Transport Secretary Mark Harper says ‘some people won’t like’ Rishi Sunak’s HS2 decision

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said ‘some people won’t like’ Rishi Sunak’s decision on HS2.

Speaking at a ConservativeHome fringe event, Mr Harper said the Prime Minister would ‘take the time to make the decisions correctly’ and ‘set them out in his own time and not be bounced into it by the media’.

He added: ‘When he has reached conclusions, he, as you saw two weeks ago when he did his speech about net zero, he will set them out and he will explain why he makes the decisions that he does.

‘And some people won’t like them, and that’s OK.’

Pictures show heckler Andrew Boff and London Assembly chair being escorted by police from Conservative conference

Tory London Assembly chair Andrew Boff was ejected from Suella Braverman’s speech at the Conservative conference, accusing her of making his party look ‘transphobic’.

He was led out the conference by a police officer and a another man. He was wearing a rainbow lanyard around his neck.

Andrew Boff said that he felt he needed to challenge the Home Secretary’s views.

‘Words like that in the forum of the party that I love need to be challenged,’ he said.

‘I went into the speech was I was interested to hear more, because all I had heard previously were reports about what she had said.

‘And as much as I love the press, those reports aren’t always accurate. I did want to hear from her own mouth what her views were and they were views that need challenged.

‘When you hear bad views in a party that you love you challenge them.’

Andrew Boff accused the Home Secretary of ‘vilifying’ gay and transgender people.

He told the PA news agency: ‘This Home Secretary was basically vilifying gay people and trans people by this attack on LGBT ideology, or gender ideology. It is fictitious, it is ridiculous.

‘It is a signal to people who don’t like people who are LGBT+ people.’

A Police officer walks a delegate (C) out of the auditorium after they disrupted a speech by Britain's Home Secretary Suella Braverman (unseen), at the annual Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, northern England, on October 3, 2023. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
A Police officer walks a delegate (2L) out of the auditorium after they disrupted a speech by Britain's Home Secretary Suella Braverman (unseen), at the annual Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, northern England, on October 3, 2023. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Man escorted from Tory conference is London Assembly member Andrew Boff

The man escorted out of Suella Braverman’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference is London Assembly member Andrew Boff.

Speaking to reporters as he was led from the conference centre, he hit out at ‘trash’ the Home Secetary was saying about ‘gender ideology’.

‘It is making our Conservative Party look transphobic and homophobic.

‘Our party has a proud record of standing up for LGBT+ rights and she is destroying it.’

He said he had been a member of the party for over 50 years and was a ‘proud member’.

Man escorted out from Braverman’s speech

A man has been escorted out of Suella Braverman’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference.

Braverman ‘shamelessly’ takes back ‘for the many not the few’ from Corbyn as she ends speech to applause

Suella Braverman said she was ‘shamelessly’ taking back lines from the poet Shelley ‘for the many not the few’ which was used by ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the 2017 general election.

She said her party stands with the ‘many’ against the ‘privileged woke minority’.

Addressing the main stage at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, she said: ‘The British people will get to decide if they want to curb woke with Rishi Sunak or let it run riot with Keir take-the-knee Starmer.’

She said the Conservative Party is a ‘kind of trade union’ saying: ‘We are the trade union of the British people.’

Britain's Home Secretary Suella Braverman arrives on stage to address delegates at the annual Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, northern England, on October 3, 2023. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The Home Secretary told the Tory party conference: ‘We should adopt as our motto, these lines from the poet Shelley, which I’m shameslessly taking back from Labour.

‘Rise like Lions after slumber

‘In unvanquishable number—

‘Shake your chains to earth like dew

‘Which in sleep had fallen on you—

Ye are many—they are few.’

‘We stand with the many, the law abiding hardworking, common sense majority. Against the few, the privelideged woke minority with their luxury beliefs who wield influence out of proportion to their numbers.

‘Our message to the people is clear. We are raising our game, we are fighting for a Britain that puts your first. We are on your side.’

As she ended her speech the Home Secretary was greeted by a standing ovation from the crowd.

Braverman hits out against Sadiq Khan on question of whether Labour can be trusted to fight crime

When addressing whether she believes the Labour party can be trusted to fight crime, Suella Braverman said she had just two words: ‘Sadiq Khan.’

