20/09/2016: Liberal Democrats Conference Daily Politics

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Afternoon folks and welcome to this Daily Politics Conference Special.


In 45 minutes, Tim Farron will deliver his big conference speech.


He'll hope to raise Lib Dem morale at the end of their long


We'll bring you that live and uninterrupted.


While Tim Farron's on his feet in Brighton, Theresa May will be


How will her message of an outward-looking post-Brexit


And should the Lib Dems do electoral pacts with other like-minded


We asked conference-goers to play ball.


Yes, it's a Daily Politics special to bring you live coverage


of the conference speech of the Liberal Democrat


He may only have eight MPs to show for the 2.4 million people who voted


But they're meeting for their annual conference not in a phone box -


as some of the crueller commentators have suggested -


but in Brighton, And Mr Farron, who's said he'd like to imitate


the Canadian Liberal leader and president Justin Trudeau,


is going to tell his party that he too can help the party


We're sure he didn't want any other comparisons to be drawn


with the international heartthrob Mr Trudeau.


And joining us to listen to the speech, one Lib Dem who knows


a bit about the party both in and out of power,


Polly Mackenzie - she worked for Nick Clegg in Downing Street


There's been a lot of talk about Liberal Democrats about recent


by-election wins. That smacks of a throwback to the past when that was


the only evidence the Lib Dems had of any popularity with voters? There


haven't been many general elections in the past year for them to measure


themselves against or Parliamentary contests, so in a way it's not


surprising the only thing that's happening in electoral politics is


things like membership numbers and local council by-elections. They are


seizing those opportunities. You are right it's not sufficient as a path


back to power but it's a start. Smacks of desperation? It's the only


thing going, better to do something than nothing. General election


aside, there were the London Mayoral elections, they pitted those as


something they would do well in and didn't. They came fourth and fifth.


Londoners are particularly challenging for Liberal Democrats


and it's never... Very pro-European? Exactly, it's because all the


parties adopt a centre Liberal narrative, the Conservatives are


liberal, the Labour Party is in London and that means there isn't


space for the Liberal Democrats, it's across the country where the


Liberal voice might have more of an opportunity. Apparently former MPs


like Vince Cable and others are on snap election alert. Is that wise?


It's possible there is going to be an election. Do you believe that? I


think that it's possible. It doesn't look particularly likely to me but


again better to be prepared and ready to campaign than in a mess


like the Labour Party is. So is that the sort of talk amongst Lib Dems


and should it be in your mind that they are poised to spring into


action and campaign in their former seats that they lost in the general


election on an issue, for instance, like a second referendum on the deal


for Brexit? I think Tim's started to set out a clear message which he


would put forward if there was a general election soon. If Theresa


May did decide to call an election, who knows what it would be about.


The noise is about grammar schools but I can't imagine her calling an


election on that. So actually focussing on the big issue of the


day which is Brexit and setting our our position on it makes sense to


me. Having been in power in coalition, how much has that damaged


on its own the Liberal Democrat brand for any chance of them


regaining some of the seats they lost? Well, I mean, it's pretty


obvious isn't it, they are down to eight seats and we paid a huge price


for the five years in power where we got to change the country in a whole


variety of ways in a way we spent 70 years of political capital on that


five years in power, I hope it doesn't take 70 years to get back


but it would be fool hardy to pretend the impact hasn't been


enormous. We have given away none of the above vote and it seems to be


lodged firmly with Ukip at the moment and that's heartbreaking for


me to see that kind of generic anyone but Labour or Conservatives


vote lodged with a party that I basically find abhorrent. What is


the strongest message for the Liberal Democrats now? The message


that Tim is really pushing is that he is the leader who can unite


parties around the centre-left and be the decent opposition to the


Conservatives. There isn't a decent position at the moment and actually


fining, as Theresa May develops as the Prime Minister, and stumbles,


there does need to be a voice. How can there be that position with the


MPs? Well, it's challenging. It would be easier... British


understatement isn't it? Jeremy Corbyn isn't doing a very good job


so there is a vacancy there for decent strong voices. It comes down


to ideas. A remarkable result at the next election say in 2020, a


remarkable result would be 20 Lib Dem seats from eight. I think


inlikely but remarkable if it happened? How could you be in


opposition with even 20 seats. It's nonsense isn't it? The question is,


can you start to tell a story of a different country and a future


narrative and a future approach to governing the country. But you are


right, like I said, it could be 70 years for the Liberal Democrats to


build up. Probably a generation isn't it? But actually, every


general election you double or triple your remit takes, you can see


a path back to 50-60 MPs as we were before. Things change in politics.


Do you think the very policies the Liberal Democrats as they see


themselves as the centre party of the political spectrum, that they'll


be rejected, they have been rejected in Brexit, some of the


internationalist views have been rejected by the electorate as they


have looked to Ukip or perhaps Jeremy Corbyn and the Conservatives,


that that space in the middle, although it's a gaping hole, is not


one that interests voters? Except remember the Brexit vote was 48-52.


There are a lot that share the views of the Liberal Democrats, 40% above


where the Lib Demes are doing in the polls at the moment so there is a


big market out there. You have to remember that Tim's objective at the


moment is to rebuild, as Andrew said, maybe to 20 or 30 seats or to


go beyond that. He's not trying to be a majority Government with 52% of


the vote. I don't understand, his policy that's most distinct at the


moment, is to have another referendum, to have a second


referendum on Europe once the Brexit deal is done. But his top target


seats are North Devon, St Ives, North Cornwall, Yeovil. Do you want


me to tell you the majorities of Brexit in these constituencies? Go


on then? Huge. 60-40 in some cases. How does that work? Again it's


nonsense. How can you take that position and target seats which are


overwhelmingly Euro-sceptic? It's a question of bringing together the


strong local campaigning, the increasing disenfranchisement people


will have with the Government of the day, and also I think what we'll see


in Tim's speech is him starting to build other policies to come around


that, to talking about education and health. We have seen announcements


there. To build a clearer narrative about an opposition. Can we agree


that calling for another referendum won't help? OK.


On that point, we agree. We'll move on.


I think it's fair to say that the number of journalists


at the seaside with the Lib Dems is smaller than it has


But after an exhaustive search, we've found two brave souls who have


travelled to Brighton to listen to Mr Farron -


it's Matt Chorley from the Times and Kate McCann from the Telegraph.


Set the scene for us, Matt Chorley, what is it like down there?


A bit drizzly. Some came down hoping for a bit of sunshine. It's not a


weather forecast I'm looking for, it's a political forecast? Yeah... I


mean, as ever with the Lib Dems, they are relentlessly optimistic


about the future, it's all going to be all right in tend, as it has


been, the time through the coalition, they said it was going to


be all right in the end. We know what happened. They are still


optimistic in politics, they think it's going to be all right. Kate,


how do you take it? Certainly quieter than it has been in previous


years and I think Tim Farron has a challenge with his speech this


morning to get people revved up for the year ahead. There should be a


few interesting things he's going to say about National Health Service


and the schools. He's probably going to make an appeal to Labour voters.


So that could be worth watching out for. Do you think anybody is


listening? That's the big problem isn't it. 8%


of the polls now, theynded 2010 at 8% after all the tuition fees stuff,


left Government at 8% and are still there. It seems no matter what they


do, change of leader, being out of Government, relentlily pro-European,


it doesn't make any difference. Nobody else seems to be listening.


They are still 8% and Tim Farron is working harder in trying to change


that with increasingly bold language, taking on issues that


maybe other political parties wouldn't. Whether that is putting up


taxes, legalising cannabis or appealing to the Labour moderates,


if you like, but the big problem is, we are here, but it's whether anyone


else is. Isn't the problem that they face


Kate, that you have got, the Labour moving further to the left, lots of


unhappy centrist Labour MPs and, on the Conservative side centrist Tory


MPs unhappy about the Brexit vote, they wanted to stay in. Mr Farron is


presenting himself as a centries or moderate centre left, strongly


pro-EU, but nobody wants to hug him, nobody's hugged him? Well, I mean,


maybe it's still early days and Tim Farron is hoping he can make an


impression in the coming months when things become a bit more stark


perhaps. You don't sound very convinced by that? Well, I hate to


make predictions given what's happened recently. I wouldn't want


to put my money on any particular outcome but what I will say is if


Jeremy Corbyn is elected on Saturday, the choice for some Labour


voters will become very stark very quickly and I think Tim Farron is


hoping that if he continues to make a clear message and appeal to the


voters that he is the way to go, that could shift opinions and


perhaps he might have time to do that if Theresa May is determined


not to call an election until 2020. But Matt Chorley, is there any


evidence, any indication that disillusioned centrists on either of


the two main parties are thinking of hugging Tim Farron? No. Bluntly. The


problem is you are absolutely right. There is this huge area in the


political sector which has opened up for something to try and appeal to


both voters and MPs in that area. The problem is the Lib Dems aren't


being seen as the vehicle on that. There's only 8 of them in the House


of Commons so things need to be pretty bad for disaffected Labour MP


and they are bad for a lot of Labour MPs on the benches. To give up the


position of being in the region of 200 or something, to move across


that dead corner in the House of Commons where there's only 8, you


have to be fed up to do that. That is the problem, if there were 3020


or 30 left, there might be more appeal there. As a vehicle for that,


that is the big problem -- 20 or 30. Kate, there is a poll in the London


Evening Standard today, Jo will be talking more about that later, but


it shows that the party itself is six or seven points in the polls now


single figures still. And it also shows Mr Farron's own personal


ratings have flatlined since he became leader, that he has made no


cut through, no impact, as of yet on the British public? That's true. I


wonder how long it might take before we see the Lib Dems start to ask if


Tim Farron might be the problem. I hate to say it minutes before the


big speech, but Nick Clegg... It's the alternative option that's


probably the worse. You never know, Nick Clegg may come back, there was


Clegg mania, nobody saw that coming, maybe he might come back if he were


interested in taking up that position again. We'll have to leave


it there. But Matt Chorley, you do this thing called red box or blue


box or something is that right? Red box, that's right. And usual giving


away mugs. I mean, the sheer rip-off of the Daily Politics! Are you not


ashamed of yourself? These are nice mugs. Should be ashamed of yourself.


