Tuesday at Conservative conference 2012: As it happened

Key Points

  • Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has announced plans to change the law on confronting burglars
  • London Mayor Boris Johnson has paid tribute to David Cameron, praising his "firm leadership" and ability to take "tough decisions"
  • Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said NHS staff must become the "best in the world" at looking after the elderly

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  1.  
    0927:

    Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the third day of the Conservatives' annual conference in Birmingham. It's the day when London Mayor Boris Johnson, a hugely popular figure among delegates, makes his address. Among the others giving speeches are Home Secretary Theresa May, Education Secretary Michael Gove and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling will be unveiling his plans to change the law to give greater protection to people who attack burglars.

     
  2.  
    0927:

    Conference has kicked off with the first session of the day. Environment and energy ministers are holding a Q&A with party members, chaired by Stourbridge MP Margot James.

     
  3.  
    0928:

    Energy and climate change minister John Hayes is speaking from the podium. He says that he believes the reason behind his appointment is that he is "energy personified".

     
  4.  
    0928:

    ITV's Tim Gatt tweets: Wonder if these new laws giving householders greater protection against burglars are intended to protect Dave from BoJo breaking into No 10?

     
  5.  
    0929:
    Boris Johnson Boris Johnson had to fight his way through a media scrum when he arrived in Birmingham yesterday
     
  6.  
    0930:

    Energy minister John Hayes tells conference that ordinary people will not suffer energy shortages because of the theories of "cosseted, bourgeois academics" - perhaps signalling that he favours the energy part of his brief over the climate change part.

     
  7.  
    0934:

    Boris Johnson is expected to draw in the crowds when he takes to the stage at around 1100BST. Last night he sought to play down speculation about tensions with David Cameron. He told a meeting of activists that the prime minister was doing "exactly what is needed for this country". Read more here.

     
  8.  
    0938:

    Back to the Q&A with a question on fracking. A party member from the floor says that the practice used to extract shale gas is "not dangerous at all". It could be just as valuable as North Sea oil, he argues. Energy Minister John Hayes agrees that there is a "great opportunity" but we must be mindful of the "geology and geography".

     
  9.  
    0941:
    Royston Rogers Farmer Royston Rogers presses the panel about the government's planned badger cull
     
  10.  
    0945:

    Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is at the podium for his keynote speech, paying tribute to his predecessor Caroline Spelman and accusing Labour of "neglect" of the countryside when they were in power.

     
  11.  
    0948:

    Prime minister David Cameron - who turns 46 today - was on Radio 4's Today programme this morning. You can listen to him talk about Europe, how the UK's economy is rebalancing and whether Boris Johnson should be sent abroad. Listen here.

     
  12.  
    0952:

    "We must radically reform Europe's outdated and monolithic agricultural policy," says Environment Secretary Owen Paterson of the EU's controversial Common Agricultural Policy.

     
  13.  
    0954:

    Environment Secretary Owen Paterson defends trialling a cull of badgers to try to halt the spread of bovine TB. He says that "we need healthy wildlife living alongside healthy cattle" and argues it is necessary to eliminate the "reservoir of TB".

     
  14.  
    0955: David Singleton, news editor Politics Home

    tweets: Environment Secretary Owen Paterson tells Tory conference he's "the only MP to have had two pet badgers" #cpc12 #random

     
  15.  
    0957:

    Environment Secretary Owen Paterson pledges to work with ministerial colleagues and mobile phone companies to improve reception in rural areas.

     
  16.  
    1000:

    Away from the hall, West Midlands police allowed Tory MPs and political journalists to use their football pitch yesterday. The new Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt played the role of linesman as the politicians beat the hacks 4-2 in their annual conference match.

     
  17.  
    1003:

    That's the end of the environment and energy session and conference has adjourned for a short break. Next up is a session on international development, including a speech by Secretary of State Justine Greening.

     
  18.  
    1008:

    Jane Ellison, MP for Battersea is introducing a panel including Tim Montgomerie of Conservative Home and Tory MP Jeremy Lefroy for the international development session.

     
  19.  
    1009:

    International Development Secretary Justine Greening begins her speech, saying she wants to "answer those who say we can't deliver" on development. International aid is not only "right" but the "the smart thing to do" she argues.

     
  20.  
    1011:
    Tory party conference hall Not exactly a packed hall for Justine Greening's first conference speech as International Development Secretary
     
  21.  
    1013:

    ITV's Laura Kuenssberg tweets about a matter relevant to Justine Greening's previous role as transport secretary: I hear announcement on what next for West Coast Main Line will be next Monday - will Virgin keep running it while mess cleared up?

