In his keynote speech to his Liberal Democrats’ annual conference, Nick Clegg spoke with generous praise for Maurice Reeves, the senior member of the family-run Reeves furniture business in Croydon which was nearly destroyed by fire during the 8/8 riots last year.
Maurice Reeves, who has long been a Liberal party supporter, was seated carefully in the front row of the audience in Brighton for the LibDem party leader’s speech, alongside Miriam Clegg, the leader’s wife.
There, he heard the Deputy Prime Minister say, “Your example should inspire a generation.”
The conference responded to Clegg’s remark by giving Reeves rapturous applause.
Clegg’s briefing for his speech was not 100 per cent correct. He referred erroneously to the business having to open in a new building. Clegg was correct, though, in talking about a plastering of the building with positive messages from young people in a publicity initiative by vInspired and UKDoSomething one year after the riots in an effort to show that the young are a credit to society.
The phoenix rising from the ashes reference clearly had a double meaning for the LibDems, whose latest national opinion poll rating stands at 9 per cent. That represents something of a minor improvement: the Conservatives’ coalition partners are now back to the same level as UKIP.
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