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Friday 16th September 2011 | 11:30
In case anyone doubted it, David Laws is back.
With an op-ed in The Sun warning his party to stop undermining the Coalition, the former Chief Secretary has provided a useful prelude to the Lib Dem conference
There's certainly a string of thorny issues at conference that could prompt a bit of chuntering from their Tory colleagues.
We'll have debates on a new land tax, relaxation of drugs policy, calls to water down the Welfare Bill, emergency motions on the riots and the Gibson inquiry. Evan Harris is still hoping he can get the Lansley Bill voted on and, even if he doesn't, at the very least we'll have several Lib Dems demanding peers amend the NHS plans further.
Laws writes in The Sun that "it would be a disaster if the Lib Dems were simply to evolve into an internal Opposition". He points out that entrepreneurs need to know that the 50p tax rate is temporary and insists there's no alternative to Plan A on the deficit. Not a single Tory could disagree with any of that.
No wonder that ConHome's Paul Goodman has written this morning that Laws would be the perfect man to head up the Government's growth review.
As well as Laws' comeback, there was one small straw in the wind last night for the embattled party on the ground.
In a by-election for Gedling Council, the Lib Dems won back a seat lost to Labour in May. Admittedly Labour had kinda shot itself in the foot by triggering the poll because its councillor decided to up sticks and move to Mexico just three months after he'd been elected. But still a win's a win.
And the name of the ward the Lib Dems won back?
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