The Tories in Bournemouth: Mayhew hunts peace before an Ulster free-for-all: Conference Notebook

THE NORTHERN Ireland debate today could turn nasty against Sir Patrick Mayhew, the Secretary of State, in spite of the efforts of Michael Ancram, the Northern Ireland minister, who has been searching for peace in the conference hall as well as the Province.

Northern Ireland Tory activists are hopping mad at the conference organisers, who are expected to reject an amendment tabled by North Down Conservative Association calling on the Government to act as 'persuaders' for maintaining the Union and to abandon its even-handed approach to the Downing Street initiative.

Sir Patrick has been unable to enjoy a quiet white wine on the fringe without being lobbied by the Ulster Tories. He has firmly told them he has no intention of becoming a 'persuader'.

He has been engaged in long behind-the-scenes talks with William Stuttaford, who is in charge of the conference, about how the debate may be handled.

Mr Ancram has been pouring oil on the troubled Ulster waters at the conference, but yesterday the Ulster Tories, supported by the Ulster Unionist MP David Trimble, were still collecting a protest petition around the Bournemouth International Centre demanding a change of mind by the party heirachy.

The law-and-order debate is the first item of the afternoon - a notoriously tricky spot after the representatives have returned from lunch - and Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, may draw some of the fire for Sir Patrick.

But if the assembled delgates do not break out in a show of what Jeremy Hanley would call 'exuberance', there will be no escape.

The leadership has picked for the balloted motion on Friday morning a call to preserve the Union with Scotland. The Ulster Tories are determined to hijack it.

Day two, and the hundreds of police searching the horizon with powerful binoculars from around the party conference have still seen no sign of Mark Thatcher. But the police officer in the rubber speedboat patrolling the bay had a bit of a scare yesterday afternoon.

With temperatures soaring, he spotted something emerging from the water on the beach by the Bournemouth pier and went in for a closer look.

It turned out to be nothing more threatening than a a topless model, posing for the photographers in the breakers.

Lord Archer has been telling Tory colleagues that he was unable to attend the conference and host his traditional Krug and shepherd's pie reception for the great and allegedly good because of a three-line whip in the House of Lords.

That has not stopped his position as party-giver to the gentry being usurped by the former chief whip in the Lords, Lord Hesketh.

The roly-poly peer, famous for his bow ties, has been hosting parties in suite 223 at the conference hotel. But Lord Hesekth has been serving Pol Roger, which he prefers to Krug.

Saatchi and Saatchi hosted their own champagne party at the Highcliff, attended by the Prime Minister and half the Cabinet, all of whom were waited on by staff wearing Amadeus costumes.

One of the guests was Norman Lamont, enjoying the limelight after delivering his 'bombshell' on Europe on Tuesday, when he was approached by Bruce Anderson, John Major's exuberant biographer.

The former Chancellor thought Mr Anderson was approaching him to congratulate him.

Instead, Mr Anderson angrily denounced Mr Lamont for acting in an ungentlemanly manner. His victim took the abuse in good heart.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Sport
England captain Wayne Rooney during training
FOOTBALLNew captain vows side will deliver against Norway for small crowd
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
News
peopleJustin Bieber charged with assault and dangerous driving after crashing quad bike into a minivan
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Radamel Falcao poses with his United shirt
FOOTBALLRadamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant in Colombia to Manchester United's star signing
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Front-Office Developer (C#, .NET, Java,Artificial Intelligence)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Front-Of...

C++ Quant Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Developer C++, Python, STL, R, PD...

Java/Calypso Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Java/Calypso Developer Java, Calypso, J2EE, J...

SQL Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer SQL, C#, Stored Procedures, MDX...

Day In a Page

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

‘We knew he was something special’

Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York