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28 September 2012

The weekly WHIP: 28 September 2012

Liberal Democrat party conference

Following the early skirmishes from the Green Party and UKIP, the party conference season kicked off in earnest this week in Brighton with the Liberal Democrat's annual shindig.

Sombre economic times called for sombre speeches although Danny Alexander tried for some laughs from the conference hall. Even Tim Farron, party president and entertainer in chief reined in the rhetoric, in part to stem speculation that he was after the top job.

Nick Clegg gave the party a lesson in colour palates in his key note address and tried to banish suggestions his time leading the party might be drawing to a close.

Government review of betting shop machines

News came out of Brighton that the Government are planning on hauling back the money-making machines that prompt bookies to open new shops on any available street corner. While a parliamentary committee suggested removing the cap of four machines per shop, reports suggest the Prime Minister might back Liberal Democrat minister Don Foster's plan to lower the stakes to £2 per play.

This is a good thing. The fixed odd betting machines that are only allowed in bookies, can currently take thousands of pounds an hour out of your pocket, and councils, despite not always wanting more to open, find they are unable to say no.

David Cameron on Letterman … and playing tennis

David Cameron went stateside this week for vital meetings and television appearances, only to be met with rumours which baffled No 10 that he had snubbed Obama's call for a final set of tennis.

Before the glitz and glamour, and the forgetfulness over Magna Carta and Rule Britannia, Cameron defended British commitment to increased spending on international development (£) and lambasted China and Russia for their intransigence on Syria.


The Church of England got new media savvy for the final meeting of the Crown Nominations Commission who will recommend to the Prime Minister who should become the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury. The hashtag was used and promoted to encourage prayer for the two day meeting. The Guardian even built a nifty interactive feature that let you choose your very own primate.