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Foster's last stand;Diary

THE Liberal Democracts aren't planning a formal education debate at their Harrogate conference, which may be the last major event for Don Foster as the party's education team leader. The rumour mill has various fates in wait for the talented Mr Foster. Depending on which paper you read he is destined either to be promoted to the Treasury brief or the Home Office or a return to the back-benches.

Anyway, Mr Foster was insisting this week that Charles Kennedy views education as hugely important and the party's interest is reflected in the fact that there is a host of fringe events on the topic.

The new leader is not planning to change his main command until after conference, but no one would be greatly surprised if Phil Willis, who has already made his mark on the Commons education select committee, moved up to take charge of the Lib-Dem team.

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