These are very expensive. I'm reaching out to disaffected Daily


Express mug fans. You are not going to sell many then!


-- Daily Politics mug fans. Thanks for your time this afternoon


and remember, folks, there's only one real thing when it comes to


muggings. Mugs. Same thing? ! Former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown


raised a few eyebrows earlier this week when he suggested that parties


on the left should agree on one candidate to take


on the Conservatives in the Witney So what did party members


in Brighton make of Eleanor Garnier's taken


the moodbox to find out. The general election might be a few


years away but there is a certain But should they just


be one candidate Should the other


parties do a deal or no Oh, look, Nick Clegg


is doing a book signing. In Witney, do you think there should


be a deal between the other parties or just one party,


one candidate going up against the You would have to ask the


leader that. No deal, I think we


can win on our own. We don't need anybody else


to differ, we hope we can win Witney and will


fight as hard as we can. Because otherwise we


are very unlikely to unseat them, and there is more


That we agree on land don't agree If it was one candidate


and it was our candidate then yes. But on the basis it will not


probably be that arrangement and the Labour


Party wouldn't stand for it, then it I know, its ballot


rigging, I got caught in Because I think it's an opportunity


to begin to kind of focus and go We are quite capable


of making a big impact in We were involved in the Eastleigh


by-election and I remember most of the motorways up and down


the country being jammed with I don't think Labour


is very competitive, so I would be happy for them


to stand and lose. I think the progressive


parties should work together for a common cause,


belief in Europe and belief in We have made it to the end


of the Nick Clegg book signing Let's go downstairs


and find some more people. Can we ask you a very


quick question? Should all the other


parties do a deal or no Here you go, help


yourself to a ball. I'm convinced we have a Lib Dem,


strongly, to stand against whoever the Tories put up and I hope


the people will vote for them and show what they think


of this government 's. I'm a great believer


in democracy and democracy means all the parties should


stand a candidate 's. After that exhausting lap


of the Lib Dem conference, the I think there is a programme called


deal or no Deal... I'm joined now from Norwich


by the Shadow Defence He's a Labour MP keen on the idea


of more co-operation You are firmly behind this idea of


cooperating with the Liberal Democrats, for example in the seat


of Witney? It's something I have given some thought to. It's not for


me to make that decision. What do you think? I think the idea of


Progressive parties working together and coming together to work on


issues they agree with has a lot of merit and it's something I'm


interested in. It seems a bit show businesslike, in terms of taking on


David Cameron, there is some merit in it but I think it's a bit


short-sighted. I think the whole concept of Progressive Alliance is a


longer term thing than one by-election standing against David


Cameron. As delightful as it would be to see the Tories beaten in that


seat. Do you think it would work in Witney? I think it's a very short


time frame to cobble together a candidate on which everyone can


agree. In Tatton you had a candidate everyone realised was the right


person for that particular seat, taking on Neil Hamilton. I don't


know if you will find that kind of Parliamentary candidate in time.


Putting aside Witney, how would it work in other seats in the longer


term, who would stand for whom? I think what you're trying to do here


is talking about some of electoral pact. That's exactly what it is. A


lot of work has to be done on this. If that was the case then it is


something all progressive political parties would need to talk about.


Another issue here, the concept of what you would stand on. The key


issues I think most progressive parties, including Ukip, which isn't


a Progressive party, would agree on, is that we need to change the


electoral system to a proportional representation system. If you make


that the key thing around which you focus your general election


campaign, we all believe that you need PR, get over the first past the


post line, and then initiate proportional representation and call


another elections. There are lots of options but we need to start the


discussion. We are starting it here on the programme. Polly can enter


into this. On that basis, if the goal was changing the electoral


system, for example, would it be worth it going in with Clive Lewis


and his party? I don't disagree with anything Clive Lewis has said,


really. I have long thought proportional representation, a


change to our voting system would be a tremendous change for our


democracy. We had a referendum on a voting system change in 2011. It


wasn't PR, but the idea you can bring together a Progressive


Alliance and win a majority on the basis of delivering proportional


representation is a bit ambitious. Clive Lewis, what did you want to


say? I think political parties would stand on a manifesto other than just


PR. But one thing they could all agree on is that if they get past


the first past the post system and get in, then PR would be the big


thing we would instigate and then you could potentially call another


election based on PR and go your separate ways or call alliances as


you see fit. All political parties would have on manifesto but they


would have that running through them. Chopping up who gets what, it


feels like a shady backroom deal, precisely what we are trying to


abolish. No. It's a challenge and nobly has put forward an answer to


solve that conundrum. Clive Lewis is in a seat in Norwich South which is


quite precarious, stuffed with Green Party and Liberal Democrat voters.


In terms of a Progressive Alliance, it's not simply about what's in the


interest of one particular party. We all understand that having a


political system, a voting system that gives people a real say... You


have said that. Ultimately that's what this is about and what it comes


down to. This can't be a top-down, we will tell our local parties how


they were going to... Would you step aside in your seat to allow a


Liberal Democrat or green, for example, to stand on common themes


you agreed with in order to keep the seat from the Tories? I have thought


long and hard about this. If there was an electoral pact and a


Progressive Alliance where it was the difference between actually


having a voting system that enabled our democracy to have a better form


of governance, then yes I would. When you look at at how the little


Democrats are polling at the moment, any chance to win a seat for a


Progressive Alliance left would be a good thing. Yes, and Clive shows


great honour in his willingness to put himself forward. But what we


have found is that the most tribal people in the country other


political party activists and in the end they deliver the candidates. So


getting people to stand aside would be a big challenge. The worst place


to start would be Witney, where however many parties you bring


together, they would lose. Clive Lewis, which proposal do you back


for the Shadow Cabinet elections, should they be elected by MPs, you


and your peers, or a hybrid? It's not my decision. But you will have a


view. I expressed it yesterday. It will be made by the NEC later today.


I personally think if you are going to have a system of electing a


Shadow Cabinet, it needs to be part of a wider package of democratic


reforms in our party. I think part of that could be how we engage the


membership and affiliates in that process and also the MPs, everybody


should have a stake. And also the leader. You do like the hybrid? I do


prefer that, yes. That's all you had to say! Thank you for coming onto


the programme. News coming in from New York as we


have been on air, relatives of the man apprehended for the bombings in


New York left the country before the bombings. His wife left for Pakistan


but was apprehended in the United Arab Emirates before she got to


Pakistan. The mother had left for turkey before the attacks and hasn't


yet returned. She left several weeks before and hasn't yet return to the


United States. That will be part of the ongoing enquiry by the New York


police and federal authorities. Now, the Lib Dems yesterday voted


to back a policy of calling for a second referendum on the terms


of the Brexit deal. Not everyone's happy -


Vince Cable warned that such a move But the plan is supported by other


senior Liberal Democrats, It's not the first time Mr Cable


and Mr Clegg have disagreed. I think under pressure


from their more swivel-eyed backbenchers, under pressure


from the, sort of, Brexit press, under pressure from their own


internal contradictions, they will move remorselessly


towards a hard Brexit. Not only taking us out


of the European Union, but taking us And when they do that,


they will do untold damage They will undo an extraordinary


British achievement, the creation of the world's largest


borderless marketplace anywhere. And at that point they can never say


again, having done so much damage to our great country


because of their obsession about Europe, they can never again


say that they are a responsible And we're joined now from Brighton


by the Liberal Democrat's Home Affairs Spokesman,


Alistair Carmichael. Welcome to the programme. Did the


Lib Dems propose a second referendum during the referendum campaign? No,


we didn't. During the referendum campaign we were out there front and


centre making the case to remain part of the European Union. We now


have to respond to the results presented to us, and our response is


to say that looking at what happened, you had a contest between


two propositions. A known one, what we have if we remain, and an


unknown, what would happen if we were to leave. It's difficult to


make a decision between a known and an unknown. We are now in a position


where we are going to have the negotiation and from that we will


have a deal. Then we have two known propositions. We say not


disrespectful to the voters, just the opposite, it gives voters the


final say, having voted for departure, is this the destination


you wanted to wanted to go to? You knew that during the referendum


campaign, that it would be the situation. You knew there wasn't a


detailed plan and it would have to be negotiated. But you didn't tell


us there would be a second referendum. You have only come for a


replay because you lost the first time. No, what we have said is that


the people have spoken, 17 million people gave a mandate to the British


government to go and negotiate. That's now what has to happen. They


have to negotiate in good faith and get the best possible deal. At the


end of that deal, it should then be put to the people. I think there is


an important national interest at play here. By their nature,


referendums are fairly divisive and polarising exercises. If we are to


bring the whole country back together again, I think it's


important that everybody, whether you are in the 48 or 52%, can be


satisfied that the country is getting what it expected to get, and


for that reason, a referendum on the deal is important. You describe


referendums as polarising and divisive. I remind you that the


Liberal Democrats were the first National party to propose an in-out


referendum in the first place. At one stage it was your party policy.