     
  22.  
    1016: Norman Smith, BBC chief political correspondent

    tweets: Boris speech expected to offer "full backing for the PM...difficult decisions in difficult times" #cpc12

     
  23.  
    1019: Norman Smith, BBC chief political correspondent

    tweets: Team Boris say their man "up early, re-drafting (speech), no jog, light breakfast." #cp12 #onlytheimportantnews

     
  24.  
    1021:

    From the BBC's Brian Wheeler in Birmingham: A little reminder for Theresa May, ahead of her big speech this afternoon, of how unhappy rank-and-file cops are at her police reforms. Although judging from the number of officers on duty here it is not all over quite yet.

    Police poster
     
  25.  
    1024:

    George Osborne "went ballistic" when he saw the detail of the government's plans for the NHS, according to a new biography of the chancellor. FT columnist and Osborne biographer Janan Ganesh writes in the Daily Mail today: "The prospect of disruption and private provision proved incendiary to nurses, doctors and other professional bodies. Osborne blamed himself for not spotting the danger." It was the first and only time the chancellor has lost his temper, Ganesh says.

     
  26.  
    1025:

    The World Wildlife Fund want more from Justine Greening's speech. They tweet: Justine Greening now at International Development will work to increase transparency of aid but no mention of the environment.

     
  27.  
    1029:

    A panel discussion is underway, with Justine Greening fielding a question about persuading voters on the doorstep about the importance of international aid. On corruption, she says: "When the British taxpayer spends a pound... we have a right to expect the pound that goes in is the pound that gets through" to those who need aid.

     
  28.  
    1032: Justin Forsyth, CEO of Save the Children

    tweets: Justine Greening gives strong defence of life saving aid and government commitment to both 0.7 promise and improved quality #cpc12

     
  29.  
    1035:

    David Cameron said this morning the government is "raising the bar" for the level of violence people can use against intruders. But is the law as it stands adequate? "Yes", according to the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, who was asked about this last month. Read what Lord Judge had to say to the BBC's Danny Shaw from page seven here.

     
  30.  
    1039:

    Bookies will have to pay out thousands to punters after David Cameron defied their odds to rack up more than 100,000 Twitter followers in a matter of days. Bookies had offered odds of up to 25 to one on the prime minister reaching the target by the end of the Conservative conference. Ladbrokes has now slashed its odds on him reaching one million followers by the end of the year to two to one.

     
  31.  
    1041:

    David Cameron, who only set up his Twitter account at the weekend, tweets: I'm told some bookmakers are regretting laying odds against this account passing 100,000 followers during conference.

     
  32.  
    1045:

    Conference has adjourned for another short break. London Mayor Boris Johnson is expected to take the stage just after 1100.

     
  33.  
    1048:

    One Tory MP not in Birmingham is Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell. Mr Mitchell was accused of calling police officers plebs last month. And now according to the Daily Telegraph he "could be forced to quit... by his own MPs". The paper reports that a "handful" of MPs have contacted senior backbencher Graham Brady with their concerns.

     
  34.  
    1054: MarJay

    sent this comment: As soon as someone enters your home or property without permission in order to commit a crime, all bets are off IMO. In that situation one has no way of telling if the intruder is armed, nor what his intentions are. In that situation then striking them with a nearby object, your fists, legs, elbows etc should be perfectly reasonable. I would keep doing this until the intruder is no longer a threat.

     
  35.  
    1058: Nicholas Watt, The Guardian

    tweets: Five mins till BoJo speech and hall only three quarters full. Was packed at this stage before George Osborne #cpc12

     
  36.  
    1101:

    Conference has resumed with Croydon MP Gavin Barwell introducing London Mayor Boris Johnson to a packed hall. Applause when Mr Barwell says Boris "ended the career of the tax-dodging Ken Livingstone".

     
  37.  
    1102: Tim Shipman, The Daily Mail

    tweets: Colleague sits down in vertical cheap seats for Boris: 'I have vertigo.' Wag seated nearby: 'Not as much as Boris has...'

     
  38.  
    1103:

    "The Geiger counter of Boris-mania is about to go 'zoink' off the scale," says MP Gavin Barwell before Boris Johnson takes the stage.

     
  39.  
    1105:
    David Cameron The prime minister spotted in the crowd awaiting Boris Johnson's arrival
     
  40.  
    1106:

    Boris Johnson thanks supporters for his victory in the London mayoral election and says: "If we can win in the middle of a recession and wipe out a 17 point Labour lead, then I know that David Cameron can win in 2015."

     
  41.  
    1107:

    Applause as Boris Johnson wishes David Cameron a happy birthday, having located him in the hall. He thanks Mr Cameron for calling him a "blonde mop" in a newspaper. "If I'm a mop, then you, David, are a broom" cleaning up the country, the mayor exclaims.

