Click to follow
Indy Politics

Return of the King

Return of the King

Michael Howard may be reticent about his life as a guitarist in a skiffle band but, asked if he liked hearing Elgar as he walked on to make his keynote speech, he confessed he preferred Elvis.

Biggest balls

Prize for the ballsiest Tory candidate goes to Pamela

Singleton, selected as a potential MP for Pudsey after she told Yorkshire Tories she had castrated a pit-bull terrier. At a breakfast yesterday for women candidates it was made clear the emasculation was not performed for fun, but because she was a vet.

Retro protest

Tories entering the hall are used to being bombarded with polemical pamphlets, but yesterday activists were distracted by a man holding a placard demanding, "Bring back Clause 28, the little boy's protection". The misplaced apostrophe rather than the anti-gay sentiment caught Tory eyes.

Pigs' ear

Yesterday, Damian Green, who left in the shadow cabinet during the reshuffle, was replaced by several pigs in the hastily reprinted conference guide. Today John Bercow, sacked as international development spokesman, has been airbrushed out, along with Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Boris Johnson, above, both seen as potential leadership contenders. What can it mean?

Overdoing it

Tory apparatchiks are worried that Ed Staite, keen young press officer to David Willetts, the employment spokesman, may be working too hard. Ed, 27, has apparently had only eight hours sleep all week, and was swaying with fatigue at a late-night party as he tried to convince bleary hacks of the merits of scrapping the New Deal.

Dressing down

A cold shower for the Tories comes from millionaire Alan Brown, a former bookie who replaced Paul Sykes as UKIP's biggest funder. He now has a nice little earner selling bathrobes. But it is only a matter of time till he pulls the plug too.

Come Back?

Michael Howard's visit to a rehab centre was heckled by a bystander who shouted: "Fuck the Tories." A bystander said: "At least they care enough to notice."

Erased from history

At the Politicos bookshop in the conference hall, every book with a Tory connection is on sale, from biographies of Churchill to Iain Duncan Smith's novel. But absent was any book about John Major, prime minister for seven years. Surely he cannot have sold out?

Taken for granted?

The big battle is over what party to attend. Shadow cabinet members are said to have had a "three-line whip" to go to the do run by News International, publisher of The Sun, Times, Sunday Times and the News of the World, rather than The Telegraph party which was light on top Tories. David Davis did help a blind man and his guide dog fight through the throng of champagne-quaffing Conservative activists.

Quote of the day

"Tony Blair doesn't trust people. He takes them in," said Michael Ancram, shadow foreign secretary.

Joke of the day

David Davis on the Liberal Democrats: "At least we now know the truth about tough liberalism. It is an oxymoron, with the emphasis on the last two syllables."