When he proposed that, did you propose a second referendum on the


outcome? We have always said the issue of Europe and the future of


our position in the European Union was a grumbling saw in British


politics and it was going to have to be addressed at some point. Ideally,


probably Margaret Thatcher should have put the single European act


in... My question was, when he proposed a referendum, did you


propose a second referendum on the terms of the negotiation? Of course


we didn't and you know that perfectly well. Why not if it's a


good idea now? Let me explain, when you are presented with a particular


set of circumstances and a particular set of facts, then I


think it's perfectly legitimate and appropriate that a political party


should respond to that. I think that's what the British people


expect, and I have absolutely no shame in doing exactly that. I think


it's responsible politics which ultimately will bring our position


on the world stage back to where it needs to be. When will this


referendum take place? Once we know the terms of the deal. Theresa May


and her ministers, Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, David Davis, after the go


and negotiate with the other member states, give the clearest possible


detail of the future relationship with the European Union and once we


know what that means, at that stage we should have the second vote. It


could possibly be a couple of years down the line. This is why Theresa


May at the moment keeps saying Brexit means Brexit. Frankly, as


soon as she tries to give any more detail on that, does it mean in or


out of the single market, does it mean hard breaks it, a free movement


of labour and goods? She knows there are enormous splits in her own


party. I'm asking you about the timetable because it will probably


take the full two years allowed under article 50 to do what would be


a complicated negotiation. At the end of that two years, we are out,


that's article 50. So what's the point of your referendum? Will you


ask all of Europe to delay us leaving until you've had your


referendum? If you look at the terms of Article


50 it's short and general in its terms. I don't think this is


something that's going to be a governed entirely by the law. It's a


question where ultimately the deciding and decisive factors will


be political rather than legal. Excuse me to suspend Article 50...


To keep... Alastair Carmichael. Yes. To suspend Article 50 beyond two


years, you need all 27 members to agree, you need them all. Yes.


Otherwise you can't have your referendum. Do you agree with that?


Absolutely. We know that there is a time limit on Article 50, that is


something that will have to be in the mind of Theresa May and her


negotiating team. I'm not saying this this is some kind of panacea


and I'm not saying it will be easy. What I am saying is there is an


extestential crisis for the European, a project for which I


remain passionate. I'm of the view it's essential for our country to be


at the heart of Europe and I think that it's important for that reason


that we should be clear as a country that if we are going to leave, then


we should be in a position of knowing exactly the terms of which


we are leaving, that's not the case at the moment. You really think the


other 27 members of the European Union are going to spend hours, days


and weeks of negotiating terms on exit on something that will change


our mind I've never heard anybody in the European Union say they want


Britain to leave. I've never encountered anything other than


utter bewilderment. But they have said now that we should get on with


it. If we made this part of our negotiating approach to the European


Union then yes I believe they'll cooperate with us. I believe it's in


the interests of the European Union that Britain should be in there as


well. Have you asked anyone? Have you asked my members of the European


Union if they'll go along with the second referendum idea? I'm no


longer a Government minister, it's not for me to conduct the


negotiations. I was just asking if you'd sounded them out? No, I've not


approached it. I have no... You have no idea... You know perfectly well.


It's something, we are at the start of it, it's a long negotiation


process, I think it's the sort of thing the Government should be


bottoming out. You just said earlier you were passionate about Europe and


Europe was in an extestential crisis. Why are you passionate about


something that's in an extestential crisis? I'm passionate about the


idea that, since the end of the Second World War, cooperation


amongst European nations, principally through the European,


but also through other organisations like the Council of Europe and NATO,


has kept us at peace. You know, and I think we underestimate the impact


of that at our peril. Why is it in extestential crisis then? It's in


extestential crisis because you see that across Europe a number of


political forces on the far right especially have been emboldened by


what they see as being behind the vote in Britain to leave the


European Union. I think that's possibly the intended


consequence. Hold on, madam Le Pen was riding high in the polls before


the Brexit vote. The five star movement was riding high here before


the Brexit vote. The centre right party in Greece had been wiped out


before the Brexit vote. The hard right in Hungary had taken power


before Brexit and the right-wing mainstream non-Government, Poland


had taken power before the Brexit vote and the Sweden democrats, a


hard-right party were polling third in Sweden before the Brexit vote. So


I don't understand why you get the idea that... At no point. You


misrepresent what I said. At no point did I say that the whole


process had been Nish Jayed but it has certainly been emboldened --


initiated. I don't think anybody would dispute that. Thank you very


much for joining us. We'll see what Mr Farron has to say. We haven't got


long to wait. The hall will no doubt be filling up and queues will be


forming outside. It's filled up in fact as Tim Farron is due to take to


the stage. They have been boasting they have got enough members to fill


the hall. Tim Farron was elected as leader, promising a Lib Dem fight


back, so is there any sign of one? at the 2015 General Election -


winning just 8% of the vote. Since then the party has


made little progress The party did gain 49 seats however


in the English local elections - better than the Tories and Labour


who both lost seats. The party may be worried however


by the findings of a YouGov survey for Newsnight


to be broadcast tonight. It found seven out of 10 former


Lib Dem voters are uncertain what the party stands for,


with 32% saying they 65% of British adults have no


opinion on the question of whether he's doing well


or badly as Leader. We are joined by our guest Joe who's


done the poll with Newsnight. What is your overall take away? There's


good news and bad news. Three quarters of those people who voted


for the Lib Dems in 2010 but didn't in 2015 don't support them now say


they would vote for the Lib Dems potentially at some stage in the


future and yes, we have seen in local by-elections that things have


improved, the membership numbers are up. That's all good news, but there


is bad news as well. Really people are uncertain, it doesn't matter


whether we are talking about the general public or Lib Dem


supporters, people are uncertain what they stand for or what they


should stand for indeed. Should they be an opposition to Government,


campaigning to stay in the EU, playing a role in Government? Among


their supporters, there is no real decision either way on that. If you


want to stage this fightback, you need to turn in the era of social


media to the leader and two thirds of the public don't know when he's


doing a good or bad job, including half of Lib Dem voters and even a


third of Lib Dem supporters, they don't know whether he's doing a good


or bad job. It doesn't help if you don't have a big Parliamentary base,


you might not get the air time that you would get in a bigger party. In


terms of people don't know what they stand for, is this message about a


second referendum on the Brexit not cutting through? It doesn't appear


to be at the moment. Generally speaking, it falls along the lines


of the vote, but even a third of people who voted to remain say there


shouldn't be a second referendum so there is not an overwhelming desire


and, among Lib Dem voters, two thirds voted to stay, but a third


voted to leave. It's not the case that overoverwhelmingly they were...


Listening to that interview, is that the right way to go for the Lib


Dems, to tie themselves and try to define themselves of a part of the


48% who voted to remain in the EU? It's distinctive and appeals in


particular to the huge number of Labour voters who voted to remain


and who aren't really represented by their current leader who knows how


he voted. I think as Andrew's interview with Alastair showed, it's


a messy, complicated policy, but of course the status quo is messy and


complicated too because we have a Government trying to negotiate with


really no mandate about what it is that they are supposed to get except


that it must be out. But even on that, it's not getting any traction


in the polls, so is it still a policy that they should be following


if it's not gaining any track sthun? I think it takes time for any


message to get through. It's a fairly clear one though? But most


people don't pay attention to politics most of the time and so you


have to actually just keep saying the same thing a lot until people


listen. Why would the Europeans, in the two years of negotiations, give


us Anything if they knew there was


going to be a referendum? Tactically if you want us to remain in, that


might be helpful, they might be offering such a terrible deal that


when compared with staying in it would feel better. If you if they


made it seem like coming out would have been palatable, the UN's tactic


would surely be, no, this is going to be miserable, you can't have


access to the single market, we insist on free movement, why would


they give us anything if they knew another vote was come something?


Gull if you want us to remain. But you are negotiating a deal to leave,


not to remain? The Government is, but of course if Tim Farron was in


charge he'd be voting to stay. On the same terms as now. The problem


it seems on this issue is that if there was a second referendum there


would be more uncertainty and from your polling people don't want that?