     
  42.  
    1108:
    David Cameron Best of friends? David Cameron shares a joke from the audience with his rival
     
  43.  
    1109:

    Boris Johnson says of the London 2012 Olympics: "The volunteers showed a kindness and a friendliness that I think we had forgotten about our country," adding that "the only transport malfunction was a zip wire".

     
  44.  
    1110: Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian

    tweets: Cam seated seven rows from the front. Curious optics: man of the people among the delegates or to avoid too much proximity to Boris?

     
  45.  
    1111:

    Boris Johnson gives cross-party thanks to Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Tessa Jowell and even Ken Livingstone for the success of the Olympics to hesitant, even surprised, applause.

     
  46.  
    1112:

    A bigger round of applause greets the mayor's mention of former Prime Minister John Major - thanked for founding the National Lottery and improving funding for sport.

     
  47.  
    1113:
    Boris Johnson A conference first: Labour's Ken Livingstone gets a round of applause as the Tory mayor pays tribute to his predecessor's contribution to the Olympics
     
  48.  
    1114:

    "We have to look first at the poorest, the neediest and those who cannot easily compete," Boris Johnson tells conference, defending the London living wage, paid, he says "voluntarily by some of the swankiest banks" and other employers.

     
  49.  
    1115: Mehdi Hasan, Huffington Post

    tweets: Boris Johnson thanks Tony Blair & Ken Livingstone for their role in the Olympics - something Ed Miliband failed to do in his speech...

     
  50.  
    1116:
    Tory conference hall From the BBC's Nick Sutton - a view from the top. It's a packed hall for Boris Johnson's speech
     
  51.  
    1117: James Kirkup, The Daily Telegraph

    tweets: Boris highlights London schools teaching Latin, and can't resist a Magna Carta joke at David Cameron's expense. #CPC

     
  52.  
    1120:

    Boris Johnson tells conference that crime in London is down, saying that in order to create the conditions for economic success "you have to make sure that the place is safe". He adds: "You're four times more likely to be murdered in New York" than in London.

     
  53.  
    1122: Benedict Brogan, The Daily Telegraph

    tweets: Word on the concourse is senior figures urging Andrew Mitchell to stand down btw

     
  54.  
    1123:

    The mayor hails the new "Routemaster" buses as the "cleanest, greenest new buses in Europe" and gets a round of applause when he mentions they have conductors. He says Ken Livingstone promised to bring conductors back but failed to do so. "We not only keep our own promises, we keep Labour ones as well," Boris Johnson declares.

     
  55.  
    1124: Pankaj Pathak

    tweets: Very effective from #Boris because he is being funny, sincere and factual and isn't playing the buffoon. He also looks neater than usual.

     
  56.  
    1125:
    Andrew Mitchell rosette The Tory chief whip is still popular with at least one conference delegate.
     
  57.  
    1126:

    "The prime minister and I danced Gangnam style the other day," Boris Johnson says, adding that Koreans watch the rapper's video on TVs with "aerials made in London".

     
  58.  
    1127:

    "Every single chocolate Hob Nob in the world is made in London," the mayor proclaims.

     
  59.  
    1128: James Lyons, The Daily Mirror

    tweets: Boris laughing at dave as well as himself in carefully crafted speech #cpc12

     
  60.  
    1129:

    "We've got the right government in Westminster... and I will fight to keep it there," Boris Johnson tells conference.

     
  61.  
    1130:

    Boris Johnson describes Labour's "two Eds" as "unreformed, unpunished and unrepentant about what they did to the economy".

     
  62.  
    1131:

    A standing ovation greets the end of Boris Johnson's speech and he thanks the conference crowd before leaving the stage.

     
  63.  
    1132:
    David Cameron David Cameron rose to his feet with the conference hall to applaud Boris Johnson's speech
     
  64.  
    1133:
    Boris Johnson The London mayor leaves the stage, speech in hand
     
  65.  
    1136:

    After a short break, a new conference session has started. Next up is a speech by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, expected around 1140.

     
  66.  
    1138: The BBC's Evan Davis

    tweets: Boris's speech was most distinctive in sounding broadly positive. Others often sound like they hate half the country.

     
  67.  
    1140:

    Tory MP Chris Skidmore introduces the session on health, praising the NHS and saying the government will preserve it.

     
  68.  
    1141: Nick Robinson Political editor

    tweets: Economy needs Olympics solution - training, investment, planning. Workers need living wage. Poor need a job says ....Ed M? Ed B? Er no. Boris

     
  69.  
    1143:

    Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt takes the stage for his keynote speech.

     
  70.  
    1144: johnpc

    tweets: Listening to Boris on Radio 5 Live. Very good on his feet. #Boris #5Live

     
  71.  
    1145:

    Jeremy Hunt praises the NHS, saying people should be "deeply proud to live in a country where everyone, regardless of circumstances, can get the best healthcare".

