THE Liberal Democrat conference, which comes to Bournemouth this weekend, will contribute an estimated £2.2million to the local economy, its hosts say.

Around 2,000 people are expected to attend the party’s first conference with Sir Vince Cable as leader.

It runs from today until Tuesday at the BIC.

It is now a decade since the town last saw one of the two big political parties, when Labour visited in the early days of Gordon Brown’s time as prime minister. The Conservatives have not visited since 2006.

But the Lib Dems, Greens and Ukip have all held their autumn gatherings in the resort in recent times.

BH Live, the not-for-profit trust that runs the BIC, said the conference was worth an estimated £2.2m in business tourism.

Its director of venues and events, Pat Coyne, said: "We are delighted to welcome the Liberal Democrats back to Bournemouth for their autumn conference.

“Events such as this create a real buzz in the town and make a significant contribution to our local economy, both in terms of business tourism and destination profile. On behalf of Bournemouth International Centre and the town, we offer a very warm welcome to all."

Sir Vince became party leader in the summer after Tim Farron resigned in the wake of the general election result.

The party increased its number of seats from eight to 12, but polled slightly fewer votes than in 2015 and saw former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg lose his seat.

Party president Baroness Brinton will open the conference alongside the recently elected leader. Other speakers include deputy leader Jo Swinson and the party’s leaders in Wales and Scotland, Kirsty Williams and Will Rennie.

Lydia Dumont, head of conferences for the Lib Dems, said: “Bournemouth is a fantastic destination that always proves popular with our party members. We’re looking forward to returning for our federal conference this year.”

Subjects under debate include employment in the 21st century and the impact of Brexit on public services, while Sir Vince will take part in a question and answer session with party members.

Tomorrow will see a cross-party #StopBrexit to coincide with the conference, including a Pants to Brexit funny pants competition.

The Liberal Democrats are supporting Bournemouth Foodbank during their visits, with attendees invited to donate items from a shopping list that includes long life fruit juice, powdered milk and tinned vegetables.