Not at the moment but there is no alternative options set out at the


moment so it's a potential area for leadership but you can't lead if


no-one knows what you stand for. So, Tim Farron will get to his feet


in just a few minutes now. Before he makes that


big conference speech, let's just remind ourselves


of what the Lib Dem leader has been We paid a heavy price


for our time in government, The Lib Dem leader has just been to


see the migrant crisis first-hand. Tim Farron has got his first


question to the Prime Minister Will he agree with the Save


the Children plea that we take as a country 3000 vulnerable


unaccompanied children in Europe, some of whom are


as young as six? He may have lied to have influenced


the election, but today Alistair Carmichael was cleared


of breaking the law. However irritating


the honourable gentleman... LAUGHTER ..May be to government


backbenchers, he has I am fantastically grateful to you,


Mr Speaker. # Jump to the beat


of the party line... The decision taken in 1975 by this


country to join the Common I am, frankly, utterly


gutted and heartbroken. The way my teacher told me


to do it, is imagine We were talking about the polls, the


Lib Dems trying to redefine themselves post-re-election. What


are the views about their legacy, if anything, in Government? The general


public and among their lost supporters, there's really no


overwhelming view one way or the other about whether it was good, bad


or whether they had influence or not. 85% of the current supporters


believe that actually they were good and they did have a positive


influence on Government so it's quite a difference between the old


and the new. Right, so the old supporters of the Liberal Democrats


thought they didn't make much difference at all, Polly, that must


be a bit of a blow to those left? It is and I think it's perfectly


obvious that during the years in coalition we didn't effectively tell


the story about the impact we were having and the problem is that now


the Liberal Democrats have left Government and the Conservative


Party did then lurch off to the right and take us out of Europe and


do all sorts of disastrous things and basically mess up the country,


we are too small to be heard saying "I told you so", plus of course I


told you so has never been the most effective political campaign state.


Straight over to Brighton. There is Mr Farron taking to the stage. He's


only been leader for one year. This is his second address at a


conference and he'll be hoping to reassure them and cut through to the


wider public and give himself a bigger profile with voters in


January. He begins.


Thank you very much. You might have worked this out for yourselves, but


I'm now the longest serving leader of a UK wide but vertical party! I


have seen off all the heavyweights, Cameron, Farage, Natalie Bennett!


Roy Hodgson. Mel and Sue. Liberal Democrats are good at lots of


things. The thing that we are best that is con founding expectations.


We were expected to shy away from taking power, but we stepped up and


we made a difference. We were expected to disappear after the 20


15th election but we bounced back and are almost twice the size we


were then. I have been doing a bit of


confounding expectations myself. You see, I am a white, nor


working-class, middle-aged bloke. According to polling experts, I


should have voted to leave. May I assure you that I didn't. But mates


of mine did, people in my family did. I spent most of my adult life,


working and raising a family and West Midlands. I am massively proud


-- in Westmorland. But I was born a few miles south in Preston. I was


raised in a family with not much money around, at a time when it


seemed to me the Thatcher government was determined to put every adult I


knew out of work and on the scrapheap. But our people and our


community were not for breaking. The great city of Preston is a


no-nonsense place, proud of its history and ambitious about its


future. It's the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, it is the


place where Cromwell won the most important battle in the English


Civil War, the complacent establishment stuffed by the


outsiders. And that links rather neatly, I'm afraid, to the


referendum. Preston voted 53% to leave. Some places in Lancashire two


thirds of people voted out. I respect those people. If you forgive


me, they are my people. If they will forgive me, I'm still utterly


convinced Britain should remain in Europe. APPLAUSE


I was convinced on the 23rd of June. I am today. I will continue to be.


Not because I'm some starry eyed pro-European with Ode to Joy as my


ring tone. We all know what I have is my ring tone. But I'm a patriot.


We believe it's in our national interest to be in, for more jobs,


lower prices, stop climate change, catch terrorism, to stand tall and


to matter, and because I believe that Britain is an open, tolerant


country, the opposite of the bleak vision of Nigel Farage and Boris


Johnson. APPLAUSE Britain did not become Great Britain


on fear, isolation and division, and there is no country called Little


Britain. There is nothing so dangerous and narrow as nationalism


and cheap identity politics. But there is nothing wrong with


identity. I am very proud of mine. I'm a Lancastrian, a northerner, ie


in English, British, I am European, all of those things. None of them


contradict each other, and no campaign of lies and fear will rob


me of who I am. But we lost. We lost, didn't we? I


was born and raised in Preston, but the football mad half of my family


is from Blackburn, so I make Rovers fan. Defeat and disappointment is in


my blood! Those who say I'm a bad loser are quite wrong. I'm a great


loser, I've had loads of practice. But the referendum result to me was


like a bereavement. I was devastated, I am devastated. We


Liberal Democrats worked harder than anyone else in that campaign. We put


blood, sweat and tears into it. We put the positive case for Europe


while Cameron and Osborne churned out dry statistics, fear mongering


and shallow platitudes. It's easy to say after such a now world


referendum result that we are a divided and true. -- a narrow


referendum result. In ways we are, but a split between believers and


Remainers is a manifestation of that. Written today, has too much


wealth concentrated in some parts of the country and too little in


others. -- Britain today. A few weeks after the referendum I went


back to Preston and we booked Saint Wilfrid's Church Hall of the Fisher


gate for a public meeting. When my office booked the place they didn't


know it meant something quite deeply to me personally. The last time I


was in that church, I was therefore my grandmother's funeral ten years


ago. The last time I walked out of it was as a pallbearer. I was in a


reflective mood when I began the meeting. There were perhaps 70 or 80


people there. Most of them had voted to leave. Most of them pretty much


fitted my demographic. They weren't mostly diehards. I honestly reckon


about three quarters of them could have been persuaded to vote for


remain up until two or three weeks out. One guy said that the clincher


for him was George Osborne's punishment budget. When he said


that, pretty much the whole room chipped in and agreed. There was


near universal acknowledgement that this had been a pivotal moment. Here


was this guy, George Osborne, who they didn't really like, and who


they felt didn't really like them, and he appeared on the telly and


bullied them into doing something they weren't sure they wanted to do


and they reacted. If you base your political strategy on divide and


rule, don't be surprised if the people you have divided decides to


give you a kicking. So I don't blame the people in that church hall for


their anger. Actually, I share it. I am angry, and I'm angry at the


calculating forces of darkness who care nothing for the working people


of this country, nothing for our NHS, nothing for those who struggle


to get by, and exploited that anger to win an exit from Europe that will


hurt the poorest the hardest. APPLAUSE


The people in that church hall in Preston had voted differently to me,


but I thought, we are on the same side here. We see a London centric,


no, Westminster and Whitehall centric approach and the media


treating the provinces as alien places. Those people in Preston and


Sunderland see the divide between win and lose. When the country is


booming they do not see the benefit and when the country is declining


they are the first hit. At the meeting they talked about low wages,


poor housing, strained hospitals and schools. Their problems were not


caused by the European Union. They were caused by powerful people who


took them for granted. By politicians who have spent decades


chasing cheap headlines and short-term success for their own


political careers and never acting in a long-term interests of the


whole country. APPLAUSE So, those people in that room, like


millions of others, wanted, quite understandably, to give the powerful


a kicking, so they did. I wanted Britain to remain in the European


Union and I still do, but we have got to listen. To learn and


understand why millions of people voted to leave. We can't just tell


them they are wrong and stick our fingers in our ears. I wanted two


things, I want to persuade those who voted leave that we understand and


respect their reasons and we are determined to take head-on the


things about today's Britain that have left so many people feeling


ignored, and I want to give them their say over what comes next.


APPLAUSE So, Theresa May says Brexit means


Brexit. Well, thanks for clearing that up. Absolute genius. Nearly


three months since the referendum and we have a government with new


departments, new titles, a new Prime Minister, but no plan, no vision. No


clue, and no leadership. Theresa May did so little in the remain


campaign, that she actually made it look like Jeremy Corbyn pulled a


shift. And today, the absence of leadership from the Prime Minister


is astonishing. The absence of clarity as to what will happen to


our country is a disgrace. Three months on, it's not good enough to


have brainstorming sessions at Chequers while investment and jobs


steadily lead away. While our standing and relevance in the world


diminishes in direct proportion to the number of foreign visits by


Boris Johnson. While British industry is crying out for


direction, for certainty, for any idea of what lies ahead, make no


mistake, the Conservative Party has now lost the right to call itself


the party of business. It has lost the right to call itself the party


of the free market. APPLAUSE The Conservative Party no longer


supports business, no longer understands the need for calm,


economic pragmatism, but instead pursues the Nationalists,


protectionist fantasies of the Brexit fundamentalists who have won


the day. Our message to any business in this country large or small is


this. If you are backing today's Conservative Party, you are funding


your own funeral. APPLAUSE There is now only one party that


believes in British business, large and small, that believes in


entrepreneurship and innovation, and that is the Liberal Democrats. We


are the free market, free trade, pro-business party now. APPLAUSE


So, Theresa May, please tell us what Brexit really means. You've had


three months. You are the Prime Minister, stop dithering. What is


your plan? The Liberal Democrats have a plan. We know what we want,


and we know where we want to take our country. When Theresa May does


agree a deal with the European Union, we want the people to decide.


Not a rerun of the referendum, not a second referendum, but a referendum


on the terms of the as yet unknown Brexit deal. And if the Tories say,


we've had enough referendums, I would say, you started it! APPLAUSE


We had a democratic vote in June. We can't start this process with


democracy and end it with a stitch up. If we trusted the people to vote


for departure, then we must trust the people to vote for the


destination. Millions of people have not been


well served by generations of politicians who put their own


short-term political needs before the long-term interests of the


people they were supposed to be serving, and politics is about


service. David Cameron's handling of our relationship with Europe is a


masterclass in selfish, shallow short termism, party before country


at every turn. The Conservative Party risked our country's very


future and the life chances of millions of young people, all in a


failed attempt to unite their fractured party. David Cameron


risked our future and he lost. And while he waltzes off to riches and


retirement, our country is plunged into economic uncertainty,


insecurity and irrelevance on the world stage. The Tories took the


gamble but Britain will pay the price, what an absolute disgrace!