     
  72.  
    1146:
    Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt tells delegates Labour does not have a monopoly on the NHS
     
  73.  
    1148: Vanessa Morriss ‏

    tweets: Even when Boris is trying not to steal the thunder, he can't help but do so. He's incapable of giving a bad speech. #boris #cpc12

     
  74.  
    1150:

    Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says: "The NHS does not belong to Labour... no party has a monopoly on compassion."

     
  75.  
    1151:

    Jeremy Hunt talks about the NHS changes in England brought in under his predecessor Andrew Lansley. "They are brave, they are right and they will make our NHS stronger," he says.

     
  76.  
    1152: Zac Goldsmith, Conservative MP for Richmond

    tweets: Stuck in a Birmingham traffic jam, but fellow congestees more or less all smiling. They must have been listening to Boris on R5

     
  77.  
    1155: @DavidsonRoger

    tweets: NHS will be v pleased Hunt wants to help service adapt to needs of older population (though need to see what this means in practice)

     
  78.  
    1158:

    Jeremy Hunt says ministers want to implement a cap on social care costs, as recommended by the Dilnot Commission on funding, "as soon as we are able".

     
  79.  
    1159:

    Jeremy Hunt's speech is over and he leaves the stage to applause. Now its Education Secretary Michael Gove's turn.

     
  80.  
    1200:

    Boris Johnson is a guest on the BBC's Daily Politics starting now on BBC 2. You can watch it live on.

     
  81.  
    1202:
    Andrew Lansley Former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley discusses his replacement's speech
     
  82.  
    1203:

    Chris Skidmore MP is back on stage, attacking the heckling by a Labour conference delegate of a schoolgirl who praised her academy school last week: "There is nothing One Nation about attacking school children who want a better life for themselves."

     
  83.  
    1204:

    And now Michael Gove takes to the stage to begin the education session.

     
  84.  
    1205: Steve Richards, The Independent

    tweets: It is a sad reflection on the current lack of charisma in politics that a Boris speech generates such unique excitement.

     
  85.  
    1206:

    The education secretary and London mayor will both be appearing on Radio 4's World at One programme in an hour. Listen on the BBC's online radio player here.

     
  86.  
    1208:
    Michael Gove Michael Gove applauds the contribution of an academy trust headteacher
     
  87.  
    1210:

    Jackie Powell, headteacher of Perry Beeches Free School in Birmingham, is addressing conference.

     
  88.  
    1212:

    Also taking part are Liam Nolan, executive headteacher of Perry Beeches II The Academy, and Geraldine Henry, the mother of a Perry Beeches student. The free school is a part of the academy trust.

     
  89.  
    1214:
    Geraldine Henry And here's Geraldine Henry, a parent from Perry Beeches Free School, addressing the hall
     
  90.  
    1215:

    Fraser Nelson from The Spectator tells the Daily Politics that George Osborne "had no good news" to tell in his speech on Monday and even his announcement on employee shares didn't leave delegates "skipping down the aisles with delight".

     
  91.  
    1218:

    Meanwhile the BBC's Deborah McGurran reports that outspoken Tory MP Nadine Dorries has warned of a possible challenge to David Cameron's leadership. "There is an atmosphere of despondency among the activists," the Mid Bedfordshire MP said, adding: "If David Cameron looks as if he's going to lose the 2015 election I think a challenge to his leadership is a real threat indeed."

     
  92.  
    1220:

    Michael Gove is speaking from the podium, praising "the academy and free school movement" and saying that even some private schools want to join in.

     
  93.  
    1222:

    "Academies and free schools are inclusive - they are for every child," the education secretary insists, adding that the schools are to be found "overwhelmingly" in underprivileged areas.

     
  94.  
    1224:

    "It's a scandal that there are so many young people... who are never given the chance to go to university," Education Secretary Michael Gove says.

     
  95.  
    1225:

    Political editor of Grazia magazine, Gaby Hinsliff tells the Daily Politics that Boris Johnson's humour is "incredibly disarming" and means he can get away with things other politicians can't.

     
  96.  
    1226:

    On the Daily Politics, Boris Johnson rules out standing to be an MP before his term as London mayor is up in four years time. But what about after 2016? "It's very difficult to say what I'll be doing and what I'll want to do," he says.

     
  97.  
    1228: eylanezekiel

    tweets: "...dark secret in our education..."? Inequality! says #Gove. not sure it is a secret. #cpc12

     
  98.  
    1231:

    Michael Gove says that union general secretaries had advised him not to "single out" certain schools for praise as it "makes the others feel uncomfortable". He describes this attitude as part of "the soft bigotry of low expectations".