Referencing high levels of crime in the capital, the Home Secretary told the Tory party conference: ‘To those who ask whether Labour can be trusted to fight crime, I have a two word answer.

She added: ‘If there’s any justice in this world Susan Hall is going to wipe the floor with him in May.

‘They have already started the character assasination against Sue, the distortions, the insults, the lies, because that’s what the Labour party always does. It prefers smears to debates.’

Braverman says the Human Rights Act should be called ‘the criminal rights act’

Suella Braverman said the Human Rights Act and fear of being branded ‘racist’ has meant immigration has not been properly dealt with.

‘We were too slow to recognise the scale of the problem’, she said.

‘Too unwilling to accept that our legal framework needed to be updated.

‘And, let’s be honest, far too squeamish about being smeared as racist to properly bring order to the chaos’.

She added: ‘The Human Rights Act. I’m surprised they didn’t call it “the criminal rights act”.

Britain's Home Secretary Suella Braverman speaks on stage at Britain's Conservative Party's annual conference in Manchester, Britain, October 3, 2023. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Suella Braverman kicks off Tory Conference speech to warn a ‘hurricane’ of mass migration is coming

Suella Braverman announced that the ‘gust’ that brought her immigrant parents to the UK is nothing compared to the ‘hurricane’ that is coming.

‘The decency of the British people cannot be questioned’, she said.

Britain's Home Secretary Suella Braverman speaks on stage at Britain's Conservative Party's annual conference in Manchester, Britain, October 3, 2023. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Rishi Sunak: A general election ‘is not what the country wants’

Rishi Sunak has said that now is not the time for a general election, as he prepares to present his vision for the country in his set-piece conference address on Wednesday.

The Prime Minister embarked on a series of sit-down interviews in Manchester on Tuesday, amid ongoing questions about the fate of the northern leg of HS2.

Speaking to Sky News, he insisted that the public did not want a snap election amid questions about his personal mandate to take key decisions on issues such as the landmark rail project and net zero.

‘That’s not what the country wants,’ Mr Sunak said.

‘I go out (and) about every day. That’s not what anybody wants. What people want is politicians making a difference to their lives.’

He said he was not afraid of an election.

‘I’m just getting on and delivering for people. You can see that with net zero, you can see it with the number of boat crossings down this year by a fifth.

‘You can see it with our progress on bringing inflation down, helping people. You can see it with a long term workforce plan, hiring doctors and nurses for the future.

‘These are all things that are going to change our country for the better.’

A general election is expected next year, with a poll required to be held before the end of January 2025.

Former PM Theresa May signs copies of her new book ahead of Suella’s speech

Queues form for Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s big speech at the Tory Party Conference at 3.15pm

PM denies that ‘Rishi reset’ at Tory Conference has descended into ‘Rishi chaos’

Nigel Farage rules out rejoining the Tories because of high tax and immigration (after PM left the door open)

Nigel Farage has rejected suggestions he could rejoin the Conservative Party.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak left the door open to a possible return after describing the Tories as a ‘very broad church’ when asked about Mr Farage’s membership prospects.

Mr Sunak added to GB News: ‘I welcome lots of people who want to subscribe to our ideals, to our values.’

But former Ukip leader Mr Farage replied ‘no, no, no’ to the suggestion while Conservative Party chairman Greg Hands also said he would not welcome it.

Mr Farage is in Manchester for the Conservative Party conference and attended a speech on the conference fringes by Tory former prime minister Liz Truss.

The prominent Brexiteer was also videoed dancing with Conservative former home secretary Priti Patel to Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.

Mr Farage, asked about Mr Sunak’s remarks, told GB News: ‘Would I want to join a party that’s put the tax rate up to the highest in over 70 years, that has allowed net migration to run at over half a million a year, that has not used Brexit to deregulate to help small businesses?

He added: ‘I achieved a lot more outside of the Tory party than I ever could have done from within it.’

epa10897159 Former United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader, Nigel Farage, attends the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, Britain, 03 October 2023. The conference runs from 01 to 04 October at Manchester Central.  EPA/ADAM VAUGHAN
Nigel Farage, former leader of the Brexit Party and the anti-immigration party UKIP, smokes a cigarette at the annual Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, northern England, on October 3, 2023. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Rishi Sunak doesn’t deny that his HS2 announcement could be tomorrow

Rishi Sunak failed to dampen claims that he will announce his decision on HS2 on Wednesday.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly refused to say whether he will axe high speed rail plans between Birmingham and Manchester.

