A rather rainy, but welcoming, Manchester played home to the Conservative Party for four days of speeches, debate and free tote bags. Here are some highlights – and low moments – from their annual conference, the first with Boris Johnson at the helm.
‘Get Brexit Done’
There’s always a conference slogan, but few are as blunt as the one that adorned the banners in the convention centre at Manchester. Just in case anyone was unsure about the government’s top priority, this three word soundbite was repeated from the stage in speech-after-speech.
The PM repeated the message in his speech on Wednesday.
“Let us be in no doubt that the alternative is no-deal,” he said, lapping up the applause from those already on his side.
“That is not an outcome we want, it is not an outcome we seek at all – but let me tell you this conference, it is an outcome for which we are ready.”
The throngs of MPs and party members had barely woken for the first day of conference when the event was overshadowed by a column in a Sunday newspaper.
Journalist Charlotte Edwardes wrote in the Sunday Times that Mr Johnson had squeezed her inner thigh under a table during a lunch in 1999 – a time when he was editor of the Spectator.
By Sunday evening, a denial had been issued by No 10, but Ms Edwardes doubled down, tweeting: “If the prime minister doesn’t recollect the incident then clearly I have a better memory than he does.”
Other MPs waded into the row – with the likes of Health Secretary Matt Hancock and former minister Amber Rudd saying they believed Ms Edwardes, while Chancellor Sajid Javid and Chief Whip Mark Spencer said they believed their boss.
On Monday, the PM was faced with a barrage of questions about his conduct, and repeatedly denied the incident had occurred.
Come Tuesday, the questions were still coming and debate was rife on the airwaves about the effect the allegations would have on Mr Johnson’s premiership.
But when raised at a few fringe meetings, party members shouted “irrelevant”, and it seemed – rightly or wrongly – that for many Tories, the admiration of their leader remained steadfast.
3) Spend, spend, spend
Conservatives love to attack Labour for spending beyond the country’s means.
But there were a few murmurs at the coffee stands in Manchester about the Tories’ own spending spree.
There was £25bn for roads, £5bn for broadband, rises in the National Living Wage and boosts for hospital funding.
As with all conferences, this wasn’t all new money – some had been announced before or came from existing budgets.
However, it was quite a contrast to see the party that hammered home austerity for almost a decade to switch tactics.
Chancellor Sajid Javid even claimed the Tories were now “the party of the workers” to loud applause from the gathered throngs.
Sajid Javid’s mum
The Conservative Party would be the first to admit they aren’t top of the ranks when it comes to diversity.
Figures from the Mile End Institute and Queen Mary University showed 71% of the membership were male and 97% were white.
So when the chancellor took to the stage and spoke to his mum in Punjabi, it wasn’t your average Monday at the Tory Party conference.
Mr Javid told members how she been proud when the first Asians moved into Coronation Street in Manchester 20 years ago.
But now his family were the first Asians to have moved into Downing Street.
“Mummy did you ever think we’d be here today?” he asked her.
5) ‘Mortified’ MP booted out
And finally, it wouldn’t be a party conference without a bust-up, right?
But this really wasn’t the one we were expecting.
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Tory MP for the Cotswolds, was asked to leave the event after he clashed with staff on the conference floor.
He was trying to get into one of the rooms where if you are not on the list you are not coming in, and wanted to bring a guest.
But after Sir Geoffrey’s friend was denied a pass, there was, what he called, “a minor verbal misunderstanding” – and what was described on Twitter as “a kerfuffle”.
The room went on lockdown, security staff were involved, and crowds of journalists were outside trying to get to the bottom of the fuss.
Sir Geoffrey has apologised “reservedly” and packed his bags.
But a Conservative Party spokesman called the incident “totally unacceptable” and said it was “establishing all of the facts to see if further action is necessary”.
A memorable end to a conference indeed.