Conservative Party conference is underway in Manchester, with senior ministers and the prime minister set to address supporters over the next few days.
The event comes at a tense time for Boris Johnson’s party, as the government is struggling to deal with the ongoing HGV driver shortage and related fuel supply crisis.
Johnson also carried out a reshuffle recently, meaning many new ministers will have their first opportunity to speak about their new brief.
And while internal party ructions may not feature quite so heavily as at Labour conference, sections of the Tory grassroots do have a number of quarrels with Johnson, most notably over his recent plans to increase National Insurance.
When is Conservative party conference 2021?
Conservative party conference 2021 will take place between Sunday 3 October and Wednesday 6 October.
Due to concerns over Covid the event will be split between online and in person events.
Alongside the official Conservative Party conference events will also be a wide range of fringe events hosted by companies, think tanks and organisations related to the Conservatives.
Where is Conservative party conference taking place?
The conference will take place online and in person, in Manchester. At the Central Convention Complex.
The Conservative party conference often draws protests, and this year in Manchester will likely be no different.
Greater Manchester Police have said they “will intervene” if protestors disrupt the conference, following speculation the Insulate Britain protestors could make an appearance.
New housing secretary Michael Gove has been criticised for failing to attend a demonstration on Sunday by leaseholders from Manchester and the rest of the country who’ve been caught up in the cladding scandal, after he was invited to speak.
What is the agenda for Conservative party conference 2021?
The conference will include a number of speeches, roundtable discussions and other events, mainly hosted or chaired by Conservative MPs and ministers.
Alongside the main events hosted by the Conservative party, there will be a range of events going on across the four days hosted by pressure groups, think tanks and businesses, known as the fringe events.
Here’s a breakdown of the main events on each day of conference, or you can check the listings on the Conservative’s conference website.
The conference will get underway on Sunday, with a meeting of the national convention at 11am followed by the official opening of conference at 1:30pm.
Newly promoted foreign secretary Liz Truss will be among the speakers on Sunday at 3:10pm, as will her successor at the department for international trade, Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
Monday will be ‘business day’ at Conservative party conference.
According to the party, attendees will have the opportunity to “hear from the Conservative Party’s core team, put your questions directly to key decision makers in the party and network with other business leaders”.
As well as the speeches and events taking place on business day, attendees will also be able to attend a business dinner, hosted by the Prime Minister.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak will deliver his keynote speech on Monday, at 11:50am.
Other speakers on Monday will include housing and levelling up secretary Michael Gove, transport secretary Grant Shapps and House of Commons leader, Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Tuesday will see some of the most senior members of Johnson’s cabinet address the conference, and could also see Johnson himself deliver the keynote speech.
Dominic Raab will give his first speech as justice secretary (9:50am), while home secretary Priti Patel (11:50am), newly promoted media secretary Nadine Dorries (2pm) and health secretary Sajid Javid (4pm) will also address the conference on Tuesday.
The final day of Conservative Party conference will not be as busy as previous days, with no major speeches by ministers scheduled.
The only two events on the main agenda for the 6 October will be a panel discussion hosted by Nadhim Zahawi on “The Great British Vaccine Success” and a discussion on levelling up hosted by Neil O’Brien MP.
When will Boris Johnson deliver his speech?
The details of when Boris Johnson will give his keynote conference speech are yet to be confirmed.
Generally the party leader would be expected to speak at around midday on the penultimate day of the conference.
Last year, Boris Johnson addressed party members and the general public via video-link at 11:30am on Tuesday morning.
Although his speech is not yet listed, there are a couple of gaps in the conference agenda which it could fit into.
On both Monday and Tuesday there is a gap between the event at 11:50 and the next which is scheduled to take place at 2pm.
There have been reports that Johnson will take a slightly unusual approach with his conference speech this year.
The Times reported last month that Johnson would address the audience from the centre of the room, surrounded by ministers, rather than on stage.
We can also expect the PM to attempt to cast himself as being able to make ‘difficult decisions in the national interest’.
How to watch Conservative party conference 2021?
Most of the the conference will not be televised, although major speeches will be covered by the main news channels.
There will also be live streams on the Conservative Party’s official YouTube account.