But their short termism does not stop with Brexit. Look at their


handling of the refugee crisis. The biggest crisis facing our continent


since the Second World War. They did nothing to help right until the


point that they thought it was in their short-term interest to act.


When the photograph of the body of three-year-old Alan Kurdi facedown


in the sand was on the front page of every newspaper. The people were


shocked and heartbroken and they demanded action. And the Tories did


bare minimum. But since then, the front pages have moved on and they


have barely lifted a finger. There are some on the centre-left who are


squeamish about patriotism. But not me. I am proud of my country, and I


hate it when my country makes me ashamed. When I was on the island of


Lesbos last year after we had helped to land a flimsy boat of desperate


refugees, I was handing out bottles of fresh water alongside other


volunteers. A few yards away was an aid worker from New Zealand who knew


I was a British politician. And she looked at me and she shouted, "Stop


handing out bottles of water and take some effing refugees because


that is how Britain is seen as not pulling its weight." That might not


bother some people, but it bothers me. Because I am proud of who we




I am proud of Britain. We are always a sanctuary for the desperate, the


abused and persecuted and I will not stand by and watch my country become


smaller, meaner and selfish. That is not Britain, we are better than




And a year on, a year on, the crisis is worse. It is not better. Not that


you would ever know it. We don't see those desperate families in the


media every day now. We aren't confronted so often with the


knowledge that they are just like us and that they need our help. Much to


the Government's delight, compassion fatigue's set in, the news has moved


on. We have had Brexit, a new Prime Minister, a Labour Leadership


contest and none of that maybes a blind bit of difference to a


nine-year-old kid stuck alone and hungry and cold in a camp in


northern Greece or to the family this morning fleeing their burning


camp. The Government wants us to forget this crisis, it's too


difficult to solve, too risky to take the lead, but we have not


forgotten, we'll not forget. Those children could be our children, how


dare the Government abandon them! APPLAUSE.


But short-termism in politics goes back a lot further than just this


Government. You've got to look at the way the Conservatives in the 80s


and Labour in the 90s treated the banks, sucking up, deregulating,


encouraging a culture of risk and greed. Instead of building an


economy that served the long-term needs of the whole country, they put


all their eggs in one basket - the banks. And for a while, things were


good for Britain, Britain boomed. But they didn't invest in modern


infrastructure that could benefit the North of England or Scotland or


Wales or the Midlands or the south-west. They didn't invest in


the skills the next generation would need. They didn't invest in our


manufacturing base. All they did was allow the banks to take bigger and


bigger risks, build up bigger and bigger lights. And when the banks


failed, we were all left paying the price in lower wages and less jobs,


cuts in Public Services. Short-term thinking, long-term consequences.


And nowhere is this danger posed more by short-term thinking greater


than with the future of our National Health Service.


Can you remember a time when there were not reports on the news almost


daily saying the National Health Service was in crisis? For years,


politicians have chosen to paper over the cracks rather than come


clean about what it will really take, what it will really cost, not


just the keep the NHS afloat, but to give people the care and the


treatment that they deserve and that means finally bringing the NHS and


social care together. APPLAUSE.


In my grandpa's journey through Alzheimer's, he had good care in the


home he spent his last couple of years in. But when he first became


ill, after the death of my grandma, the place he was put in was


despicable. Lonely, unclean, uncaring. I can still smell it now.


It's a few years back, but as I fought to get him out of that place


and into somewhere better, it occurred to me that this was a


standard experience for too many people and their loved ones. Maybe


some people can shrug and accept this, but I can't. I've seen enough


terrible old people's homes and enough people who've had to wait for


ever for treatment, particularly people who don't have someone to


fight their corner. It's not civilised to let people splip


through the net or to watch the people who go out of their way to


make their lives easier when everything else is making their


lives harder. It's not civilised and it's not good enough. I worry about


this, not just for the NHS in general, but if I'm honest, for


myself and for my family. We are, if we are lucky, going to grow old. We


know no matter what happens we'll be cared for with dignity and respect.


William Beverage writen the blueprint saying that when people


are living to the ages they are today, there is no doubt he would


have proposed a national health and care service. He would have been


appalled about the child who has to look at their disabled parent or the


thousands of women across the country who're unable to work


because they are disproportionately care-gives. Let's today decide to do


what Beverage would do, let's create that national health and care


service. APPLAUSE.


And let's stop being complacent about our NHS. Of course, we have a


brilliant NHS, best staff in the world, free care at the point of


access, but we are spending far less on it every year than we need to. Of


the 15 original EU countries, including Spain, Greece and


Portugal, we rank behind them in 13th place when it comes to health


spending. It would take tens of billions of pounds a year just to


bring ourselves up to their average. It's not good enough. So we need to


face the truth. The hard truth. That the NHS needs more money, a lot more


money, not just to stop it lurching from crisis to crisis, but so that


it can meet the needs and challenges it will face in the years ahead, so


that it can be the service we all need for the long-term.


APPLAUSE. Now, that means having the most


frank and honest conversation about the NHS that the country has ever


had, what Beverage did for the 20th century we must do for the 21st


century. APPLAUSE.


And in Norman Lamb, we have THE politician who is most trusted and


respected by the health profession and deservedly so.


CHEERING AND APPLAUSE. And, Norman and I are clear, we are


not going to joining the ranks of those politicians who're too scared


of losing votes to face up to what really needs to be done. We will go


to the British people with the results of our Beverage Commission


and we'll offer a new deal for health and social care, honest about


the cost, bold about the solution and if the only way to fund a Health


Service that meets the needs of everyone is to raise taxes, Liberal


Democrats will raise taxes. APPLAUSE.


Short-term thinking is the scourge of our education system too.


Governments designed an education system, especially at primary school


level that is focussed, not on developing young people for further


life or study, but on getting them through the wrong kinds of tests.


It's not about whether kids can solve problems or converse in other


languages or even their own, it's about statistics, measurements,


league tables, instead of building an education system we have built a


quality assurance industry. It's no wonder so many teachers are


frustrateded, no wonder so many leave the profession, parents


deserve to know that their child's teacher is focussed on teaching.


Teachers are professionally undervalued, driven towards meeting


targets, instead of developing young minds and, as ever, it's the poorest


kids who suffer the most. APPLAUSE.


So in the last Government, we introduced a policy, a long-term


policy to try and help the poorest kids keep up with their better off


class mates, the pupil premium. This year, this school year, more than


two million children will benefit from that Liberal Democrat policy


and I am so proud. APPLAUSE.


I am so proud of that and I am so proud of Kirsty Williams who's


making a real difference every day to the lives of children across


Wales, the pupil premium is not safe in Tory hands but it's safe in


Kirsty's. What's more, she has doubled it. That is what happens


when you get into power. But we need to do so very much more.


I talk a lot about opportunity, about breaking down the barriers


that hold people back and nowhere is that more important than in


education. I want our schools to be places where our teachers have the


freedom to use their skill and their knowledge to open young minds, not


just train them to pass tests. I want them to be places where


children are inspired to learn, not stressed out by those tests. So I


want to end the current system of SATs in primary schools that are a


distraction from the real education, the professional teachers want to


give their children, that weigh heavily on children as young as six


and add nothing to the breadth of their learning. What are we doing


wasting our children's education and teacher's talents on ticking the


boxes. What are we doing in 2016? Threatening to relegate 80% of our


children to education Second Division by returning to the


11-plus. APPLAUSE.


I mean, every child wants to send their kids to a good school, every


parent wants their kid... You know what I mean. Every child wants their


parent to be sent to school - that's probably right in my case. But every


parent thinks the same too. But, you know, selective schools are not the


answer for either of us. We need better schools for all our children,


not just those who can pass an exam at the age of 11. We can't just


leave children behind. Over the last 40 years, millions of children, me


included back in the day, have been liberated by comprehensive education




Those kids probably including me, would have been Consigned to second


class status in a secondary modern and it's important for us to


remember who made that happen. It was Shirley Williams. It was Shirley


Williams. Let's be clear, let's be very clear. For us, defending


education for all is not just about being liberal, it's person. Shirley,


we will defend your legacy. APPLAUSE.


I mean, assessment is vital, exams are actually important, but let's


have assessment that leads to a love of learning and a breadth of


learning that is relevant to what children will need next at school


and in their future as adults. There is nothing more long-term than the


education of a child that stays with them for their entire life. So let's


end the box-ticking, let's teach our children and let's trust our


teachers. APPLAUSE.


Now, one thing you cannot accuse Jeremy Corbyn of is short-term


thinking. His lot have waited over 100 years for this. Finally they


have taken over the Labour Party and, like all good Marxists, they


have seized the means of production, they have even seized the nurseries


too. Opening branches of Momentum kids, otherwise known as child


labour. Or my particular favourite, Tiny Trots.


I mean, we shouldn't laugh. The Liberal Democrats have never had any


trouble with entryists, unless you include the Quakers. My problem with


Jeremy Corbyn is nothing personal. After all, I used to see him quite a


lot in the Blair years, he was always in the lobby.


LAUGHTER. But my problem with core someone


that for him, holding the Government to account is not a priority.


Winning elections is a distraction, unless it's his own leadership


election. It's baffling to see. The Labour Party argue about whether or


not they could even be trying to win the election. Can you imagine that?


