Hide your conference passes when walking around Manchester, Tories told

Party bosses have concerns about the safety of activists

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Indy Politics

Conservative activists attending their party’s conference in Manchester have been told to hide their Tory-branded identification passes when walking around the northern city

The threat of hostile protest has led party bosses to warn members to take extra precautions if they venture outside the secure “ring of steel” around the event.

Conference passes must be worn at all times within the secure zone around the convention centre where the event is planned to be held.

But in an email to people attending the conference, party chairman Lord Feldman said it was “particularly important” this year for activists to take the Tory-branded identification badges off when around town due to safety concerns.

A number of protest events are expected in the city during the event.

Manchester has been hit particularly hard by the Government’s spending cuts, with the city region’s borough ten councils facing a £285m budget reduction this year on top of £1.2bn austerity since 2010.

Local authority leaders say that if Manchester had only received cuts on average in line with the rest of the country, it would be £1m richer every week.

An analysis reported by the Independent yesterday showed that the poorest councils in the country were facing funding cuts more than 18 times than of the richest local authorities.

Every single one of Manchester City Council's 96 councillors are from the Labour party. The city had over 30 Liberal Democrat councillors as recently as 2010 but all lost their seats after the formation of the 2010 coalition government.

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“You may be aware that a protest march planned by the TUC will take place on Sunday 4th October to coincide with the start of our Conference,” Lord Feldman wrote to members.

“The march will pass close to the Conference venues and I wanted to let you know that there may be road closures and potentially some local travel disruption on the day. 

“It will be particularly important not to wear your Conference security passes outside the secure zone. I am, as ever, grateful to Greater Manchester Police for all their efforts to put in place measures to secure the smooth running of Conference.”

The TUC is holding the march, concluding in a rally near Tory conference, in response to a planned crackdown by the Conservatives on trade union rights. 

The Government plans to make it more difficult to strike and to impose criminal sanctions on people who fail to jump through trade union laws’ byzantine hoops.

The People’s Assembly group has also called a national week of action against austerity cuts during the party conference.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is also set to speak at a separate event near Conservative conference, addressing the issue of privatisation of the Royal Mail.

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This year Tory party conference will be held at Manchester Central convention centre and the Midland Hotel. It is standard practice for party conferences to have secure zones and accreditation.

The Conservative conference starts on Sunday 4 October and continues to Wednesday 7 October.

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