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Lib Dem conference gets underway in Bournemouth

The Liberal Democrats are holding their annual conference in Bournemouth.

The party suffered a crunching defeat in this year's general election.

This afternoon they'll vote on whether to scrap Britain's nuclear weapons. The party's new leader, Tim Farron, will make his big speech on Wednesday.


  1. Phil Hornby, Political Correspondent

Liberal Democrats start the long climb : Phil Hornby at the party conference in Bournemouth

Credit: ITV

It feels like an old-fashioned Lib Dem conference.

They're back beside the seaside on the south coast after too many years away - and they're no longer in power.

If they're honest, many of their activists prefer it that way.

They've come to Bournemouth after a disastrous general election which came hot on the heels of a disastrous European election.

They have just one MEP (Catherine Bearder who won in the south east by the skin of her teeth) and just 8 MPs (none at all in the Meridian region).

Tim Farron rallying the troops Credit: PA

The new leader Tim Farron certainly has his work cut out. He is an incurable optimist, which is just as well.

His problem will be getting his voice heard. He no longer has an automatic spot in Prime Minister's Questions: in the house of Commons, the third party is now the SNP. The Lib Dems' greatest fear is irrelevance.

He's hoping the election of Jeremy Corbyn will be the Lib Dems' salvation. The plan is that as Labour head ever leftwards, the Lib Dems can establish themselves as the true party of the centre (or centre-left as he would insist).

The party faithful Credit: PA

But everyone here knows it will be a long haul. Things aren't quite as bleak for the Lib Dems as they were back in 1990 (when victory in the Eastbourne by-election started them on the long, long road to recovery) but they do have a mountain to climb.

Maybe that's why they picked Tim Farron. His constituency is in the Lake District. He knows all about climbing mountains.

Plans for new 'super council' for east Dorset

Dorset's local authorities considering new super council Credit: ITV Meridian

The local authorities of Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole and East Dorset could merge to create a 'super council' under plans being considered.

A new single unitary authority would see all functions undertaken by the existing councils in these areas which it's claimed would see cost savings, more efficient services and reduced management.

If agreed, the new Council would be formed in April 2019, just ahead of the May local elections. It would serve a population of up to 487,000 residents, making it the eighth largest local authority in England.


Jeremy Corbyn to address TUC conference in Brighton

Jeremy Corbyn will Credit: PA

Jeremy Corbyn will address union members at the TUC conference in Brighton today.

Mr Corbyn, who was appointed leader of the Labour Party on Saturday, received the backing of many of the unions.

Today union members will hold debates on the Trade Union Bill, NHS and EU.

Mr Corbyn's appearance will be a warm up for his eagerly anticipated face off with David Cameron on Wednesday during Prime Minister's Questions.

How does the South view the election of Jeremy Corbyn?

There's been a major change at the top of our political landscape. The Labour Party has elected the left-leaning Jeremy Corbyn as its new head.

If you've been following the leadership process, it's a controversial move. However, tens of thousands of new members have joined the party since the announcement was made.

We've been gauging reaction from Labour politicians across the South. Rachel Hepworth reports.

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