     
  99.  
    1232: Mario Creatura

    tweets: 1 in 80 inner city kids fail to go to a good university. The waste, the economic and social failure. Gove pledges to end this. Good. #cpc12

     
  100.  
    1235:

    "Britain can deliver!" says Michael Gove and leaves the stage to applause. Conference is adjourning for lunch. Home Secretary Theresa May and Justice Secretary Chris Grayling will speak during the afternoon session.

     
  101.  
    1237:

    Boris Johnson is asked on the Daily Politics what he has bought David Cameron for his birthday: "I haven't yet lashed out on a present" he says, but adds that he did wish him a happy birthday during his conference speech.

     
  102.  
    1239:

    On the Daily Politics, Conservative peer Lord Forsyth says there would have to be a "renegotiation" of the UK's relationship with Europe in the event of closer EU integration. "It's that or it's out," the former Scottish secretary says.

     
  103.  
    1243:

    Justice Secretary Chris Grayling tells the Daily Politics about his proposals to give more protection to people who confront burglars in their home. He says "people do hit out in high pressure situations" and they should be treated as "victims of crime rather than the perpetrators". He concedes that cases of people being jailed for using force against burglars are "relatively rare".

     
  104.  
    1245: Under-Used

    sent this comment: This is dangerous rabble rousing that's probably been designed simply as a crowd pleaser, and without much thought for the consequences that will follow. There are questions as to whether this is a real problem in the first place as most burglaries occur while the householder is out, and the law already supports the use of reasonable force by the householder.

     
  105.  
    1248:

    Missed Boris Johnson calling David Cameron a "broom" and George Osborne a "dust pan"? Watch the clip here.

     
  106.  
    1252:

    Conservative peer Lord Forsyth has criticised George Osborne on the Daily Politics for failing to set out ways to get the economy moving, likening the chancellor to the Dickens character, Mr Micawber: "He's hoping something will turn up". Lord Forsyth said the government needs to be "more radical, and that means tax reductions and finding ways to finance them." He also suggested that increases in overseas aid could be deferred rather than cuts being made to benefits.

     
  107.  
    1254:

    Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt tells the Daily Politics that NHS spending is still going up in real terms "but by a very small amount". He says that represents "a huge commitment" in the context of cuts across government departments.

     
  108.  
    1257:

    Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says he is "incredibly thrilled to do the job I'm doing and I want to throw myself into the NHS, which is a great system".

     
  109.  
    1259:

    Conservative peer Lord Forsyth tells the Daily Politics that Jeremy Hunt got off to "a ropey start" by getting involved in "an unfortunate row" about the lowering of abortion limits.

     
  110.  
    1305:

    Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt revealed this morning that his mother and father both worked in the NHS. Here's our full story on his speech: NHS must help elderly, says Hunt

     
  111.  
    1308:

    London Mayor Boris Johnson is having a very busy few hours. A rally last night, a speech this morning and then a host of media interviews - he's on BBC Radio 4's The World at One at the moment.

     
  112.  
    1312:

    Former Conservative deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft tells BBC Radio 4's The World at One that Boris Johnson is popular with the party because "he's a comedian". He points out that there would have to be a long process before the current London mayor could ever become party leader, including having to get himself elected as an MP again.

     
  113.  
    1315:

    Away from the Conservative Party conference it seems that the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has decided not to take any further action following a complaint about Labour MP Keith Vaz.

     
  114.  
    1320:

    London Mayor Boris Johnson, speaking to BBC Radio 4's The World at One, has renewed his call for action (away from Heathrow) on airport capacity in the south east of England. "We've got a great opportunity now to build on the success of the Olympics... and sort out some of these long-term problems".

     
  115.  
    1325:

    Education Secretary Michael Gove followed Boris Johnson as an interviewee on BBC Radio 4's The World at One and said he would not "endorse anyone" to succeed David Cameron as Conservative leader.

     
  116.  
    1326:

    Michael Gove tells the BBC that he doesn't personally have ambitions to be prime minister. (he also says he's happy to be called a J-cloth by the London mayor - they're useful, he says)

     
  117.  
    Wajeeha, London

    email: I do admire Boris's love for the country. It's something he needs to continue spreading, a short burst during the Olympics was great but we need more of it.

     
  118.  
    1329:

    Education Secretary Michael Gove was asked on BBC Radio 4's The World at One why he didn't seem to be very popular with the public. He said that unpopularity was often the case when someone is "involved in reform" and "changing stuff". He added: "If you want personal popularity, appear on X Factor - don't be a cabinet minister."

     
  119.  
    Opondo

    sent this comment: I've always said that the law should only protect those who respect it.

    If you're in the process of committing a crime, you should have no protection whatsoever under law, either civil or criminal. That way, if a burglar, thug, or any other criminal comes to significant harm, on their own head be it.