He said: ‘I know there’s a lot of speculation on this. But what I can say is I’m going to approach this the same way I approach everything: thoughtfully, carefully, across the detail and making what I believe is the right decision in the long term for our country’.

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick: The Tories are not the ‘nasty party’

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick denied the Tories risk being seen as ‘the nasty party’ over their strong rhetoric.

BBC Radio 4’s World At One presenter Sarah Montague said: ‘People have started within the Conservative Party saying… there’s a danger for the Conservatives that this is a return to the nasty party’.

Mr Jenrick replied: ‘No, I don’t accept that at all. This is the most diverse Cabinet that this country has ever had.’

He defended recent comments made by Home Secretary Suella Braverman about multiculturalism, telling the BBC show: ‘I think integration is incredibly important and we should pride ourselves in this country on the fact that we are a successful multi-ethnic democracy.

‘The fact that you have a Prime Minister, a Home Secretary, a Foreign Secretary, all the children of immigrants to this country demonstrates that.

‘But there are, as the Home Secretary said, unfortunately places and instances which should give us cause for concern, where integration has not succeeded.’

He added that ‘you have to constantly be aware’ for challenges to successful integration and ‘be prepared to call them out.’

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt: A cut to personal taxes would be ‘absolutely crazy’ while inflation is still high

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has claimed a big income tax cut would be ‘absolutely crazy’.

Instead he said he would choose cutting taxes for businesses before any other area, but cautioned ‘at the moment, we are not in a position to have that discussion’.

Asked at a fringe event at the Tory Party conference, hosted by the Centre of Policy Studies, what tax cut he would choose first if he had spare money, Mr Hunt said: ‘If I was putting on my finance minister hat, my first priority – and I’ve said this many times – would be business tax cuts because, you know, the job of a Conservative Government is to make the economy competitive, to make money for the things we care about, for our public services and so on.

‘Obviously, in the run up to an election, I would love to do a tax cut that ordinary people felt to show people our values, and we believe that money is better when it stays in people’s pockets than when the State takes it away

‘At the moment, we are not in a position to have that discussion or even, you know, have that sort of what-if kind of scenario in our minds, because any tax cut would be inflationary…’

He insisted it ‘would be absolutely crazy to give people money with a tax cut in one hand and then for them to see all that money taken away by inflation going back up in the other, so it’s not a time we can discuss that.’

Jeremy Hunt: ‘No formal decision has been taken’ on HS2

Jeremy Hunt has denied that a decision on HS2 has been made.

The Mayor of the West Midlands is ‘speculating’ on what he thinks the decision on HS2 might be, the Chancellor has said.

Speaking at a fringe event, hosted by the Centre for Policy Studies, Jeremy Hunt said Andy Street is a ‘fantastic mayor’, adding: ‘He has done an incredible job, but he is speculating on what he thinks a decision might be, rather than talking about what the actual decision may be, and no formal decision has been made.

‘So I don’t think it would be right for me to comment on Andy’s view of what the announcement might be.’

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03: Jeremy Hunt MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, attends a fringe meeting on the third day of the Conservative Conference on October 03, 2023 in Manchester, England. Home Secretary Suella Braverman will deliver her keynote speech to delegates at The Conservative Party Conference, at Manchester Central, and talks about reducing migration to the UK. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

What’s happened at the Tory Party Conference so far on Tuesday? And what is coming up?

Here is the latest news from the Tory Party Conference in Manchester on Tuesday:

Keynote speeches to come, include:

  • 3pm Alex Chalk
  • 3.15pm Suella Braverman

Suella Braverman will make her pitch to the Tory faithful today amid claims a host of senior ministers are ‘on manoeuvres’.

The Home Secretary is expected to double down on her pledge to curb immigration when she gives her keynote speech to the party conference in Manchester later.

In another crowd-pleasing announcement, Ms Braverman is set to vow that sex offenders will no longer be able to change their name of gender to evade monitoring.