The Liberals and Liberal Democrats spent decades out of power and then,


when the opportunity finally came, it incredibly difficult


circumstances, when the easiest thing in the world would have been


to walk away, we chose to take power because we knew the point of


politics is to put principles into action, to get things done, not just


to feel good, but to do good. So we took power and we got crushed so you


could forgive us for thinking twice about whether power is really worth


it. But of course it's worth it. Having


fine principles but no power is just turning your back some people who


need you the most, and letting someone else win the day. We have


huge crises in Britain today, in our NHS, the economy, in our


relationship with the rest of the world, we have a Tory government to


got less than a of the electorate supporting them at the last


election, a Prime Minister that nobody has elected plunging our


country into chaos. They spent a year going after the working poor,


refugees and junior doctors. And the Labour Party have been going for


each other. Instead of standing up to the Conservatives they were


sitting on the floor of half empty Virgin Trains. Maybe Jeremy Corbyn


thinks there are more important things than winning elections but


for millions of people desperate for an affordable home, a fair wage and


properly funded NHS, they can't wait. How dare the official


opposition abandon them. APPLAUSE Which ever party you support it at


the last election, we all know that Britain needs a decent and united


opposition. So if Corbyn's Labour has left the stage, then we will


take the stage. People say to me this is a great opportunity for the


Liberal Democrats, but this is more than opportunity, its duty. Britain


needs a strong opposition and the Liberal Democrats will be that


strong opposition. APPLAUSE Do you ever listened to these Labour


people arguing among themselves, throwing around the word Blairite as


if it's the most offensive insult. I hear some Carr momentum folk


referring to Gordon Brown as a Blairite! I'm pretty sure he's a


brown -- Brownite. I am not a Blairite. I was very proud to march


against his illegal invasion of Iraq, I was incredibly proud to


stand with Charles Kennedy, and I was incredibly proud this summer


when Charles' brave stance was vindicated in a Chilcot Report. I


was all so proud to be in the party that stood up against his


government's attempts to stamp on our civil liberties, from compulsory


ID cards, to 90 days detention without charge. And I was proud of


Vince Cable as he called out Tony Blair's government 's deregulation


of the banks. But there is more to Tony Blair's legacy than that. I


kind of see Tony Blair the way I see the Stone Roses. I preferred the


early work. Tony Blair's government gave us the national minimum wage.


It gave us working tax credits. It gave us NHS investment and a massive


school building programme. I disagreed with him a lot, but I will


not criticise him for those things. I admire him for those things. And I


respect him for believing that the point of being in politics is to get


stuff done. And you can only get stuff done if you win, otherwise you


are letting your opponent get stuff done instead. The crowd in Corbyn's


ranks like to talk in terms of loyalty and betrayal, but there is


no surer way to betray the people you represent and to let your


opponents win. So I believe in working across party


lines. I am prepared to work with people of all parties and none if it


will make people's lives better. But I couldn't work with Jeremy Corbyn,


because Jeremy Corbyn would never work with me. I wanted to work with


him during the referendum campaign, but he would not share a platform.


Splendid isolation was more important to him than joining the


fight to save our country. Labour is having its leadership contest in a


few days' time. Maybe Jeremy Corbyn will not be their leader, in which


case it will be Owen Smith. I don't know Owen Smith all that well. But


unlike Jeremy Corbyn, he's certainly on our side of the European debate.


So if Owen Smith wins, I want to make it very clear that I'm open to


working together. And there are others I could work with, too. There


is another contest happening out, you might have noticed, it's for the


chair of the home affairs select committee. It's an important post,


but with no offence, let's face it, it's kind of a retirement job. Among


the contenders are Yvette Cooper, Caroline Flint and Chuka Umunna.


These are Premier League people. Shouldn't that be the Labour


leadership contest? What are these people doing jostling for position


in a sideshow? They should be centre stage. The government need an


opposition and that means Progressives should be prepared to


put differences aside in order to hold them to account. APPLAUSE


But if Jeremy Corbyn does win, where does that leave us? A Conservative,


Brexit government, and without us to restrain them, they are showing


their true colours. Reckless, divisive, uncaring, prepared to risk


our future prosperity for their own short-term gain. And a Labour Party


that has forgotten the people it's there to stand up for. Hopelessly


divided, blatantly unfit for government with no plan for the


economy or their country, and led by a man obsessed with refighting the


battles of the past and ignoring the damage this government is doing to


our future. And therefore there is a hole in the centre of British


politics right now, a huge opportunity for a party that will


stand up for an open, tolerant and united Britain. There is a hole in


the centre of British politics right now for a rallying point, for people


who believe in the politics of reason, evidence and moderation, who


want fact, not fear, who want responsibility and not recklessness.


Who want to believe somebody is looking out for the long-term good


of our country. There is a hole in the centre of British politics right


now that is crying out to be filled by a real opposition, so we will


stand up to the Conservative Brexit government. If Labour will not be


the opposition Britain needs, then we will. APPLAUSE


And that, that is what we are fighting for. A Britain that is


open, tolerant and united. And we will only build that Britain if we


win. So here is my plan. We will dramatically rebuild our strength in


local government deliberately, passionately, effectively. Winning


council seat is our chance to shape, lead and serve our communities and


put liberalism into practice. Liberals believe in local


government, I believe in local government and every council seat


matters to me. My challenge to you is to pick a ward and win it. My


commitment to you is that I choose to build our party's revival on


victories in every council in this country. APPLAUSE


And my plan includes growing, continuing to grow our membership.


Our party has grown 80% in just 14 months. But that is merely a staging


post. We will continue to build a movement that can win at every


level. I will lead the Liberal Democrats as the only party


committed to Britain in Europe with a plan to let the people decide our


future in a referendum on the as yet nonexistent Tory Brexit deal. I will


lead the only party with a plan for our country's longer-term future,


green, healthy, well educated, outward looking, prosperous and


secure. I will build the open, United and tolerant party that can


be the opposition to this Conservative government. On NHS


underfunding, on divisive grammar schools, on attacks on British


business, I want the Liberal Democrats to be ready to fill the


gap where an official opposition to be. I want the Liberal Democrats to


be a strong, united opposition. APPLAUSE


I want us to be audacious, ambitious and accept the call of history. A


century ago, the Liberals lost touch with their purpose and voters and


Labour took their chance and became Britain's largest Progressive party.


Today I want us utterly ready and determined to take our chance as the


tectonic plates shift again. I do not accept the leadership of a party


so we can look on for the sidelines. I did it because our destiny is to


once again become one of the great parties of government. To be the


place where liberals and progressives of all kinds gather to


provide be strong opposition that this country needs. That is my plan


and I need you to join me to fight for it. Let's be clear... APPLAUSE


Let's be clear, we are talking about doing a Justin Trudeau. He is better


looking than me and he's got a tattoo. I can fix one of those


things if you insist. LAUGHTER I would not get into a boxing ring


with him, but I reckon I can have him in a fell race. But the point


is, Trudeau's liberals wept over an inadequate opposition to defeat a


right-wing Conservative government. -- leapt over. Do you fancy doing


that, because I do. You know what, there are some people who will say,


steady on, you only have eight MPs. Maybe for the time being some might


be sceptical about stealing gay Trudeau, but let's definitely agree


that we can and Ashdown to take this party from a handful of seats to


dozens of seats. -- sceptical about doing a Trudeau. Nobody believes,


whether boundary changes happen or not, that's Labour will gain a


single seat from the Tories. Mathematically, the SNP can only


take one seat off the Tories. But there are dozens of Tory seats in


our reach, which means the only thing standing between the


Conservatives and a majority at the next election is the revival of the


Liberal Democrats, so let's make it happen. APPLAUSE


And we have to make it happen. Because there is a new battle


emerging here and across the whole western world, between the forces of


tolerant liberalism and intolerant, close minded nationalism. Top of all


the things that oppressed me the morning after the referendum, --


that depressed me. Was seeing Nigel Farage. Here was a man who pandered


to our worst instincts, fear, suspicion of others, and he's not


alone. His victory was welcomed by Marine Le Pen in France, and


nationalists and populist all over Europe. In a few weeks he went from


standing in front of that odious breaking point poster, demonising


desperate refugees, to standing on a podium in Mississippi next Donald


Trump. Make no mistake, Farage's victory is becoming the government's


agenda. When the government talks about a hard Brexit, that's what


they mean, a Brexit that cuts as from our neighbours, no matter the


consequence for people's jobs and livelihoods. A Brexit at toys with


the lives of hard-working people who have made Britain their home, paid


their way, immerse themselves in our communities. Just more than a


million Brits have also made their homes on the continent. A Brexit


that will leave is poorer, weaker and less able to protect ourselves,


but we will not let Nigel Farage's vision for Britain win. To coin a


phrase, I want my country back. To people who support Labour who


look at the last election result and say, can I really take the risk of


backing the Liberal Democrats, let me be blunt with you. The risk is


for you to do nothing. In 20 years' time, we are going to all be asked


by our kids when our NHS, our school system, our unity, as a country, has


been impoverished by 20-odd years of Tory rule and when our economy's


been relegated, our green industry crashed and our status diminished


after two decades of isolation from Europe, we are going to be asked why


did you let that happen, what did you do to try and stop it. You might


explain, well we lost the referendum so we had to move on and live with


it. Or you might explain, well I was in the Labour Party. Momentum


destroyed it. But I couldn't bring myself to leave and back anybody


else. They'll look at you and say, why didn't you even try, why did you


let us limp out of Europe, why did you stick with a party that handed


the Conservatives unlimited power and you will know then that you


could have done something different, you could have joined us, you could


have fought back, you could have taken a risk because joining the


Liberal Democrats today, it is a risk, it is a big ask, but let me be


very clear, as we stand on the edge of those two horrific realities,


Brexit and a Tory stranglehold on Britain, the biggest risk is that


you don't join us. APPLAUSE.


