Each year hundreds of delegates attend the annual party conferences.Leaders are cheered and journalists pick over the contents of speeches.
But what is the relevance of these gatherings beyond the conference floor? What impact do they have on constituents back home? Helen Ford has been getting the thoughts of an MP and councillor.
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Pictures from the commemoration marking the centenary of the Quintinshill rail disaster, which killed more than 200 people, is underway.
The 100th anniversary of Britain's worst rail disaster will be commemorated at a special service today.