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  • Who’s hot, who’s not: the winners and losers of party conference season

Who’s hot, who’s not: the winners and losers of party conference season

A good conference for…

Tom Watson The Labour MP, who was heavily involved in uncovering the phone hacking scandal at News International, came down hard on the culture of “corruption and criminality” in the Murdoch empire, to the delight of his party’s conference. Watson received a standing ovation – and a new position in the Shadow Cabinet – for his speech.

Boris Johnson The Mayor of London once again had no qualms in discussing his successes over the past year. Boris charmed the crowd as he defended his record in the capital city, having “introduced Oyster on the overground, brought in a new generation of open-platform buses and frozen council tax.”

Yvette Cooper The Shadow Home Secretary impressed her fellow Labour supporters with a passionate attack on the coalition’s policy on crime. Cooper argued that although the traditional Tory stance is tough on crime, this is not reflected in the decisions made by David Cameron, who is “still cutting the police and their powers” – even in light of the recent riots. Ed Balls’ less gaffe-prone wife is a rising star.

George Osborne Whilst the public welcome plans to freeze council tax and Standard and Poor’s reaffirm Britain’s AAA credit rating, Osborne’s speech received support across the Conservative Party, as colleagues reiterated his claim that “you can’t borrow your way out of a debt crisis.”

Vince Cable Once everyone’s favourite politician, Cable made quite a comeback having been caught on tape announcing his “war on Rupert Murdoch” earlier in the year. At this year’s conference he simply kept his head down, stuck to his straight-talking strategy, and won the support of the Liberal Democrats in Birmingham.

A bad conference for…

Ed Miliband The Labour leader had a distinctly average party conference. Although he was praised for pledging to lower the cap on tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000, NUS president Liam Burns argued that this is not nearly enough. A post-conference poll by ComRes revealed that only 24% of people see Miliband as a credible candidate for Prime Minister – 57% do not.

Nick Clegg The Lib Dem leader repeatedly reminded the audience of the hardships he has had to face over the past year. Clegg had precious few success stories to share with his party, following a poor performance in local elections in May and the lost referendum on the voting system. He quite obviously failed to rouse a despondent crowd.

Ivan Lewis The Shadow Culture Secretary suggested a state register for the regulation of journalists in order to prevent another phone hacking scandal. A step in the right direction, perhaps; a little farfetched, said most observers. The proposal was poorly received.

Theresa May Not only did the kitten-heeled Home Secretary attempt to convince the public that the repeal of the Human Rights Act was a positive thing, she then embarrassed herself by making false observations about an illegal immigrant who, she alleged, was allowed to stay in the country “because of a pet cat.”

Ken Clarke The rogue pet cat didn’t only spell trouble for Theresa May. Ever-cheerful Ken Clarke was branded a ‘traitor’ by the tabloid press – and some in his own party – after he publicly ridiculed May, branding her claims “laughable” and “child-like”. Clarke, a rare pro-European in a largely Eurosceptic party, could now face early retirement as a result.

Tags: Boris Johnson, Clegg, conservative, labour, Liberal Democrat, Miliband, Osborne, party conference, Vince Cable

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Alexandra Houghton

Alexandra Houghton writes for the politics, comment and film sections of The Mancunion. A second year student of Politics and French at the University of Manchester, she hopes to put her language and journalism skills to the test in France following her graduation.
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