Paddy Ashdown delivers his first leader's speech

Given the difficulty of the first months of its existence a lot was riding on the conference at Blackpool and on the leader’s speech. The speech was well received by a packed hall at the Winter Gardens much to Ashdown’s relief as he recorded in his diary. ‘I was surprised at how well the speech [very strong on environmentalism] was received. A five and a half minute standing ovation then a myriad of interviews. Morale has been lifted and I hear that a number of people who were intending to leave will now stay on…the interviews over, I joined the Glee Club, where spirits were very high. Altogether it’s been a successful Conference’.