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Last year, the main event at Conservative party conference wasn’t the then Prime Minister Theresa May’s keynote speech. Her performance was competent, detailed, underwhelming. In an act of obvious foreshadowing it was Boris Johnson’s speech, the day before, that attracted all the crowds and dominated all the headlines.
In contrast, this year no ministerial speech has provided much cause for excitement. Chancellor Sajid Javid yesterday warmed the crowd with a touching interaction with his mother. Otherwise, ministers (who have been out and about on the conference fringe) have been briefed to say basically as little as possible. The excitement lies back in London, with the Remain alliance’s meetings and plots, the ongoing stories concerning Boris Johnson’s private life, and RTE Brussels correspondent Tony Connolly obtaining leaked backstop proposals.