Conference blog: Chilled out in Bournemouth

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

BBC political correspondent James Landale has attracted a small crowd of onlookers as he reports live from the Lib Dem party conference in Bournemouth.

It is a little oasis of excitement in the conference centre.

All in all it’s pretty chilled out here. It is sunny and warm enough tor there to be topless boys playing frisbee on the beach.

There is minimal security compared to the Labour and Conservative conferences, and the place has a half empty feel – though many people are at the various fringe meetings being held in and around the centre.

Despite polls that indicate that a third of party members are unhappy with Nick Clegg’s leadership, the talk in the bars and cafes is about Labour and Gordon Brown.

The next election will be a serious test for the Libs, with a resurgent Tory party threatening some of their most senior MPs, but they are bullish about taking on the Conservatives and retaining their position.

This evening Stonewall, the leading gay rights group, will host a fringe meeting.

Anyone can attend the event, from 6 to 8pm in the Wessex Hotel Bournemouth, which will be chaired by Jen Yockney of Lib Dem gay group DELGA.

Lynne Featherstone, the party’s equality spokesperson, will be joined by Lord Rennard, chief executive of the Lib Dems and all round liberal guru, Sarah Ludford MEP and Stonewall’s Ben Summerskill.

Lord Rennard’s presence is an indication that DELGA wants to improve relations with the Lib Dem hierarchy.