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Conservative conference 2009

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 17 October 2009

All the news and analysis from the Channel 4 News team in Manchester for the Conservative party conference 2009.

Conservative leader David Cameron (credit:Reuters)

David Cameron takes centre stage to close the conference with his speech.

After the gloomy vision of cuts and austerity presented by Shadow Chancellor George Osborne, the Conservative leader tells his party conference in Manchester that while Britain faces "a steep climb ahead" as it struggles to bring the public finances under control, "the view from the summit will be worth it".
Click here to watch Gary Gibbon's report.
Review all the action from our live blog.

Snowcloud: David Cameron's speech
Click on the image below to see what the Conservative leader had to say at a glance.

FactCheck: Cameron's conference speech
Did David Cameron get his facts straight in his final conference speech before the general election?
FactCheck finds out.

From Gary Gibbon's blog:
"David Cameron on Webcameron says this speech has got to answer the public's questions: 'Why us? Why now? Why me?'

"They seem to be relatively happy with the 'me' bit... it's the 'us' that remains a dragging anchor on the Tory polling."
Click here to read more.

"Cameron's speech: All pretty low key in hall for a leader potentially on edge of power. Doubt Thatcher in 78 was like this - though bits of the message are similar (talk of enterprise and entrepreneurs etc)."
Click here to read more.

"Livening up a bit now - they love the stuff about don't you dare lecture us on poverty, Labour. But I still think, just on the atmospherics, this is a little bit flat."
Click here to read more.

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"Mending our broken society" is the topic for the day, with schools, law and order and welfare reform taking centre stage.

FactCheck: bad science GCSEs?
Are science GCSE questions really as easy as the Conservatives claim? Factcheck puts them to the test.

But shadow chancellor George Osborne is forced to continue to defend his plans to reduce the UK's budget deficit, denying that he was asking millions of middle-income earners to take a pay freeze in order to fund tax breaks for millionaires.

Shadow Home Secretary mistakenly criticises the political role being offered to former army chief General Sir Richard Dannatt, not realising that it would be a position within his own party.
Click here to watch his comments and apology.

Interview: David Cameron
The Conservative leader tells Jon Snow: "This is the big choice. There are those people who say that the threat to the recovery is dealing with the deficit. Some people make that argument, I happen to think they are wrong. I think the threat to the recovery is not dealing with the deficit.
Click here to watch the interview.

From Jon Snow's blog:
"It's a strange old conference this - awash with private equity, hedge fund and financial sector operatives (courted at fundraising events for their money) - yet these are the very people Mr Cameron told me he was going to bash with the tax system if they pay themselves unacceptable bonuses."
Click here to read more.

From Gary Gibbon's blog:

"The Tories have revealed they've made a profit of nearly £1.5m at this conference, mainly flogging stall space to corporate Britain. And corporate Britain is using its time wisely here."
Click here to read more.

"There have been few hiccups at this conference. The least important is probably David Cameron quaffing champagne, caught on camera. "The leadership would probably regard the Boris Johnson escapade on Monday as the worst hiccup. "I wonder though if we have just seen the worst one."
Click here to read more.

A tale of two species:

The leadership like notions of modern conservatism to be associated with issues like the environment, social justice and helping the developing world. However others believe there could be splits in the party, caused by ultra-liberals who believe in a minimal state and low taxes.
Click here to watch the More4 News report.

What the voters think:
Jon Snow meets undecided voters in the key marginal seat of Bolton West, who have a distinct lack of enthusiasm for any of the parties.
Click here to watch the report.

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Shadow Chancellor George Osborne announces a rise in the state pension age in a bid to tackle the country's deficit, but Labour fights back with Alistair Darling announcing a freeze on pay for top earners in the public sector.

Osborne announces that from 2016 the state pension age will rise from 65 to 66 for men, 10 years earlier than the government has already planned.

"No one who is a pensioner today, or approaching retirement soon, will be affected," the shadow chancellor says. "But this is how we can afford increasing the basic state pension for all."
Click here to watch Gary Gibbon's report.

Snowcloud: George Osborne's speech
Click on the image below to analyse the shadow chancellor's speech with our interactive Snowcloud, and compare and contrast with his opposite numbers for Labour and the Lib Dems.

