But he couldn’t have expected that it would be totally overwhelmed by a single, (money)burning issue.
Yes, HS2 is the acronym on everyone’s lips, and pundits and politicians alike are spitting with fury at the prospect of seeing the rail line’s northern leg scrapped .
Still, as pressure mounts on the Prime Minister to confirm his plans for the ill-fated project, his colleagues have done their best – or, more accurately, worst – to distract from the fallout.
From a fabricated “ meat tax ” to the obligatory “Tories on tour” scenes , indy100 will keep you updated on all the most excruciating moments from the Manchester event, and what commentators are making of it all.
30p Lee keeping things classy
Laughter at Conservative conference when Lee Anderson is asked about cancelling HS2 and the impact it will have on local services, such as those to Bradford and replies: "Anyone here from Bradford? Would you want to get there quicker?" #CPC23— Adam Bienkov (@Adam Bienkov) 1696337330
Imagine how it feels to be told Liz Truss is more popular than you are...
Beth Rigby, "It seems the Conservative party love Liz Truss more than they love you, does that sting?"\n\nRishi Sunak, "You have a totally different version of what's happening"\n\nBR, "You haven't got a mandate from the country, from your party, you're making huge decisions like\u2026— Farrukh (@Farrukh) 1696338127
Shockingly, the conference isn't doing the Tories any favours in the polls
\ud83d\udea8\ud83d\udea8New Voting Intention\ud83d\udea8\ud83d\udea8\nLabour lead has grown to eighteen percentage points in the latest results from Deltapoll.\nCon 26% (-2)\nLab 44% (-)\nLib Dem 12% (+2)\nOther 18% (-)\nFieldwork: 29 September - 2 October 2023\nSample: 1,516 GB adults\n(Changes from 22nd-25th September 2023)— Deltapoll (@Deltapoll) 1696336677
At least some people are giving the conference a ringing endorsement
Talk about embarrassing moments, someone bought a signed copy of Nadine Dorries's book for £600
Whilst families across the country struggle with #CostOfLivingCrisis #Tories live it up at #ConservativePartyConference \n\n100s attended a black tie dinner last night hosted by the Conservative Democratic Organisation, with an auction that included: \n- bottle of Bollinger signed\u2026— Gina Miller (@Gina Miller) 1696251469
Who needs photoshop when you can just herd to make yourself look better?
During Mark Harper's speech this morning the small amount of attendees are corralled into an area on the right so Party people like this man (red arrow) can take a deceptive photo.\nIf anyone sees that photo on social media then do point it out\n#CPC23 #ConservativePartyConference— Ian Barnes (@Ian Barnes) 1696245706
This may be the only video montage you need to see this week
And a useful summary of today's agenda here
Today\u2019s Tory party conference schedule:\n\nSteve Barclay - dodging questions about HS2\n\nMichelle Donelan - dodging questions about HS2\n\nMichael Gove - dodging questions about HS2\n\nSuella Braverman - hitting a sack of kittens with a baseball bat / dodging questions about HS2— Have I Got News For You (@Have I Got News For You) 1696327774
This handy little thread gathers together some real high/lowlights (depending on your political leanings)
Kemi Badenoch's claim that Britain is the "best country in the world to be Black" has caused some understandable controversy
"She's pandering to a largely white audience who are going to say 'you see, she's black, and she's saying these things.'"\n\nThis @NickFerrariLBC caller reacts to Kemi Badenoch's claim that Britain is the 'best country in the world to be black'.— LBC (@LBC) 1696320120
Read more here
The immigration debate never fails to generate the classiest arguments from the classiest people
"Some people self-harm to get asylum."\n\nTory MP @Jacob_Rees_Mogg responds to @KayBurley after being asked if he could see a scenario where people could pretend to be gay in order to seek refuge in the UK.\n\nhttps://t.co/UyZUj3K3qy\n\n\ud83d\udcfa Sky 501, Virgin 602, Freeview 233 and YouTube— Sky News (@Sky News) 1696322297
Patel clearly wasn't in the mood for confrontation after a heavy night
It was an honour to welcome Priti Patel to the Manchester Tory Party Conference. #ToryPartyConference #CPC23— Steve Bray on Mastodon @SNB19692@Mastodon.Social (@Steve Bray on Mastodon @SNB19692@Mastodon.Social) 1696324995
