What the Lib Dems didn’t want us to film
It was one part of the Lib Dems conference they didn’t want us to film. The party’s annual Corporate Day, at which 80 businessmen have paid £800 each to attend meetings and seminars here in Birmingham, for what are advertised as “breakout policy sessions with senior Lib Dems”.
Among those they’ve been meeting are the junior business minister Ed Davey. And tonight 200 business people are due to attend the party’s business dinner where premium tables cost £5,000 for 10 people.
Among those I came across this afternoon were business people from tobacco companies. We get better access here than from the Department of Health, Stephen Stotesbury of Imperial Tobacco told me.
But party officials were clearly embarrassed and upset by our presence. They kept turning their backs on our camera, and eventually asked us to leave the corridor outside the hall.
One party official, Ibrahim Taguri, kept insisting it was just an opportunity to get its message across to business. We later discovered, though, that he’s the Lib Dems’ chief fundraiser.
Nick Clegg’s spokeswoman Olly Grender says: “A corporate day is a standard event at all party conferences, but if you’re against it, then I suggest you join our campaign for public funding of politics, which is what Lib Dems believe in.”
Follow @MichaelLCrick on Twitter.