From Faisal Islam's blog:
"When a shadow chancellor is trying to prove his credibility and judgement to the nation, it's no surprise that the chief of the fiscal watchdog the Institute for Fiscal Studies is directly lobbied by Tory hierarchy.

"The £13bn number for the move to raise the state pension age to 66 is in Mr Chote's view 'debatable'."
Click here to read more.

From Gary Gibbon's blog:
"So who will pay for the mainly male bankers' catastrophic errors? The women.

"As for the rest of George Osborne's speech, you're very struck as you try to edit it how he wraps every sacrifice in a softer commitment."
Click here to read more.

From Jon Snow's blog:
"It doesn't really matter now who says it because both measures will be deployed whoever wins the next election.

"True confident Tory morning did not dawn on the Today Programme."
Click here to read more.

"Last night I ran into David Cameron and his crew, amongst whom was a protection officer from Greater Manchester. I had met him before."
Click here to read more.

Stonewall boss boycotts Conservative Pride event:
Ben Summerskill, head of the equality group Stonewall, has pulled out of a new Pride event at the Conservative party conference after the party hosted "extreme" European politicians which the Tories partner with in Europe.

"The event tonight has been overshadowed by the presence, not just at conference but on the same platform as some senior members of the party, of people of such extreme and offensive views," he said. "And certainly there are people I've spoken to at the conference today, not just gay people but Jewish delegates as well, who share that viewpoint."
Click here to watch his comments.

Jon Snow
spoke to actor Stephen Fry and Conservative MEP Dr Charles Tannock about the Conservative's European alliances. Stephen Fry is one of a group of activists, which also includes comedian Eddie Izzard and the Unite union, who have written to David Cameron asking him to reconsider the Conservative party's links with the Polish Law and Justice party.
Click here to watch the discussion.

Spending cuts for politicians?

For all the talk of cutting the cost of politics, there is one area politicians are silent on. More4 News has learnt that almost a fifth of political party funding comes from the public purse.
Click here to watch the report.

FactCheck: Labour NHS cuts?
Conservative party leader David Cameron announced at the weekend that Labour is the only party in history to have chopped NHS spending. Is he right?
FactCheck found out.

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The conference kicks off with speeches from London Mayor Boris Johnson and Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague.

David Cameron tries to shift the agenda from Europe with a pledge to get people back to work by cutting state help and "testing" those claiming incapacity benefits.
Click here to watch Gary Gibbon's report.

Boris Johnson urged delegates to "get rid of the nonsense, but don't chop the investments essential to the UK economy."
Click here to watch extracts from his speech.

From Gary Gibbon's blog:
"The leadership is clearly thinking about a referendum on 'something else' and this story is not going away."
Click here to read more.

"Boris Johnson cheered up the troops this morning after they'd sat through Oliver Letwin and Francis Maude. "Boris arrived to the theme tune from EastEnders and delivered lots of gags, a demand for Crossrail (which the leadership are staying silent on), an attack on bank-bashers, an attack on the 50p tax rate that George Osborne is committed to sticking with."
Click here to read more.

Snowcloud: Boris Johnson
At a glance: analyse Boris Johnson's speech with our interactive Snowcloud. Click on the image below for more.

From Jon Snow's blog:
"It's clearly not the Brighton train - at least, not the one I caught to Labour this time last week. This is unmistakably the Virgin tipping train to Manchester.
Click here to read more.

"Closer inspection finds that most are here at the Tory party conference as lobbyists. Only a minority of the 12,000 anticipated visitors are actually attending the debates on the floor. The rest are milling around outside, anticipating change.

"In truth, this appears to be a party caught in the glare of its own headlights."
Click here to read more.

Tweet or dare:
More4 News challenges MPs to answer quick-fire questions sent via Twitter.
Click here to find out who took the challenge.

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The age-old argument over Europe seems set to overshadow the Conservative conference, with David Cameron refusing to promise a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty in the wake of the Ireland "yes" vote.

Click here to watch Gary Gibbon's report.

From Gary Gibbon's blog:
"As the entire conference is locked outside the main hotel and conference centre, as it's the party on the way up not the one on the way down, as it's not actually raining... everyone's being reasonably good-tempered."
Click here to read more.


Krishnan Guru-Murthy looks ahead to the Conservative conference in Manchester and what the Channel 4 News team is up to during the week.

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