Conference diary - day one

Conservative conference opened in Manchester at lunchtime on a wet and windy day. Security arrangements were very efficient, with barcodes and scanners used to deliver airport level security yet allow accredited attendees in and out very efficiently.

Inside Manchester Central there was the usual bustle of people from all over the country and lots of exhibitors with a wide range of messages - one of the most striking exhibits this year was a full-size dalek on the BBC stall.

The first session was a private one, the National Conservative Convention which is basically an assembly for the volunteers of the Conservative party consisting of all the constituency, Area and Regional chairmen. The PM and Party chairman attended and both were on good form. Party chairman Greg Hands largely reprised his speech for all attendees and the television cameras in the main hall a little later.

The first couple of hours in the main hall were largely political knockabout, but the tone of the discussion became much more serious when the Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps, rose to speak. He started with a few words about the Blitz when British cities were bombed during World War II - and then reminded us that such experiences, though seventy years in the past here in Britain, are a daily reality of life today in Ukraine.

He spoke about the further help Britain is giving Ukraine, steps being taken to support our NATO allies, and the latest contracts awarded as part the AUKUS agreement with the USA and Australia.



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