Party conference season is back, and we couldn’t be more excited. The parties are ready to welcome their members to the city of their venue, and not all of them will be excited to hear what they have to say. There are many new fresh faces amongst the top of each party, and this is a test to see whether their members are satisfied. Conference season always brings drama and we can’t wait. Below is a guide of when and where the party conferences are, and what to expect!
Liberal Democrats – Brighton, 15-18th September
The Lib Dems’ conference has already kicked off, and there has undoubtedly been some interesting moments from the event. Sir Vince Cable is attempting to reform the party and create a new “centrist movement”. The focus around the conference has obviously been about the call for a “People’s Vote”. Gina Miller, the prominent remainer who challenged the government on Brexit in court, said that a “sensible third party is desperately needed in Britain”.
There was speculation that Gina Miller was going to use the speech as her leadership announcement, but she said quite the opposite! Although the Liberal Democrats appeal to a vast number of people in this country, their constant moaning about Brexit, and the fact that their leader is possibly the dullest man in Britain, is a slight issue. The party needs to move on and discuss other policies other than Brexit!
UKIP – Birmingham, 21-22nd September
UKIP will be going into their party conference with a lot of confidence. The party has finally recovered from their disastrous couple of years since Nigel Farage stepped down as their leader. Gerad Batten MEP has been an excellent leader, membership has increased and the party has doubled their polling figures ever since the release of Theresa May’s “Chequers Plan”.
However, UKIP must now capitalise on this momentum if they want to return to their glory days before the referendum. This could be far harder than some may think, as an influx of far-right party members has triggered the debate about whether to let Tommy Robinson into the party. Although Tommy is a popular figure amongst the public, the real focus should be about Brexit and stopping Theresa May’s “Chequers plan”. This could certainly be an interesting conference to watch!
Labour – Liverpool, 23-26th September
Jeremy Corbyn will enter his third party conference as leader with utter happiness and excitement. The current government is on the verge of collapse and Corbyn has always said his party is ready “to win” the next General Election. There is no reason why this conference shouldn’t be a success for Labour. For the first time in Labour’s history since Clement Attlee, the party membership, the NEC, and the trade unions all support the leader.
However, Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis over recent months will be a talking point. Labour knows that if they do not genuinely show that they are tackling anti-Semitism, then they will have a huge problem at the next General Election. Furthermore, calls for Corbyn and his cabinet to back a second EU referendum will crop up, and yet again the issue of party bullying primarily by Momentum. This conference should go smoothly, but there is a chance it won’t!
Conservative – Birmingham, 30th-3rd October
All eyes will be on Theresa May at this conference, and whether she has another disastrous speech. This is a crucial moment for Theresa May, as she knows her Chequers Plan is disliked by the majority of Conservative MP’s and probably most of the membership. There is even a possibility that she could be booed on stage! The Conservative Party is known for being ruthless to its leaders that are struggling. The prime example is Ian Duncan Smith; who just two weeks after his conference speech in 2003 was ousted by his own MP’s.
It wouldn’t be surprising if Theresa May spent as little time on Brexit as possible in her speech. Instead, she should focus on the record numbers of people in work, and the ever-improving economy. The Conservatives are a party that believes in opportunity, wealth creation, and business, all of which this government has been successful at. Theresa’s task for this conference is to rally the party membership behind her, and that is a tough ask!
Plaid Cymru – Cardigan, 5-6th October
Leanne Wood’s party are going through a mixed period. Their results over the last few years have been disappointing; the Welsh assembly elections in 2016 demonstrated this by gaining only one seat in the assembly and only a 2% increase in their vote. Leanne Wood has been facing calls to resign or step aside and to make way for a fresh leader.
Nevertheless, the party will be hoping to increase its seats in the 2021 Welsh assembly elections and become a serious contender to take over Labour and govern Wales. This will be an interesting conference as it has the serious potential to send the party into chaos, a lot is riding on Leanne Wood to either confirm and reassure her position or resign.
Greens – Bristol – 6-7th October
The Green Party is yet to gain some proper momentum and this conference could be a complete game changer for the party. This year the UK has seen unprecedented heat levels throughout the Summer, and the Winter also had the same drama with “beast from the east”. Therefore, the Greens will be hoping to capitalise on this last year of eventful weather and show the public that climate change must be taken seriously.
Caroline Lucas is co-leader and has always had a strong liking in the party, so people will be hoping she and her co-leader, Jonathan Bartley, will make a serious impact at the next round of local elections in preparing for the next General Election. The Green Party must have a breakthrough like UKIP did in 2014 otherwise they will always remain on 1 MP and they will never be considered a serious force in British politics. Their conference is being held in Bristol, which was a key target seat at the last election!