Jobs are the big theme of the Liberal Democrat conference. The four letters are writ large to underline how the party has helped create one million private sector jobs while in the coalition. In a film broadcast at the opening rally, senior Lib Dems talked of their first employment to underline the power of work. Cornwall MP Stephen Gilbert told the grassroots his was in a shop in St Austell that "sold cameras and guns".
Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne was unusually popular among delegates. The Taunton Deane MP, seen as on the right of the party, had defended migrant workers from eastern Europe, arguing they are simply enjoying the same rights as Britons who buy second homes in France. He was also angry Lib Dems had not been consulted about a Home Office billboard campaign saying: "Go home or face arrest."
But not everyone was winning over the hardcore. Asked about yesterday's poll in the Independent on Sunday, which showed that an overwhelming majority of Lib Dem activists would rather be in coalition with the Labour Party than the Conservatives, Yeovil MP David Laws said: "I have to say, I take these kinds of polls about what party members would like to do after the next general election with a bit of a pinch of salt."
Lib Dem President Tim Farron recalled how he was in Cornwall when Nick Clegg asked him to lead May's local election campaign. "I remember the call vividly," he told delegates. "I was in Bodmin canvassing with (North Cornwall MP) Dan Rogerson's mum and dad. Which was lucky because I needed a bit of wisdom. 'Don't touch it with a barge poll' they said." A game-changer? Steve and Pat Rogerson both won seats.
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