The intervention comes after Kemi Badenoch , also touted as a contender should Rishi Sunak ‘s bid to see off Labour fail, used a tub-thumping address yesterday to blast ‘ woke ‘ views.

She lashed out over trans rights, Remainer defeatism and the pace of reaching green targets.

Read the full MailOnline story below

Women’s rights campaigners and health experts today welcomed Steve Barclay ‘s commitment to fight wokery and restore ‘common sense’ in the NHS.

The Health Secretary detailed the move in a speech at the Tory Party conference as he slammed the ‘unacceptable’ use of gender-neutral language on advice pages for female-only conditions like cervical cancer .

Sex-specific language has now been ‘fully restored’ on offending health sections as a result of his intervention, he announced.

Mr Barclay also boasted that he had stopped the NHS from ‘ordering staff to declare pronouns to each new patient’.

As part of his speech in Manchester, Mr Barclay revealed he was ‘going further’ as he unveiled proposals to ban trans women — biological men who identify as being the opposite gender — using female-only hospital wards.

He argued it was ‘vital women’s voices are heard’ and the ‘privacy, dignity and safety of all patients are protected’.


What is happening with HS2? What happens if Rishi Sunak scraps it to Manchester?

– Are there doubts about Phase 1 between London and Birmingham?

The only current uncertainty is whether Old Oak Common in London’s western suburbs will be the permanent terminus in the capital or whether the line will reach Euston.

– What was the plan for HS2 north of Birmingham

In Phase 2a, the high-speed railway was due to be extended from the West Midlands to Crewe.

It was then due to be built up to Manchester in Phase 2b, and to the East Midlands in another phase.

– Has HS2 work started north of Birmingham?

Phase 1 of HS2 includes a 19-mile section of route between Curdworth, Warwickshire and Handsacre, Staffordshire.

Some of this work has been paused since March, but much of the construction continues.

– What about Phases 2a and 2b?

Preparatory work for Phase 2a is ongoing, while some residents on the Phase 2b route have already voluntarily sold their homes to HS2 Ltd.

– What would be the impact on services if Rishi Sunak scraps HS2 north of Birmingham?

It largely depends on whether the planned Handsacre Link in Lichfield goes ahead.

HS2 trains will be able to connect to and from the existing West Coast Main Line (WCML), meaning they could serve stations such as Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow.

But capacity constraints on the WCML – one of the main reasons why HS2 was planned – mean the number of high-speed trains that could run on the existing line will be limited to around three per hour in each direction.

– What happens if the Handsacre Link is axed?

HS2 trains will only be able to operate a shuttle service between Birmingham and London.

– What must the Government do if it wants to stop Phase 2a?

It is unclear if the Government could simply choose not to use its powers under the Phase 2a legislation or if it must secure the support of the majority of MPs in a vote in the Commons.

Suella Braverman: My speech saying multiculturalism has failed was ‘mischaracterised’

Suella Braverman said her claim that multiculturalism had failed had been mischaracterised.

In a speech last week she attacked the ‘misguided dogma’ of multiculturalism, saying it had ‘failed’, with communities living ‘parallel lives’.

Rishi Sunak declined to back her comments and former home secretary Dame Priti Patel suggested she may have said them simply to attract attention.

On a visit to Bolton, Ms Braverman said: ‘It’s my job, first and foremost, to be honest and speak for the majority of the British people.

‘And my comments have been somewhat mischaracterised.

‘We have so much to be proud of. We have a great multi-ethnic society and in many parts of our country integration has worked.

‘But there are also many towns and cities around the United Kingdom where it hasn’t and communities are living parallel lives.

‘They are coming from abroad, they are not learning the language. They’re not embracing British values, and they’re not taking part in British life.

‘And that needs to be identified, we must be fearless in calling that out and that’s my job.’

Michael Gove: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is ‘the jellyfish of British politics – transparent, spineless and swept along by the tide’

Levelling up secretary Michael Gove has branded Sir Keir Starmer ‘the jellyfish of British politics’.

Mr Gove said that the Labour leader had opposed Brexit, then backed it and most recently spoke of closer ties to the EU.

