Conference Day 3: New job replacing the Don, more meetings and speeches


Day three was another busy one in Brighton. Got a phone call from the whips office to confirm that I would be taking over from Don Foster MP as Lib Dem spokesperson for Sport, Culture and Media, following his appointment as a Local Government minister.

Don has been doing the job magnificently well for a long time. I praised him when he brought in new rules to encourage live music, and is known in arts, culture and media circles as a strong, pragmatic advocate for measure to strengthen these sectors.

He is less well-known for his work in the area of sport, although he was a strong advocate for the Olympics and the cultural programs connected to it. As anyone who has read this blog will know, I love my sport, and hope I can add value in that area.

I met for an hour with my colleagues in the Lords Tim Clement Jones and Jane Bonham Carter, and will be using the next couple of weeks to get up to speed on my new brief.

At lunchtime, I chaired and spoke at a fringe meeting for Kidscount, with Lord McNally and Jackie Pearcey. Jackie will be doing a gust blog on this fringe meeting in the next few days.

Other meetings included with the Mental Health Charity Mind; Macmillan; McCarthy and Stone  and First Group, when I pressed them about the jobs of staff transferred from Virgin. They promised no compulsory redundancies for front-line jobs, and extra trolley services in addition to the current refreshments.

My biggest complaint about Brighton is that I didn't get chance to see the City Vs Villa game. It wasn't on anywhere. Given the result, perhaps I'm glad I missed it!!


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