Tory MP Danny Kruger making Suella Braverman proud with this tasteful point
Danny Kruger(Tory MP) - What do you do if somebody arrives here illegally & puts their hand up & says I'm gay...\n\n#KayBurley - You're not saying people might pretend to be gay in order to stay in the UK? \n\nDanny Kruger - That's exactly what happens \n\n#KayBurley - Wow!— Haggis_UK \ud83c\uddec\ud83c\udde7 \ud83c\uddea\ud83c\uddfa (@Haggis_UK \ud83c\uddec\ud83c\udde7 \ud83c\uddea\ud83c\uddfa) 1696319609
Sunak throwing in more diversions than a Sunday morning rail service
Sally Nugent - What is the situation with HS2 coming all the way to Manchester? \n\nRishi Sunak - Waffle... waffle... waffle\n\nSally Nugent - You've got to admit the handling of the announcement of this decision has been poor? \n\nRishi Sunak - I don't think that... \ud83d\udc40\n\n#BBCBreakfast— Haggis_UK \ud83c\uddec\ud83c\udde7 \ud83c\uddea\ud83c\uddfa (@Haggis_UK \ud83c\uddec\ud83c\udde7 \ud83c\uddea\ud83c\uddfa) 1696316280
Just as Sunak juggles with the HS2 furore, an old nemesis rears its ugly head: Covid
I\u2019ve got the technological knowhow of a beetroot, but every time I\u2019ve changed phones my old WhatsApp messages have just automatically appeared on my new one.— Adam Kay (@Adam Kay) 1696316489
Naturally, Labour wasn't going to let him get away with that one
Speaking of irony...
\u201cSound money under the conservatives or run out of money under Labour \u201c says the chancellor Jeremy Hunt - who was literally brought in to rescue the economy from a previous conservative chancellor\u2019s policies .. #cpc23— emily m (@emily m) 1696252562
In a painful twist of irony, a social mobility charity had to cancel an event this morning for accessibility reasons...
We deeply regret that our Conservative Party Conference Panel was cancelled today as no one was able to access the building. We are already making plans to host the event in parliament and online later in the year to speak about employment pathways and in-work support.— Shaw Trust (@Shaw Trust) 1696320113
It's no wonder people are drawing this conclusion
Lewis Goodall, "You could have been at a UKIP or Brexit party conference. The way in which in policy terms, and the way in which the Conservative party talks about politics. The move to the Farage agenda has been extraordinary. This is the story of 13 years of Tory gov" #CPC23— Farrukh (@Farrukh) 1696269869
And the night clearly went on and on...
And even later in the day, this happened...
When it comes to summing up what\u2019s going on at the Conservative Party conference, phone footage of Priti Patel and Nigel Farage dancing and singing along to \u2018Can't Take My Eyes Off You\u2019 could hardly be more on point.— Nicholas Pegg (@Nicholas Pegg) 1696316465
Later in the day, Net Zero secretary Claire Coutinho started some unnecessary beef with Labour
Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Claire Coutinho said she wanted to add a "light moment" in her speech as she referenced the 'meat tax' - which, in fact, doesn't exist.
Coutinho sat down with journalist Sophy Ridge on Sky News ' Politics Hub, where she was quizzed on a part of her Conservative Party conference speech "that really struck" Ridge.
"'It's no wonder Labour seem so relaxed about taxing meat," Coutinho said in her speech. "Sir Keir Starmer doesn't eat it and Ed Miliband is clearly scarred by his encounter with the bacon sandwich".
Ridge asked: "You didn't write that, did you?"
And here's what 'The Rest is Politics' host Alastair Campbell made of the whole thing
Truss's speech went down like a 49-day-old lettuce leaf in some quarters
Liz Truss speech challenge.\n\nYou have to see how long you can last before you lose all hope and tumble into despair.\n\nI lasted 19 seconds.\n\n#LizTrussSpeechChallenge— Otto English (@Otto English) 1696275558
A huge buzz at the Great British Growth rally starring Liz Truss. I think she\u2019s going to need a bigger room!— Nigel Farage (@Nigel Farage) 1696246868
Sure, a wilting lettuce lasted longer than Liz Truss's premiership, but there's been a notable buzz around Sunak's predecessor.
She was greeted by lengthy queues yesterday as she delivered a speech calling for tax cuts to “make Britain grow again”.
And here's a taste of the calibre of attendees.
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