‘He is the jellyfish of British politics. He’s transparent, spineless and swept along by the tide’, he said.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by James Veysey/Shutterstock (14133220e) Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, delivers his speech at conference Conservative Party Conference, Day 3, Manchester, UK - 03 Oct 2023

Suella: Trans women ‘have no place in women’s wards’ in NHS hospitals

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said trans women ‘have no place in women’s wards’ in hospitals.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay was using his conference speech to announce proposals to give men and women the right to be cared for on wards only shared by people of their own biological sex, and to have intimate care provided by those of the same sex.

Ms Braverman said: ‘Trans women have no place in women’s wards or indeed any safe space relating to biological women.

‘And the Health Secretary is absolutely right to clarify and make it clear that biological men should not have treatments in the same wards and in the same safe spaces as biological women.

‘This is about protecting women’s dignity, and women’s safety and women’s privacy. And that’s why I’m incredibly supportive and I welcome the announcement today by the Health Secretary.’

BOLTON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 3: Britain's Home Secretary Suella Braverman speaks to volunteers during a visit to Bolton Lads and Girls Club on October 3, 2023 in Bolton, England. (Photo by Justin Tallis - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Suella Braverman plays table football in Bolton

Suella Braverman: Rishi Sunak’s decision on HS2 will be ‘in the best interests of our country’

Suella Braverman said the Prime Minister would make a decision on HS2’s future ‘in the best interests of our country’.

The Home Secretary said Rishi Sunak is ‘putting the long-term interests of the British people, the British economy, ahead of everything else’.

On a visit to Bolton she told broadcasters: ‘I know that he’s going to be making his mind up and making a decision for the country in the best interests of our country.

‘He will be considering all of the evidence, he will be considering the value for money for the British taxpayer, we’ve got to focus on that.

‘And any decision that is reached by the Government will be one which puts the interests of the British people first and foremost.’

BOLTON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 3: Britain's Home Secretary Suella Braverman speaks to volunteers during a visit to Bolton Lads and Girls Club on October 3, 2023 in Bolton, England. (Photo by Justin Tallis - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Health Secretary Steve Barclay: I’m banning trans women from female hospital wards and banishing ‘wokery’ from the NHS

Helath secretary Steve Barclay unveiled plans to push back against ‘wokery’ in the health service amid concerns that women’s rights are being sidelined.

The move will also see ‘sex-specific’ language return to the NHS, meaning terms such as breastfeeding will no longer be replaced by ‘chestfeeding’.

Mr Barclay said: ‘We need a common-sense approach to sex and equality issues in the NHS. That is why I am announcing proposals for clearer rights for patients.

‘And I can confirm that sex-specific language has now been fully restored to online health advice pages about cervical and ovarian cancer and the menopause. It is vital that women’s voices are heard in the NHS and the privacy, dignity and safety of all patients are protected.’

The Health Secretary told the Conservative Party conference: ‘That is why today I am going further, by announcing that we will change the NHS constitution following a consultation later this year to make sure we respect the privacy, dignity and safety of all patients, recognise the importance of different biological needs and protect the rights of women’.

British Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Steve Barclay speaks on stage at Britain's Conservative Party's annual conference in Manchester, Britain, October 3, 2023. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Lord Frost yesterday suggested that the state pension age should be raised to 75 to shrink public spending and the state.

The Tory grandee, who was former PM Boris Johnson‘s Brexit negotiator, made the remarks at a party conference fringe meeting on the Future of Conservatism.

Urging ministers to make cuts to public spending and taxes and go for growth, he acknowledged that this would require making changes to the state pension.

He said: ‘I do think that the honest truth is that the pension age is going to have to go up quite a long way to solve this problem [of reducing public expenditure].

‘That seems to me the best way of getting out of it in the medium term.’


What times are the key speeches at the Conservative Party Conference today?

With Health Secretary Steve Barcley due to speak about the NHS. Here are the timings for today’s speeches at Conservative Party Conference in Manchester:

  • 11.15am Michelle Donelan
  • 11.30am Michael Gove
  • 3pm Alex Chalk
  • 3.15pm Suella Braverman

Rishi Sunak’s speech tomorrow will contain a HS2 announcement and is ‘worth waiting for’, report

Rishi Sunak has refused to confirm he will scrap the northern leg of the HS2 line – but it has been claimed that an announcement will come tomorrow.

