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The Conference agenda – media roundup

August 17, 2012 11:52 AM

By Mary Reid in Liberal Democrat Voice

Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats
AgendaThe agenda for Autumn Conference has been online for five days, and has already attracted attention from the media. It is instructive to see which stories are picked up by whom.

The Guardian focuses on the Housing Policy paper under the headline: Liberal Democrats propose major housebuilding programme.

The Independent homes in on the motion proposed by Danny Alexander on 'Generating Growth and Jobs in a Time of Austerity': Liberal Democrats slam Osborne over green policies.

Our opposition to airport expansion, and the motion from Watford, are also of interest to the Independent: Lib Dems to oppose South East airport expansion plans. This is also picked up by the BBC, by ITN.

The motion from Dover and Deal calling for a standard 20mph speed limit in residential areas has generated a flurry of articles. The Telegraph, under the headline Liberal Democrats call for 20mph speed limit in residential areas, highlights opposition from the AA. The Mirror, in its article Slash speed limit: Lib Dems to call for all 30mph zones to be cut to 20mph claims that motoring organisations have 'slammed' the plans, though it only quotes the AA.

The Telegraph draws attention to the motion titled 'Good Food Shouldn't Cost the Earth' which proposes, amongst many other suggestions, that there should be a consultation on taxing sugary drinks: Tax fizzy drinks to combat childhood obesity, suggest Lib Dems

The Daily Mail, as we all know, tends to interpret any independent thinking on the part of Liberal Democrats as a threat to the Coalition, hence its headline Lib Dems will use conference to attack Tories over secret justice and green policies in move that could widen Coalition rift

It picks three 'contentious' issues: a motion calling for the complete ban on secret courts, the elements of Danny Alexander's motion that focus on green policies and a motion on assisted dying. However it claims that the proposal for a levy on plastic bags (also in the 'Good Food Shouldn't Cost the Earth' motion) follows the paper's own Banish the Bag campaign.

Inevitably, the motion from Croydon on Lords Reform (or lack of it) features. BBC: Lords U-turn on agenda at Lib Dem party conference

Almost all the media outlets assume, or at least imply, that any motion placed on the agenda will be passed. Liberal Democrats must continue to explain that we are a democratic party and that policy is decided by the members on a free vote. Whilst some of the motions at Brighton restate core Liberal Democrat principles, and are likely to be carried overwhelmingly, most will be subject to amendment and some will be rejected by members.

* Mary Reid is one of the Day Editors on Lib Dem Voice.