Antonio Dorileo stood in for Rob Comba this week and he was joined by Chris Wilford, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and former Conservative Mayoral Candidate for Tower Hamlets, and Francesca Dobson Suarez, PLMR Account Manager and Conservative member who is attending the Conference as well.
What can we expect to see from the big hitters?
Chris believes reference will be made to Miliband’s omission of the deficit in his speech, and there will be a show of unity amongst the Party. Francesca believes the focus will be the economy and gestures towards improving the cost of living.
Will we see anyone setting out their stalls for leadership bids?
Chris thinks we may see allusions, but nothing overt at this stage – the eyes will be on 2015, but it will be interesting to see what the 2010 intake will be doing. Francesca acknowledges Boris Johnson is always a huge draw at conference and will be on manoeuvres, as well as Theresa May, but we could also see Philip Hammond setting out his stall as a future leader or perhaps Chancellor.
Will the focus of the Conference simply be on the Clacton by-election which is due on 9th October?
Chris does not believe that Clacton will dominate the Conference, although there will be elements which play to the voters of Clacton. Francesca believes the English Votes for English Laws issue will be raised and could be used to add further pressure on Labour.