     
  120.  
    1333:

    Michael Wolkind QC, who acted as defence counsel for Tony Martin, tells BBC Radio 4's The World at One that "there's really no room" for "revenge or state-sponsored revenge". He says that householders are only convicted for using excessive force against burglars in "rare cases". He argues that usually "a jury is going to be sympathetic".

     
  121.  
    1336:

    A reminder that law and order is on the agenda this afternoon. Conference resumes with Home Secretary Theresa May at around 1430 BST. Then it's Justice Secretary Chris Grayling who is expected to spell out how plans to give people more legal protection if they use violence against burglars.

     
  122.  
    1337:

    Former Defence Secretary Liam Fox tells BBC Radio 4's The World at One he wants to see faster and deeper spending cuts so there can be tax cuts, especially for businesses.

     
  123.  
    1341:

    Liam Fox tells the BBC's News Channel it's "clear" David Cameron now wants a referendum on Europe. Because there's a coalition government "it's very unlikely to happen before the next general election". But an offer of a referendum should be in the next Tory manifesto.

     
  124.  
    1345:

    The largest teaching union NASUWT has responded to Education Secretary Michael Gove's earlier attack. General secretary Chris Keates says the education secretary's speech incites "teachers to break the law" by flouting their vote to take industrial action.

     
  125.  
    1355:

    From BBC political correspondent Vicki Young, in Birmingham: Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, has told a fringe meeting that he's likely to make a statement to Parliament next week about the West Coast Main Line. He said the government wouldn't retreat from using the market place to deliver a great rail service. Mr McLoughlin has ordered two investigations into what went wrong with the franchise process and he said he'd told those carrying out the reviews that if there were "serious messages" he wanted to hear them.

     
  126.  
    1404:

    BBC education correspondent Sean Coughlan gives his verdict on Michael Gove's speech: "The education secretary borrowed an old phrase from George Bush - the 'soft bigotry of low expectations' - but his message revealed a subtle shift towards a new education system which could compete in a fast-changing, skill-hungry global economy." See the full story, and Sean's commentary, here.

     
  127.  
    1414:
    Theresa May's shoes Feline footwear: Theresa May's leopard print shoes are once again stalking the conference centre
     
  128.  
    1422:
    Michael Gove My name is Michael Gove: The education secretary reverted to specs for his speech, having opted for contact lenses in recent years. Was he modelling the look on that of the Tory supporter, Harry Palmer actor, and near neamesake, Sir Michael Caine?
     
  129.  
    1430:

    Party members are back from their lunchtime fringe meetings and the afternoon session has begun. Home Secretary Theresa May is due to speak in a few minutes' time.

     
  130.  
    1434: @keenecomms

    tweets: Everyone at conference still talking about boris johnson's speech #cpc12

     
  131.  
    1436:

    Conservative MP Jessica Lee is introducing Theresa May as "one of the first women ever to be appointed to a great office of state."

     
  132.  
    1439:
    Theresa May Jessica Lee welcomes Home Secretary Theresa May to the stage
     
  133.  
    1440:

    The home secretary begins her speech, saying: "Wasn't it great to say goodbye, at long last, to Abu Hamza and four other terror suspects last Friday?" to loud applause. More applause when she pays tribute to the police for delivering a safe Olympic and Paralympic Games.

     
  134.  
    1442: @SandraJLloyd

    tweets: OK Theresa May you got rid of Abu Hamza but what else have you actually achieved? #cpc12

     
  135.  
    1445:

    Theresa May quotes the words of Margaret Thatcher in response to critics of government policy on the deficit: "Those who urge us to relax the squeeze are not being kind, or compassionate, or caring... they are asking us to do again the very thing that caused the problems in the first place."

     
  136.  
    1446:

    The home secretary is criticising Labour's record on immigration. She points to London, saying: "Almost half of all primary school children speak English as a second language."

     
  137.  
    1447:

    Home Secretary Theresa May says that "in some cases, uncontrolled mass immigration can displace workers and undercut wages".

     
  138.  
    1448:

    The home secretary promises: "We will reduce and control immigration."

     
  139.  
    1450:

    Home Secretary Theresa May tells conference: "I still believe we should scrap the Human Rights Act altogether."

     
  140.  
    1452:

    Theresa May says the recent murders of two police officers in Manchester were "a dreadful reminder of the risks police officers take". She pays another tribute to the police: "We have the finest police officers in the world and we owe them all a deep debt of gratitude."

     
  141.  
    1454:
    Tory party conference audience member Is the Michael Gove look catching on?
     
  142.  
    1455:

    The home secretary is defending the government's plans to increase surveillance of electronic communications. She says new laws are needed to stop "terrorists, criminals and paedophiles" taking advantage of new technology.

