Daily Archives: September 16, 2011

Lib Dem conference 2010During much of last week, senior Lib Dems were frantically trying to finalise their agenda for next week’s conference. One of the major sticking points was a proposed motion on the health bill, brought by Richard Kemp, Lib Dem leader at the Local Government Assocation.

Such a motion caused a serious headache for the coalition at this year’s spring conference, when Lib Dem members voted against the health bill. On that occasion, the vote was a spur to the party leadership to push for significant changes to be made to the bill. But this time, with Nick Clegg having chalked up those amendments as a win for the Lib Dems, party elders are loath to revisit the issue once again.

The leadership thought it had found a workable compromise when it downgraded the motion, which would have to be voted on, to a Q&A session, with a general debate afterwards.  Kemp appealed, but was defeated and so that Q&A session will be held on Tuesday. Read more

Today our political editor George Parker has penned a feature which captures the newfound mood of pessimism in the Treasury and Downing Street. In it he explains how many government insiders are now admitting that many of the working assumptions are now looking increasingly optimistic.

Ministers are no longer taking for granted 1] a rapid economic recovery;  2] the sale of the bank stakes during this Parliament to raise tens of billions of pounds; and 3] the idea that the second half of the parliament would be all about “spending the proceeds of growth”. It is an assessment shared by others; Lord Mandelson, in the “Purple Book” – a Blairite pamphlet published this week – predicts that the economy will not be growing quickly even at the time of the next general election. Read more