | Wednesday 22 September

The who, when and where of the Lib Dem conference.

By Duncan Robinson

Look out for

At 12.20 today, business secretary Vince Cable will launch an aggressive attack on capitalism in his conference speech, calling it a system that “takes no prisoners and kills competition where it can”. Extracts from the speech have dominated today’s front pages, particularly Cable’s claim that he will shine “harsh light into the murky world of corporate behaviour”.

As the Lib Dem’s second-most recognisable MP, Cable’s criticism of capitalism could become one of the fundamental dividing lines between Lib Dem and Conservative policy. Uncomfortable with the more laissez-faire attitude of George Osborne and co, the Keynesian Cable’s critique will certainly be worth watching.

Signs of trouble

An emergency motion, scheduled for 9am, demands that Trident be brought into the Strategic Defence and Security Review. So far, the Lib Dem leadership have managed to kick the issue into touch, despite their manifesto pledge to say “no to the like-for-like replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system”. A recent survey highlighted discontent surrounding this policy. 40 per cent of Liberal Democrat Voice users wanted to have a different, cheaper nuclear system, while 57 per cent wanted to scrap nuclear weapons altogether. Just three per cent wanted to continue with current coalition policy. It’s an explosive issue for Lib Dem activists.

On the fringe

Liberal Democrat Voice are hosting a fringe event examining the lessons to be learned from the 2010 election. Led by Mark Pack and with a panel featuring the Lib Dem’s Campaigns and elections director, Duncan Hames MP and the former MP for Chesterfield, Paul Holmes, the discussion should be an interesting analysis of what went right and what went wrong in their 2010 campaign.

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Conference timetable

09:00 – 09:45 Emergency Motion: Trident
09:45 – 11:15 Party Business: Diversity
11:15 – 11:35 Speech: Lynne Featherstone MP
11:35 – 12:20 Question and Answer Session: Crime and Justice Issues
12:20 – 12:40 Speech: Vince Cable MP
14:30 – 14:50 Speech: Don Foster MP
14:50 – 15:35 Question and Answer Session: Liberal Democrat Cabinet Ministers
15:35 – 15:45 Formal Close of the Federal Conference by Baroness Scott of Needham Market