     
  143.  
    1457:

    Theresa May defends her civil liberties credentials saying: "I don't want to read everybody's emails... but do we want to see the internet become an unpoliced space? No... We are the Conservative Party, not the libertarian party."

     
  144.  
    1559:

    The home secretary says that police and crime commissioners "will need to stand up for the public and cut crime and if they don't, they will be voted out of their job". She says Conservative candidates will have "a laser-like focus on cutting crime".

     
  145.  
    1500:

    Theresa May describes Labour's candidates for the police and crime commissioner elections as "Lord Prescott and the has-beens". The former deputy prime minister is standing to be the commissioner in Humberside.

     
  146.  
    1502:

    Theresa May ends her speech, describing the Conservatives as "the party that will win the next general election".

     
  147.  
    1504:
    conference audience The conference hall shows its appreciation for Theresa May's speech
     
  148.  
    1505:

    The home affairs and justice session continues as Damian Green takes the stage. He says he is proof that men can multi-task, being a minister in both the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice.

     
  149.  
    1507:

    Damian Green compares new Justice Secretary Chris Grayling with his predecessor Ken Clarke: "Theresa used to lock them up and Ken let them out. Now... Theresa locks them up and Chris throws away the key."

     
  150.  
    1510:

    After his speech this morning, do Conservative Party members think Boris Johnson could be a future Tory leader? Read what some conference delegates said here.

     
  151.  
    1512:

    Policing minister Damian Green says police and crime commissioners (PCCs) are not a threat to the police: "Change is always hard. But let me be clear today - the only people who have to fear the arrival of PCCs are the criminals."

     
  152.  
    1513:

    In her speech Theresa May announced that the victims of some crimes will have an input into the type of punishment the offender receives. The home secretary said the law will be changed "so when a criminal receives an out-of-court community punishment, the victim will be given the power to choose the form it takes."

     
  153.  
    1515:

    Damian Green describes Boris Johnson as the first police and crime commissioner. The mayor has overall responsibility for policing in London. "No one now would reverse the decision to give Londoners a say," Mr Green says.

     
  154.  
    1516:

    Boris Johnson was interviewed by Radio 4's Martha Kearney earlier. Again he brought the crowds with him. You can watch a video of the interview on YouTube here.

     
  155.  
    1520:

    In his speech, policing minister Damian Green argued that elected commissioners would not mean political interference with police "operational decisions". He joked about the time he was arrested and his Westminster office searched over Whitehall leaks when he was in opposition: "You won't be surprised to hear that I feel very strongly that any interference by politicians in who should be arrested is wrong."

     
  156.  
    1524: Gary O'Donoghue Political correspondent, BBC News

    Home Secretary Theresa May has told the Conservative Party conference that some victims of anti-social crime will be given the chance to choose which punishment is handed to the perpetrator. She said the victim would be "given a list of options. They might want something restorative or punitive. They might want it to be carried out nearby or as far away as possible. But what matters is that the punishment will be chosen by the victim."

     
  157.  
    1527:

    The home affairs and justice session continues with a panel discussion featuring Conservative candidates in the elections for police and crime commissioners.

     
  158.  
    1529:
    Tory conference debate Damian Green chairs the debate between candidates
     
  159.  
    1532: Sarah Lyall, New York Times

    tweets: Scenes from the Tory conference: Boris inside making amusing remarks; Brian May outside distributing save-the-badger pins

     
  160.  
    1536:

    Justice Secretary Chris Grayling takes to the stage for his keynote speech.

     
  161.  
    1537:

    From the BBC's Brian Wheeler, in Birmingham: Attorney General Dominic Grieve has rejected claims by Chris Grayling that Britain could opt-out of the European Convention on Human Rights if the Tories win the next election. "There is no government policy of withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights," Mr Grieve told a fringe meeting.

     
  162.  
    1538:

    From the BBC's Brian Wheeler, in Birmingham: Mr Grieve said Mr Grayling must have been referring, in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, to an review of the operation of the ECHR and the Human Rights Act. He said the EHCR was "not perfect" but it had been "hugely beneficial" to the UK.

     
  163.  
    1539:

    Chris Grayling opens his speech by praising what he calls an "inspirational project" - a prison restaurant, open to the public but staffed by prisoners learning a trade, at High Down Prison in Surrey.

     
  164.  
    1540:

    Justice Secretary Chris Grayling says that many people jailed over last year's riots were "really shocked" they had been caught and punished. He argues that too many criminals think that nothing will happen to them if they commit crimes.

     
  165.  
    1541:
    Chris Grayling Chris Grayling addresses delegates
     
  166.  
    1543:

    The justice secretary spells out plans to protect people who defend their homes against intruders, saying: "None of us would really know how we would react if someone broke into our house. Householders acting instinctively and in self-defence are victims, not criminals."

