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Official announcement from CCHQ:

"Manchester lands the Conservative Party conference

The Conservatives have today unveiled plans to stage their 2009 and 2011 party conferences at Manchester Central. The Party said the city’s vast array of excellent hotels, restaurants and pubs made it the obvious choice to host the event.

Speaking at the Conservatives Blues Skies Conference in Bolton today, Party Chairman, Frances Maude will say:

“Having had a fantastic Spring Forum in Manchester last year, we are delighted to be bringing our main conference to such a vibrant and exciting city. Manchester is one of Europe’s great cities which represents the dynamic face of modern Britain. The Conservative Party is looking forward to coming to Manchester and giving the city a great opportunity to showcase itself.”

The Leader of Manchester City Council, Sir Richard Leese, added:

"We are delighted by the announcement. Major conferences are good news for Manchester because they bring visitors, investment and support jobs for local people in local business.

"Hosting four major political conferences in four years enhances our reputation as the country's major convention centre. We are moving up the international rankings, and we are increasingly known world-wide as a city that's a great place to visit, work, study and to live."

Manchester Central’s Chief Executive, Lesley Tomlinson said:
“We are thrilled to be working once again with the Conservative Party, following their successful Spring Conference here last year. My thanks go to key partners within Manchester who work alongside Manchester Central to enable us to win and deliver these major events to such a high standard.”

Notes to editors
- The Conference will also bring great benefits to the City; 10,000 people, not just Party members but members of the national and international media, overseas guests and exhibitors from all over the UK.
- It is estimated that it will generate 15 million pounds for the local economy.But more importantly it gives Manchester and opportunity to showcase their city to a huge national and international audience.
- The 2007 Spring Forum will be held at the Royal Centre in Nottingham from 16 - 18 March
- The 2007 Party Conference will be held in Blackpool from 30 September - 3 October."

Is CH planning on doing anything for the spring conference Tim?

No... but any suggestions Andrew?

I'll have a think.

Hopefully the party Chairman will consider Belfast for 2009 - best air and sea connections across the UK, great hotels and pubs and best international conference facility - the Waterfront Hall.

Right Jeffrey, but will you get 7500 folk forking out for ferries and planes as well as passes and Hotels? Be a bit steep for most people. Still, at least it would be exclusive!

Very true Annabel. We'd love to invite you all here to Gib for a Conference - good weather, cheap drinks and cigarettes, great company and good facilities.

However we aren't exactly on the beaten track so not practical, which is a pity.

It's a shame for Belfast as we need to be showing more of a commitment to NI - hosting high profile events out there would be to our advantage.

The "average" character of people who attend the National Council meetings or whatever they are called these days can be sharply distinguished from that the much larger number who go to Blackpool/Bournemouth conferences, many of whom regard the event as primarily social.

The north/south divide is also plainly apparent from the fact that there are always many more applications when the conference is held in the south.

The party would do better to stick with current arrangments in towns that are full of cheap hotels and places of entertaiment. They should learn from the old comedian who said "Never change your routine - it always ends in disaster".

The guy who suggests that the Tories should go to Belfast offers a classic example of the "stunt" mentality which infects today's party.

National Council

"Central Council Half-yearly" isn't it?

In 30 years of going to Party Conferences I never bothered to drag myself to one of these events.

The big problem with Manchester and Birmingham compared to Bournemouth and Blackpool is that hotel accommodation for delegates is much more expensive. Lower income party members will be less likely to attend.

...and places of entertainment

Yes, Alex - "places of entertainment" tended to be very popular amongst the single gentlemen in my old conference-going days too.

Alex, Geoff...

Enough! Ed.

Is CH planning on doing anything for the spring conference Tim?
No... but any suggestions Andrew?

Hire some very large bouncers.

That’s a comment on the required security arrangements for any CH.com event based on today’s threads, you understand, not the format of the event itself…

Looking forward to Conference in Manchester, it was a really good venue for last year’s Spring Forum. I hope that we can do as much as possible to address the issues of accommodation costs if this is an issue for some, we really do want the broadest range of attendees to show off a growing party that’s moving forward.

Sorry Tim, slap-on-wrist accepted :)

However I think Alex is wrong in one respect. Going to somewhere like Belfast should not be seen as a 'stunt'.

Maybe I'm not clear on where our latest thinking is on organising and campaigning in NI, but as a Unionist party then something like a weekend conference or a candidates' forum would send a good signal that we are serious about preserving the UK&NI as an entity.

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