Let's be absolutely certain of this reality. The only movement with the


desire and the potential to stop the calamity of Brexit and the tragedy


of a generation of Conservative majority rule is this movement, it


is the Liberal Democrats, so you can despair if you want and accept the


inevitability of a Tory Government for the next quarter of a century,


or you can recognise that the Liberal Democrats can prevent that


inevitability. That means you, it means us, together, together. We


must fight to keep Britain open, tolerant and united together. The


Liberal Democrats must be the real voice of opposition. Together, we


must win. Thank you. STUDIO: Tim Farron finishes his


second address as lead tore the Liberal Democrats Annual Conference.


He spoke for just over 45 minutes under 50, he said he was convinced


that despite the referendum, the UK should stay in the EU. He felt a


sense oaf bereavement when the result of the referendum on the 23rd


came through. He wants another referendum, once and if a deal a


done and he says that if the Tories claim we have too many referendums,


his answer is, you started it, to the Tories. There was a particularly


passionate part of his speech when he spoke about his experience on the


island of less boss and Greece, as the Syrian refugees were being


washed ashore -- -- Lesbos. There was a clear implication that Britain


should be doing more, particularly taking in more child refugees


fleeing Syria. Big chunk of the speech on the National Health


Service, indeed he wants a national health and care service yet to work


out how to pay for that, but it's a work in progress and they are


looking at various ways of taxing it. He's making his way through the


hall now, getting applause from the party faithful and the odd hug. I


said earlier nobody wants to hug Mr Farron, but of course that's only


true outside the Lib Dem hall, plenty of the faithle happy to hug.


He said the Lib Dems were a free market party which raised a few


eyebrows. Nobody's sure what that means. He also said this was a


country in chaos, again it's not quite clear what he means bicals


yous. He did say, probably in a pitch to mod Ralls Labour voters or


even MPs that although he'd been against Tony Blair on the Iraq war


and other things, he admired a number of the domestic reforms that


Mr Blair had done -- Moderals. There was praise for Tony Blair as regards


that, probably the only time Mr Blair will get any praise in this


Party Conference season of 2016. He said he wanted to work with other


parties, but he'd attempted that during the referendum and Mr Corbyn


had pushed him aside, couldn't find time to meet him. He talked about


doing a Trudeau which means you lead the party and go straight into being


a party of Government, which is what Trudeau Canadians have done, the


Canadian Liberals have been long experienced in modern times of


forming majority Governments which is not the case for the Liberal


Democrats in modern times. He then went on to target a number of Tory


seats. He Polly is still with us. What did you make of all that? You


got a really strong sense of Tim as a human being. He's a nice guy,


filled with emotion when talking about refugees, we heard a lot about


his background growing up in Preston in Lancashire about his nan,


grandpa, and he was clearly trying to communicate the sense that, he's


somebody you can trust, who is very, very likeable and that's pretty


absent actually amongst the other party's leaderships. He also went


out of his way to say that he understood. He talked about going to


this church in Preston where most of the people there had voted to leave


the European Union. He understood and he wanted, although he didn't


agree with them on that, he wanted to speak more for them. But it


wasn't quite clear which way he would do that. There is an identity


politics here that he's trying to communicate with those groups with.


He is a white working class northern bloke and he, you know, is trying to


build that narrative. He's trying to pull together a coalition here. As


you said, he's talked about being a free market leader, trying to pull


people who're disappointed by the Conservatives having now backing


Brexit away from the Conservative Party, trying to draw people away


from the Labour Party by talking about how much he respects some of


the Blair legacy and trying to reach into the working class northern vote


that the great disenfranchised people that we know backed Brexit.


He's identify add coalition of people that, if you can unite them,


will become a powerful electoral force. It involves the old Lib Dem


trick of trying to face both ways at once, that you are trying to get


disillusioned working class northern voters, probably Labour voters, you


are going to try to get Tory votes to win Tory seats, so you mentioned


the free market, the national health to try and get the northern Labour


votes and you are going to try to get other Labour votes in the south.


You are facing a number of ways. I mean he talked about the need for a


national health and care service and that would involve more tax. Yes.


But then he talks about being a free market party. What position did he


take today that was free market? Well, he talked about the importance


of free tread and the importance of remaining open to the European Union


and to other countries and making sure that we were able to grow as an


economy. But that is it, just free trade? Well, I think that's the most


relevant question when we are thinking about economic growth at


the moment given the context of Brexit. It makes sense to talk about


our stance on trade. Are the Lib Dems in favour of the TTIP deal with


the United States? I think it's a complicated deal. It's very much on


the rocks. Lots of Lib Dems have backed it, though we have also


talked about the need for scrutiny and a lot of detailed things


including protection for the NHS to make sure that our taxpayer funded


NHS isn't threatened. This comparison with the Canadians,


with Mr Trudeau, if you know anything about Canadian politics, it


doesn't hold, does it? I'm married to a Canadian. You will know it's


not right though. We were discussing whether Justin Trudeau is handsome


or not. He's not my taste. What I was meaning was, Trudeau first of


all, is a famous name in Canadian politics. That's true. Mr Trudeau's


party had been in power for big chunks of the post-war period. It


was one of the major parties of Government or of opposition, that's


not true of the Liberal Democrats. It is tr that Mr Trudeau's party


went into bad times, but nothing like the bad times the Lib Dems


faced, down to eight seats. As I say, if you know anything about


Canadian politics, the comparison doesn't hold up? As Tim said in his


speech, he knows that's incredibly ambitious. It's possible the dice


will fall that way and there will be an opportunity for complete


reversal. Under what circumstances would that happen? Never say never


in British politics, I never thought Brexit could happen and look what


happened to Labour in Scotland. It was surprising to see an entirely


dominated Labour. So the Lib Dems are going to replace the


Conservatives in the same way as the SNP has replaced Labour? I'm saying


there are opportunity force the Lib Demes to grow, but let's be clear,


what Tim said was, he knows that the Trudeau model is ambitious and what


he's looking for is steady growth like Ashdown, perhaps doubling or


trebling representations at the next election and hoping to grow from


there. He was very passionate about the


Syrian refugees, particularly the child refugees, he thinks we should


do more. Do we have any idea what his policy on immigration is? If t


European Union remaining free to Europe and being very open to


refugees, wanting to open up. Refugees, as you know, is not an


immigration policy, refugees is a different category, there's moral


and legal obligations on refugees which I think is what you were


saying we should meet. But on immigration, do we know what the Lib


Dem policy is? On Europe, I think it's pretty clear that the Lib Dems


would continue to back free movement. So no change there? No


change there. And when it comes to... And on non-EU? Lib Dems have


looked at the details of the policies the Conservatives have


implemented, including for example on allowing spouses to come and


consider that those are in fact too Draconian and if they are replicated


for EU migrants in a Brexit environment, they could be


incredibly damaging. Just to finish up on this, since he said he wanted


to speak particularly for the people in this church which he seemed to be


implying were northern working class people who'd voted against the EU or


for whom immigration is a huge issue, his response in speaking for


#24e78 them is to continue with the existing policy of free movement and


to be more liberal than we currently are on non-EU immigration. In what


way is that speaking for them? Lots of the concern about immigration is


associated with pressure on Public Services. When you talk to people


about it. Tim's making a big pitch for major investment in the NHS. So


not changing the numbers, they could grow? No, but making sure that the


Public Services grow to meet demand in a way that I think they haven't


been able to. OK.


We're joined now from Brighton by the Lib Dem president, Sal Brinton.


Welcome to the Daily Politics. Give us your thoughts on the speech. Hi,


Jo. It was inspirational. Tim has actually found a really strong voice


about the role of the Liberal Democrats in the future, the place


of the Liberal Democrats in politics today and absolutely been clear


that, as Labour leave the place of opposition and the centre ground,


that's exactly the place that we are going to take. Right. What makes you


or Tim Farron think that the Liberal Democrats can be the official


opposition with just eight MPs? Because our eight MPs are pulling an


enormous amount of weight and the real problem, Jo, is not what we are


doing, but people like Norman Lamb are making considerable impacts.


He's well respected in the NHS on issues throughout Parliament and the


wider world. It's about Labour abdicating their responsibility.


There is a vacuum. Tim is saying, we may be few in number in the Commons


we are much larger in the country and we are going to step up to the


challenge. Who is listening to you? We are going to fight. But who is


listening? Which voters are listening and in what way is Tim


Farron cutting through to the wider public?


We are beginning to see that already. We have by-election


victories, increase in membership sinks the referendum with people


making it clear they have come to Tim and the Liberal Democrats


because we are open, pro-European, we are tolerant and what's more, we


are probably the only united party around at the moment. Although


Labour can boast the same sort of increase in numbers if not more in


terms of membership. How long do you think it would take for you to get


back to the position you were in in terms of numbers of MPs pre-2015?


