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By Tim Montgomerie
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Last year ConservativeHome noted that party conference was not what it was. It has become expensive and corporate.

We take our hats off to the co-chairmen, Sayeeda Warsi and Andrew Feldman for their efforts to address this.

We've already reported the early bird discounts that were introduced this year to cut the costs of attending this year's Birmingham event if people booked well in advance. Many of the discounts of that programme are still available.

Warsi Sayeeda Sep 11Sayeeda Warsi is going to be making a sustained effort over the summer to further promote attendance at conference and especially the multiple accommodation and transport discounts. She aims to place a phone call with every Tory Association Chairman (she might not connect with all of them!) to promote the idea that every party member is entitled to attend conference. She is worried that there are still many members who are unaware of rules changes from some years ago and still think that only Association officers can attend. Baroness Warsi will also be using the calls to urge Associations to maintain campaigning efforts. With police commissioner elections looming this is a summer that we have to maintain momentum, she will say.


The third thing that is changing is the introduction of more member-only events at this year's Birmingham conference. The Prime Minister introduces the idea in the video below…

  • There'll be a private meeting with Lord Feldman and Baroness Warsi discussing 'the road to 2015';
  • An intimate gathering with Oliver Letwin and ministers will discuss the Tory manifesto for the next general election;
  • Stephen Gilbert, the party's chief campaigner, will give members a preview of campaign tactics.

It may be a work-in-progress. Decline in conference partricipation won't be reversed in a single year but It is good to see that there'll be more meaty politics this October. Book now and book here!

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