Blue Sunday: Tory Conference Bandwagon Rolls Back Into Manchester

© REUTERS / TOBY MELVILLEA political banner hangs on the outside of the Manchester Central Convention Complex at the annual Conservative party conference in Manchester
A political banner hangs on the outside of the Manchester Central Convention Complex at the annual Conservative party conference in Manchester - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.10.2021
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Tory PM Boris Johnson appears to have weathered the storms of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lorry driver labour shortage, and two weeks of petrol panic buying — and is still leading Sir Keir Starmer's Labour Party in the polls. But, ask pundits, can he lay out a vision for the next election, expected in two or three years?
The annual Conservative Party conference returns to Manchester this weekend; what can we expect from the ruling party's jamboree?
The Manchester Central Convention Complex will host the first face-to-face gathering of party members since Prime Minister Boris Johnson led them to a landslide victory in the 2019 general election.
The 2020 conference was a virtual affair amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and this year's — running from Sunday to Wednesday — will be a "hybrid" event with some delegates attending online.
The Times reported BoJo will imitate Sheffield rockers Def Leppard and deliver his big speech "in the round" from the centre of the conference floor, ringed by his cabinet ministers.
The slogans of the conference are less original, however, with a recycling of last year's "build back better" post-COVID-19 mantra.
Left-wing groups are planning protests against Johnson's government outside the venue in the heavily Labour-voting city, but the PM is likely to get an easy ride within.
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Three surveys published by grassroots Tory website Conservative Home showed that roughly two thirds of members back Johnson on his handling of the pandemic and a recent lorry driver shortage — although they fear the prime minister will not stop the trend towards bigger government and higher taxes.
Heavy security will be in place inside the exclusion zone surrounding the converted railway station that will serve as the conference centre and only ticket-holders and accredited journalists will be allowed entry.
Despite coming less than two years after the 2019 win, Johnson and company are expected to lay out their vision for the second half of the parliament and the lead-up to the next election — expected in 2023 or 2024.
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