Anything is possible at future elections. Of course anything is


possible, but... Tim was making the point, we are not going to jump


straight back up into the high 60s, but we can look at dozens, possibly


more, if other parties fracture. By 2020? More importantly, as Tim


says... Jo, if we are the only party who is going to be fighting for


investment in the NHS, for tackling this real problem about the division


between health and social care that is absolutely dire at the moment,


nobody else is stepping into that field. We have been talking about


investment. Norman Lamb's commission is absolutely going to give a clear


agenda about how it's going to happen, the Liberal Democrats are


leading it and we will, if necessary, show where the extra


investment's got to come to make that happen. You think that


policy... The Liberal Democrats know that's a major issue for members of


public. The current state of the NHS is absolutely vital to most voters


and we are the only people who have a plan. OK, you have got evidence to


show that the public is broadly in favour of paying higher taxes,


Norman Lamb couldn't give me the exact figure but certainly a penny


on national insurance to pay for the extra investment?


One of the reasons he couldn't give the exact figure is because the


commission hasn't concluded its work. When that is done, what we are


saying is, if it requires extra investment and if it has to come


through taxation, we as the Liberal Democrats need to make that


investment. What's more, we hear from an awful lot of people that


they would be prepared to pay a bit more in income tax to save the NHS.


Tim Farron said in his speech that we are the free market, pro-trade


business party now, are you advocating free trade in the NHS?


No, not in the sense that the Conservatives mean. The free market


was Tim talking about the single market. One of the great concerns


the business world has had since the referendum is the Conservatives just


walking away from the interests of business and the market in this


country. It's very interesting that a senior businesswoman, Nicola


Horlick, has joined the Liberal Democrats following Liam Fox's


comments about business people being fat and lazy. We are very clear that


Britain's businesses have benefited enormously from the single market


and already trade elsewhere in the world and we will continue to


support them in that. We recognise the importance to business to


continuing trading in the European Union. You say you are the


pro-business party and Tim Farron said the Prime Minister and


conservative government has plunged our country into chaos. What the


chaos, where is it? The chaos of, will we have a single market or not?


Will we have free movement of labour or not? That's not chaos, it's a


discussion. No, it's chaos. We have a large international firms saying


that if they are not sure if there will be a signal market, that they


want to retain businesses in the UK. Japanese car manufacturers,


businesses in the city saying they are considering moving. That is the


chaos now. But there are no figures or economic data, how does the chaos


manifested itself there? It's too early for economic data, it's only


three months since we left, however, we are continuing to get employment


and productivity data. The moment to have large manufacturing industry


saying that if Britain is going to remove itself from Europe, we will


move our European HQ from Britain to Europe, that means we are likely to


lose hundreds of thousands of jobs in this country. Until the


manufacturers see exactly what the Brexit plans are from the


government, but they are beginning to warm us up there is a problem. We


are the only party still fighting for the single market and to have a


place in it. It's vital for our business and foreign businesses


based here to have access to that European single market. Tim Farron


said it was the referendum and Conservative short termism that has


landed the country in the chaos he talks about, but you want a second


referendum, despite the fact you now think they are a bad idea. Part of


the problem with the last referendum was that there was no detail on what


was exactly going to happen. As we know, there were a lot of untruths


and a lot of people that were absolutely nothing to do with the


referendum used by the Leave campaign. Yes, people voted to


leave, and Tim and the Lib Dems are clear we do not want a rerun that


referendum. We have agreed as a country to get on the train to


depart, but we do not yet have a destination. Tim is right that the


detail of that destination is critical. It may be that there are a


large number of people in this country who will say the cost is too


high if we lose hundreds of thousands of jobs because we will


lose the single market, but we don't know because Theresa May will not


tell us. Sal Brinton in Brighton, thank you. A big day for the Liberal


Democrats in Brighton. An even bigger day in New York taking place.


The UN and world leaders are gathering for their annual September


gathering. Barack Obama has been speaking. Theresa May will also be


speaking for the first time to the United Nations.


Let's talk to the BBC's deputy political editor Jon Pienaar,


he's at the United Nations in New York.


Bring us up to date over what's happening. The Prime Minister, in a


couple of hours' time, will be on the floor of the UN General


Assembly, making her debut speech. The message of the speech will be


the message that has been pressed home in meeting after meeting with


President and Prime Minister and President and Prime Minister. It's


like diplomatic speed dating. The thrust of this is the Prime Minister


coming here to tell world leaders that because Britain is leaving the


European Union doesn't mean Britain is giving up its role as a global


player. Britain still meeting its target for international aid, still


meeting targets for spending on defence. It still playing a role as


a big global player. The question mark over how that carries on after


Brexit will be on everyone's mind. I'm sure there will be great


interest among global leaders and their advisers around them over what


Brexit will actually mean. They will be asking Theresa May about that. I


suppose that she hasn't been able to tell us, and I assume therefore that


she doesn't have much new to tell them. She may have an idea of where


this is going, but she can't know. This will be hammered out over


countless meetings with other leaders at prime ministerial and


cabinet and official level. Endless meetings at that level between


endless countries, not just in the European Union, on how trading deals


will work in the future. It's a horse trading game. It's barely even


begun. We know at this stage it will not be easy. We also know there are


quite powerful voices in the European Union who believe it


shouldn't be made easier, it should be made as hard as possible. The


Slovakian leader has said it should be as painful for Britain as


possible to send the message to the rest of the European Union, that


it's cold out there. When the Prime Minister comes into the cheap seats


at the back of the plane, this was put to her, and she said they would


get a deal they would all signed. We don't know what that deal will be


like. That idea is in Theresa May's mind. Still a lot of haggling to go.


The theme of this particular General Assembly has a lot to do with the


number of refugees in the world, displaced peoples, millions of


people on the move in various parts of the world, not least in the


Middle East, heading into Greece and Italy. Mrs May's message on that is


quite, how can I put it, unsympathetic? I wouldn't


necessarily say unsympathetic. There was something of a lesson about what


Theresa May was saying when she was addressing the wider world and


setting out how she sees the migration crisis. For one thing,


asserting every country including Britain has the right to police and


control its own border. It was like saying, hands off, we will deal with


our own borders, don't tell us who to let in. They don't need to be


told it's a very serious crisis, about 65 million people displaced


from their homes, more than the population of the UK. A lot of


countries out there like Germany and others, are feeling the sharp end of


this. Theresa May saying that we have to to get together to work out


a plan, but perhaps spending money on the borders of conflict zones,


not letting them sweep across Europe. If we let them move, let


them go to the first country and stay there. A lot of people might


like that to be the case, but some might not take kindly to being


lectured by Britain. John Pienaar outside the United Nations in New


York. Thank you for joining us. Now, what did activists


watching Tim Farron's speech Most of the delegates have rushed


off to the train station to get home, but three of them promised to


talk to me. Carroll, Stephen and Ellie. Karen, what did you make of


Tim Farron's speech? I think it's one of the best he has made as


leader. It was passionate and to the point. Very, very good. Stephen,


what did you make of the big appeal to moderate Labour voters, praising


Tony Blair. Did that sit comfortably with you? It felt very comfortable.


A large portion of the population voted for Tony Blair in the glory


days of 1997 and have felt abandoned. Labour has left the field


and talking to themselves and there is an open field out their words


voters desperately want an open, tolerant and united party and he


gave that speech wonderfully. Everybody feeling positive. Ellie,


was there anything in there that appealed to you directly? Tim Farron


talked about the NHS and scrapping Cammack sat test that rhyme is good.


to you? -- scrapping Sats tests. The way he's defending it, refugees,


willing to defend them, and there's a party willing to defend them, that


resonated with me. A message that Tim Farron trying to get out about


having a second referendum. Is that a difficult message, because people


might feel it is not respectful of the way people voted in the first


place. It's a difficult situation, I accept, but we have to be proud that


our party has believed it's in the best interest of the country. 48% of


the population voted for it. The 52% were lied to and we need to be very


clear that it's in the interests of our country to stay in and we will


stand for that. As you go away from the conference after your day here,


membership is up and everybody feels pretty positive, there is still a


big challenge. It's a big challenge for the party but I'm sure it's one


Tim and the rest of the party will rise to. Membership going up so high


was amazing after the referendum. It shows that people are looking to the


Liberal Democrats to take lead. Thank you for staying. We better let


these people rush off to the trains to get home. Would it be fair on


domestic policy to sum up Tim Farron's speech that he and the Lib


Dems are now the heirs to Tony Blair? I think that's what he's


trying to say. The great stuff that Tony Blair and the 97 Labour


government did on workers' rights and public service investment, we


need some of that again. Will that cut through? Is it a rich seam to


mine? I think it works as a particular message in the


Westminster bubble. Tim is trying to communicate something to Labour MPs


and activists who are feeling disenfranchised by Corbynistas. At


some point for the centre-left to win again it has to stop talking


about Tony Blair and talk about the future. Thank you to Polly for


talking to us. This might be overshadowed by breaking news in the


United States, a number of reports saying Angelina Jolie filing for


divorce from Brad Pitt. I can see from the look in your eyes it's a


big story. That's all from our coverage of Tim Farron's party


conference speech. We will be back at midday tomorrow. I will be back


on Thursday. Join us if you can. We better check on that story. It's


interesting. You see clips of a pile of bricks


causing anger in a gallery and a pickled shark


floating in a tank.


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