     
  167.  
    1544:

    Chris Grayling tells conference there will be a change in the law which would mean that householders using force against intruders "that in the cold light of day might seem over the top" would find the law on their side, as long as the force used was not "grossly disproportionate".

     
  168.  
    1545:
    Justice department front bench The justice secretary pays tribute to his new front-bench team
     
  169.  
    1546:

    The justice secretary is applauded when he announces a policy of "two strikes and you're out". Offenders who commit two serious, violent crimes will receive an automatic life sentence.

     
  170.  
    1547:

    Justice Secretary Chris Grayling tells conference: "I want to say to offenders - we will send you to prison, but we want to change things to make sure you don't come back."

     
  171.  
    1549: Sadiq Khan MP, shadow justice secretary

    tweets: Grayling says he'll deal w issue of self-defence against burglars once & for all but they said that 12 months ago when they changed the law

     
  172.  
    1552:

    The Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, earlier welcomed Chris Grayling's plans to clarify the legal protection for those who attack intruders. You can listen to chairman Paul McKeever interviewed on BBC Radio 4's The World at One here.

     
  173.  
    1553: Norman Smith, BBC chief political correspondent

    tweets: Too many community sentences "deliver no punishment at all" - Justice Secretary Chris Grayling

     
  174.  
    1555:

    Chris Grayling ends his speech promising to deliver a "tough, fair justice system", earning himself a slightly more enthusiastic standing ovation than Theresa May received.

     
  175.  
    1557:
    conference audience Tories in the hall rising to applaud the end of Chris Grayling's speech
     
  176.  
    1600: Javed Khan, CEO Victim Support

    tweets: #cpc12 we welcome govt putting victims needs first in self defence, community sentencing, information sharing and giving them a voice.

     
  177.  
    1610:

    Home Secretary Theresa May tells the BBC News Channel that she wants police and crime commissioners to be "a crucial part" of her proposals for victims to have a say in punishments for anti-social behaviour. She says the measures "will require legislation".

     
  178.  
    1613:

    When asked if tough proposals on crime are part of a bid to reclaim the "party of law and order" tag, Theresa May tells the BBC: "We have very good credentials as Conservatives on law and order. I think people recognise that."

     
  179.  
    1614:

    The home secretary says: "We have been able to reduce student visas by 90,000." She says she wants to bring immigration "under control".

     
  180.  
    1618:

    Nick Fluck, vice president of the Law Society, asks if there is a need to change the law on the rights of householders when there have been so few prosecutions of people who have used force against intruders. He tells the BBC News Channel that care needs to be taken to ensure the proposal "doesn't become a vigilante's charter".

     
  181.  
    1626:

    From BBC Scotland's David Porter, in Birmingham: Former Defence Secretary Liam Fox has launched a scathing attack on the SNP's defence policy for an independent Scotland. He told party activists in Birmingham that the SNP's claim that it could give up nuclear weapons but remain in NATO was pure ''Alice in Wonderland''.

     
  182.  
    1630:

    BBC Scotland's David Porter continues: In an attack on the SNP's defence policy for an independent Scotland, former Defence Secretary Liam Fox accused the nationalists of looking at the armed forces ''as though they were at a pick 'n' mix counter in a sweet shop''. Dr Fox said the UK's armed forces were integrated and could not be separated easily.

     
  183.  
    1633: Tim Shipman, Daily Mail

    tweets: Can you hear that sigh of relief? It's birthday boy Dave being told Boris has finally left the building

     
  184.  
    1637:

    Here's a quick roundup of newspaper reaction to today's events at conference. The Times leads with the story of the appearance of a certain mayor of London: "Tory ovation for loyal Boris Johnson as he urges more tax cuts"

     
  185.  
    1641:

    If you want to keep track of all the policy announcements from this week's conference, Tory grassroots website ConservativeHome is keeping a rolling blog here.

     
  186.  
    1645:

    The Daily Mail takes a sterner line on all the "Boris-mania". Its headline reads: "Is it time to get serious, Boris? Mayor of London refuses to rule out running for the White House after speech packed with jokes but little substance"

     
  187.  
    1650:

    The Guardian's take is: "Boris Johnson vows to help save David Cameron from the 'two Eds'" while the Daily Telegraph concentrates on a potential area of disagreement between mayor and prime minister with: "Boris: I back Cameron on everything (except third runway)"

     
  188.  
    1654:

    That's the end of our live coverage for today. We'll be back tomorrow when all eyes will be on David Cameron as he makes his keynote speech. The prime minister is due on stage at around 11:15BST. In the meantime, all the latest conference news is available on the BBC News website.

     

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