Tory conference opens

The Conservative Party Conference opens in Manchester with tributes to Grantham-born former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher, who died in April at 87. Other Midlands issues including HS2 and defence cuts have been highlighted ahead of the first day.

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Osborne to toast 'Our Maggie' with conference speech

Chancellor George Osborne told Daybreak he may toast his speech to the Conservative Party conference today with a bottle of beer brewed in honour of former leader Margaret Thatcher.

The conference in Manchester was opened with a video tribute to Baroness Thatcher, who died in April.

Former Tory Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is being remembered at the party conference in a variety of ways. Credit: Phil Noble/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Mr Osborne said: "This is the year in which she died and she was probably this country's greatest peacetime Prime Minister.

"This is an opportunity for the party she led as Britain's first woman Prime Minister to pay tribute to her memory."

Asked if he had tried a pint of "Our Maggie", the Chancellor answered, "I haven't had a chance yet, but maybe after I have delivered my speech I will have a pint."


Fusiliers disrupt Tory conference opening - full story

Two members of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers were escorted out of the Tory party conference after heckling defence minister Philip Hammond.

It followed a protest by the fusiliers outside the conference earlier in the day.

Former soldier and Conservative parliamentary candidate for Dudley North, Amin Afzal, told ITV News Central how he plans to use his experience in the field to help local constituents.

Alison Mackenzie reports.

'Plebgate' MP praised as 'very talented politician'

Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell could return to the front line of the Government in future, David Cameron has hinted.

Mr Mitchell resigned from the Cabinet in October last year following allegations that he hurled abuse police officers outside Downing Street, calling them "plebs".

But an official investigation later uncovered CCTV footage which appeared to show the "plebgate" claims were wrong.

Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

The Prime Minister, speaking ahead of the first day of the Tory party conference today, would not rule out a return to government for Mitchell.

He declined to talk about the incident as arrests have been made - but praised Mr Mitchell as a "very talented politician".

He added that he would wait until the investigation was over before making any announcements about Mr Mitchell's future.

"I have enormous respect for him. He was a brilliant (International) Development Secretary. I am very sorry about all the things that have taken place," he told the Andrew Marr show.

"We have to let this investigation take place and then we can take it from there."

Fusiliers protest at Tory conference over defence cuts

Veterans from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers have taken to the streets near the Tory party conference to drum up support to save the regiment.

The regiment, formerly known as the Warwickshire Fusiliers, recruited around 30,000 men from Birmingham during World War I.

Campaigners gathered at the opening day of the conference to highlight the issue of defence cuts.

Major Chester Potts, chairman of the Fusiliers Association, Northumberland, told ITV News that the government had got it "completely wrong" with their defence policy, which has put the future of the regiment in jeopardy.


Cameron vows HS2 will not take 'unfair share' of budget

Prime Minister David Cameron has promised that HS2 will not take up an "unfair share" of the government travel budget.

Speaking on the Andrew Marr show, he said the government would not spend "unlimited money" on the project and said they would be sticking to the £42.6billion limit.

He also explained his reasons for pursuing the plan.

This is the Government that delivered the Olympics on time and on budget. We are delivering Crossrail - the biggest construction project anywhere in Europe - on time and on budget. HS2 is going to happen.

The west coast main line is full. We have to build another one. The choice is do we build an old-style Victorian one or do we build one of the new high-speed lines?

I think people all over the country are worried that HS2 is going to take up too much money.

In the next Parliament, we will be spending more than three times as much on other transport projects as we will on HS2.

It's not taking up an unfair share of the budget.

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Maggie Thatcher celebrated on bibs, beers and t-shirts

Attendants at the Conservative Party Conference paying tribute to their late leader Margaret Thatcher can also pick up a souvenir of the former prime minister in Manchester.

There are gifts for all ages on sale at the stand celebrating Britain's first female prime minister.
'Our Maggie' 4.3% strength beer is on the shelves at the Manchester conference centre.
T-shirts with some of Baroness Thatcher's most famous political quotes can also be bought.

David Cameron admits limit to HS2 spending

David Cameron appeared on BBC's Andrew Marr Show earlier today Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Prime Minister David Cameron has today admitted there is a limit to the amount of money that he will spend on the HS2 rail link from London which will go through the Midlands to the North.

The future of the line linking the UK's major cities was thrown into doubt at last week's Labour conference where shadow chancellor Ed Balls said he would not provide "a blank cheque" for the project and would consider whether there were better options to use the £50bn of state spending.

But on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Mr. Cameron has insisted the project can be built within the Government's £42.6bn budget and rejected suggestions other more useful transport schemes were being crowded out.

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