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Nick Clegg told members that while the controversial NHS Bill was not a Lib Dem Bill it was better because of the Lib Dems.
He delivered this speech just two hours after activists voted against the leadership line on the NHS reforms.
The Deputy Prime Minister also claimed that this months budget would help families during hard economic times, and emphasised the importance of green jobs, something which won the approval of North East MEP Fiona Hall .
Party members defied Nick Clegg and his ministerial colleagues by backing a 'rebel' amendment on the planned NHS changes.
In a close vote the party has now instructed Lib Dem peers not to back the Bill tomorrow in the Lords. Party President and Cumbrian MP Tim Farron was frank in his assessment.
Hundreds of Liberal Democrat party activists are gathering at the Sage in Gateshead. Their Spring Conference gets underway shortly with an opening rally, addressed by Nick Clegg and party president Tim Farron. The leadership is facing grassroots disquiet over the NHS reforms.
Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable MP, met with children from South Wellfield First School in Whitley Bay today for the launch of Newcastle ScienceFest. He told them how he used to be a scientist but turned to economics.
The Deputy Prime Minister is visiting a business in Sunderland this afternoon which plans to create more than three hundred jobs in the region. Nick Clegg will meet staff and apprentices at car parts manufacturer, Unipres UK.
The company has secured more than forty million pounds of private sector and Government investment through the Regional Growth Fund.
Latest ITV News reports
Deputy Prime Minister due to arrive for Lib Dem conference at the Sage on Tyneside