Sky and The Times have been told that the speech will be ‘worth waiting for’.

Mr Sunak said earlier: ‘It’s clear that the costs of this programme have escalated far beyond what anyone thought at the beginning.

‘I know there’s lots of speculation on it but what I would say is I’ll approach this in the same way I approach everything in this job, I will take the time to look at it properly, get across the detail and then decide what’s right for the country.

‘The sums involved are enormous and it’s right that the Prime Minister takes proper care over it.

‘It’s obviously not my money – it’s taxpayers’ money and we should make the right decisions on these things.’

Jacob Rees-Mogg: ‘The benefits system is a safety net – not a lifestyle opportunity’

Jacob Rees-Mogg: HS2 is a bad idea because it costs too much money

Nigel Farage is fast becoming the star attraction at the Conservative party conference with some members wanting him to rejoin the party he left in the 1980s and even stand for leader.

Yesterday he was in the front row for Liz Truss’ speech on tax cuts and last night was boogying with the former home secretary to Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.

Later Priti Patel took to the stage to sing Angels by Robbie Williams, as Mr Farage stood swaying along with Liz Truss yards away.

Suella Braverman will today announce plans for a lifetime ban on sex offenders changing their name or gender in a bid to close a loophole that allows predators to evade the sex offences register.

Personal details kept by other agencies including HM Passport Office, HMRC, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the DVLA will be merged with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

A change to a convicted sex offender’s details at any of those agencies would alert the DBS and they will risk prosecution. Currently, all registered sex offenders must tell their local police force within three days after changing their name.

Read the full story by MailOnline’s Home Affairs Correspondent

Rishi Sunak kisses a guide dog and sniffs soaps as he tours Tory Party Conference in Manchester

Strikes ain’t what they used to be. Say what you like about Arthur Scargill. He may, in the immortal words of the late electricians’ leader Eric Hammond, have gone into the miners’ strike with a big union and a small house and come out of it with a big house and a small union.

But at no time during the year-long dispute, can I ever recall him nipping across to the Algarve for a bit of R&R.

In my earlier incarnation as an industrial correspondent, I covered more than my fair share of strikes — most notably the Winter of Discontent in 1978/79.

They all involved a great deal of hardship for the strikers themselves as well as the long-suffering British public, who had to cope with everything from petrol shortages to uncollected rubbish piling up in the streets.

Back then the vast majority of those taking industrial action were pretty low-paid. Today it’s a different story altogether, from train drivers on £60,000-a-year-plus to hospital consultants banking six-figure salaries, as a basis for negotiation.

Read Richard Littlejohn in the Mail below

Through the throng loomed a familiar, froggy grin: Nigel Farage was at the Conservative conference for the first time since 1988. He was there, he insisted, as a GB News presenter.

Activists queuing for the Great British Growth Rally fringe event went mad when they spotted him. There were shouts of ‘Nigel!’, as if the Messiah had been glimpsed. A crush of bodies surged towards him as a single organism, seeking selfies.

While Farage the humpback whale gorged on this Tory bait ball, there came a distant, panicked sound of Rishi Sunak’s spin doctors wrestling for control of the news agenda. ‘We cannae hold her, captain!’

Read Quentin Letts’ full sketch below

Britain is the best country in the world to be black in, Kemi Badenoch told the Tory party conference.

The Business Secretary used a tub-thumping speech to blast Labour over its ‘woke’ views and for using Brexit to repeatedly talk down Britain.

She lashed out over trans rights, Remainer defeatism and the pace of reaching green targets.

Mrs Badenoch rejected the ‘narrative of hopelessness’ for ethnic minorities that suggests ‘British society is against you and you’re better off asking for reparations’.

Read the full MailOnline story below

Rishi Sunak stubbornly refused to confirm that the HS2 Manchester leg is being ditched despite a wave of condemnation.

The PM desperately blustered as he was challenged during interviews at the Tory conference that the decision has already been taken to scrap the plans.

He said the costs were ‘enormous’ but insisted he would ‘not be rushed’ into an announcement – which is now widely expected during his keynote speech tomorrow.

