Tory Conference time is always an interesting time. Outlandish promises, rowdy karaoke duets and bizarre dances come to mind.
But 2023 served us all up a real “last days of Rome” feeling with a potential electoral battering on the horizon.
Here are The Independent’s pick of the strangest moments so far:
‘Stand up and fight’ Penny Mordaunt’s inspiring turn at GCSE Shakespeare
Penny Mordaunt launched into a bizarre fingerpointing rant urging her fellow countrymen to “stand up and fight” dozens of times until the words lost all meaning.
The Commons Leader told party members: “What I have to say to you today is not for the faint-hearted. We face the fight of our lives and our country needs us again, to stand up and fight. Stand up and fight against the odds, against the polling, against the sneering commentary, against the inevitability of decliners and the despite-Brexiters.”
“Stand up and fight for the freedoms we have won. Against Socialism whether it is made of velvet or iron.”
She went on: “Have courage and conviction. Because when you stand up and fight, the person beside you stands up and fights.
“And when our party stands up and fights, the nation stands up and fights.
“And when our nation stands up and fights, other nations stand up and fight. They stand up and fight for the things upon which the progress of humanity depends. Freedom.
“That is what Conservatives do. That is what this nation does. Have Courage. Bring Hope. Stand up and fight, stand up and fight!”
She walks off to rapturous applause hopefully not implanting any Tories with hazy ideas of invading France all over again.
Tories Dancing In The Moonlight to soft rock’s finest Toploader
Who says Tories can’t dance?
With Errol Brown from Hot Chocolate tragically passing away before his time the Conservatives needed a high profile replacement to keep the hoardes in good spirits. Step in Toploader.
The group entertained the attendees of the Tory conference, which included members of parliament, peers and other high-level members.
In a stinging criticism of their “Dancing in the Moonlight” success, one person wrote: “Great opportunity to remind you all that Toploader’s only popular song is a... cover of King Harvest’s much better original that was released in 1972.”
Video game designer Dan Hett joked: “I hear Toploader played all their hit at the Tory party conference last night.”
Another Twitter/X user wrote: “Inexplicably popular a long time ago, followed by decades of mediocrity. But enough about the Tories, it’s nice to see Toploader getting out and about.”
Priti Patel and Nigel Farage punch the air and sing along to Frank Sinatra
It seems Priti Patel and Nigel Farage only had eyes for each other as the pair of political rivals put their differences aside and partied to Ol’ Blue Eye’s classic ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’.
Ms Patel was earlier full of praise for Mr Farage and his GB News channel, calling it a “defender of free speech” as she thanked staff for “absolutely everything they do”.
The pair were later joined by Liz Truss to complete karaoke’s unholy trinity thus cancelling Britain’s favourite pastime.
Senior Tory escorted out of Suella Braverman’s speech after ‘whispered’ protest
London Assembly member Andrew Boff was dramatically escorted out of Suella Braverman’s speech with his pass ripped from his neck.
Mr Boff, who has been a party member for over 50 years, branded her speech a “homophobic rant” and accused Ms Braverman of making the Tories seem “transphobic and homophobic”.
He reacted to a segment of Ms Braverman’s address in which she claimed the UK “would go properly woke” under Keir Starmer.
She raved: “Highly controversial ideas are presented to workforces and the public as if they are motherhood and apple pie. Gender ideology. White privilege. Anti-British history.”
Mr Boff was led away after heckling her, saying there’s “no such thing as gender ideology” and calling it a “homophobic rant”.
He told reporters: “It’s making our Conservative Party look transphobic and homophobic. This isn’t what our Conservative Party is all about.”
Suella Braverman ‘stands on guide dog’s tail’
The home secretary was snapped seemingly standing on the tail of a blind man’s guide dog.
The dog named Inca’s was at the Guide Dogs UK stand as the charity sought a ban on-street parking.
After being shown the disturbing image, Suella quipped: “I was unaware until a few minutes ago - I don’t think any dogs were harmed in the filming of my visit but let me just issue for the record an apology to all dogs out there.”
The charity ducked out from accusing the Home Secretary directly probably in fear of their canines being deported to Katmandu. They said: “Today’s been quite a day for Inca the guide dog! Kissed by the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, and nearly - but not quite - stepped on by the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman.”
Labour will have to pull out all the stops rock harder than Conservative Conference 2023.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies