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Alliance hides its Lib Dem siblings

David Ford can't have been too happy to be totally upstaged at his own annual conference by the Alliance Party's special guest, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny.

What was really interesting, however, was the notable absence of Liberal Democrats from Alliance's conference.

The Lib Dems enjoy a sister party-style relationship with Alliance. Nick Clegg urged people to vote for Naomi Long, and John Alderdice (Lord Alderdice of Knock) is the convenor of Lib Dem peers in the House of Lords.

Perhaps the reason why Alliance wasn't so keen to hail its relationship with the Lib Dems this time is because that party - in cahoots with the Tories - is responsible for trebling tuition fees and imposing enormous cuts to the Northern Ireland block grant.

JOHN HUSSEY

Belfast

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