Labour conference diary, Brighton 2013
Verbal battles over Damian McBride's memoirs escalated into actual fisticuffs yesterday, as the publisher of Gordon Brown's ex-spin doctor tussled with a protester during a live television interview. Iain Dale, of Biteback Publishing, ended up scuffling on Brighton seafront with Stuart Holmes to get the veteran campaigner's anti-nuclear banner out of shot. The barking of Mr Holmes's placard-wearing dog was audible to viewers as – out of shot – a frustrated Mr Dale grabbed the pensioner's rucksack and physically hauled him out of the way. Mr Dale said the protester – a familiar face to conference-goers for 30 years – was an "idiot".
An unlikely manifesto pledge from Ed Milband. In his major speech, he said: "If I become Prime Minister I won't take my shirt off in public. It isn't necessary, is it?" Two days in a row and Labour's top team have taken a swipe at David Cameron and pictures of him on holiday in Cornwall. Smirking to delegates, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls quipped a day earlier: "I just thought for a Prime Minister it was a surprisingly small towel." However, one audience member appeared distinctly unamused and a thin smile disappeared from the lips of Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper – Mr Balls's wife.
Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint has attacked climate change sceptics in the Conservative Party. Gary Streeter, Conservative MP for South West Devon, recently said more than half of all Tory MPs dismissed suggestions global warming is manmade. "And to the Tory backwoodsmen, understand this: clean energy is not the enemy, climate change is," she said to delegates.
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