And brushing away anger about bungled communications, Mr Sunak insisted he ‘really’ thinks that the process is ‘going well’.

Read the full MailOnline story below

‘I am not going to comment on all of that speculation’, Rishi Sunak won’t tell Susanna Reid if HS2 to Manchester will go ahead

PM is all smiles as he arrives at Tory Conference in Manchester but will NOT admit HS2 is being axed

Rishi Sunak: Voters don’t care how rich I am

Rishi Sunak said he did not believe voters care about how much money he has, amid claims and criticisms that his wealth means he is ‘out of touch’.

He told Times Radio: ‘I think what people want from their prime ministers and their leaders is to do things that are going to make a difference to their lives.

‘I don’t think people are as interested in how much money is in my bank account. They’re interested in what I’m doing for them.’

Rishi Sunak says he is ‘not at all’ worried about support for Liz Truss who now has 60 Tory MPs backing her calls for major tax cuts

Rishi Sunak said he was ‘not at all’ concerned about the scale of support Liz Truss appears to still have within the Tory party, after crowds massed to listen to the former prime minister on Monday.

The Prime Minister told Times Radio that there were ‘lots of Conservatives here’ at the party conference.

‘I think the mood is great. People are excited about the things we’re doing.’

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02: Britain's former Prime Minister, Liz Truss, leaves the Conservative Party Conference after attending on day two on October 02, 2023 in Manchester, England. Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt announced that the national living wage will rise to at least £11 an hour. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to speak again at key conference fringe event today

Key fringe speeches include:

  • 12.30pm Jeremy Hunt in conversation with the Centre for Policy Studies
  • 6.30pm Kemi Badenoch in conversation with the Spectator

What times are the key speeches at the Conservative Party Conference today?

Here are the timings for today’s speeches at Conservative Party Conference in Manchester:

  • 11am Steve Barclay
  • 11.15am Michelle Donelan
  • 11.30am Michael Gove
  • 3pm Alex Chalk
  • 3.15pm Suella Braverman

HS2 future is NOT overshadowing Tory Party Conference, claims Rishi Sunak

The PM rejected a suggestion that the row over HS2 had overshadowed the Conservative Party conference and that the handling of the announcement had been poor.

He told BBC Breakfast: ‘I don’t think that. Actually we’re having a great conference.’

Pressed again, he said: ‘The mood here is great.’

He then proceeded to list all the other Government announcements made at the conference in Manchester this week.

PM: I won’t be forced into a ‘premature decision’ on HS2

Mr Sunak said that he would not be forced into a ‘premature decision’ on the future of HS2, as the Prime Minister comes under intense pressure over the fate of the rail project.

He told BBC Breakfast: ‘I am not going to be forced into a premature decision because it is good for someone’s TV programme’

‘What I want to do is make the right decision for the country. This is an enormous amount of people’s money, taxpayers’ money, everybody watching, billions and billions of pounds.

‘We shouldn’t be rushed into things like that. What people would expect from me is to take the time to go over it properly and make sure we make the right long-term decisions for the country.’

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak looks on as Britain's Conservative Party's annual conference takes place in Manchester, Britain, October 3, 2023. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Welcome to MailOnline’s liveblog

Good morning and welcome to MailOnline’s liveblog from the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester today.

Follow all the twists and turns from the city’s Central Convention Complex here, with Rishi Sunak doing a series of TV interviews this morning.

Rishi Sunak: I have not yet decided to axe HS2

Rishi Sunak said on Tuesday he had not yet taken a decision on whether to cancel the northern leg of the HS2 high-speed railway project.

Speaking to the BBC, the Prime Minister denied that the line from Birmingham to Manchester has already been axed.

He said: ‘I know there’s a lot of speculation on HS2. All I would say is the way I approach this job, I take a look at the facts, I take my time to get the decision right on behalf of the country – whatever it might be – and that’s what I’ll do with this, as I do with everything else.’

On BBC Breakfast he said: ‘As you saw with my recent decision on net zero, when I make a decision that I think is important of course I go and explain that to everyone, explain why I’m doing what I’m doing, why I thought it was right to change direction there.’

He added: ‘If that happens and is necessary, of course that’s what I’ll do.’

Rishi Sunak BBC

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