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Conference security questioned as Tory delegates complain of abuse and intimidation

When does legitimate political protest become personal intimidation and abuse?

It's a question many in Manchester are asking this week, as day after day party members, activists, charity workers and journalists queuing for the Conservative Party conference have complained of violent threats, and more, from some protesters.

Daniel Hewitt reports.


  1. Daniel Hewitt

VIDEO: Boris Johnson pelted with 'projectiles' by protesters in Manchester

London Mayor and Tory MP Boris Johnson has laughed off the hostile reception he received from protesters outside Manchester Central yesterday.

The MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip was pelted with plastic balls and inflatables as he entered the conference centre.

In his keynote speech inside the hall today, he joked that the protesters needed to improve their aim.

"As I came into the conference area yesterday we had to go through a kind of Khyber pass with protestors on either side hurling eggs and water bombs, perhaps some of you had the same experience," said Boris.

"Were we intimidated? No.

"In fact I drew only one conclusion – that we need to do more to encourage sport in schools, because they managed to miss their target with every projectile."

New protests as conference debates continue

More protests are to be held today as the Tory party conference continues in Manchester. Students, the TUC, CND and disability campaigners are holding separate demonstrations. Yesterday tens of thousands of people took part in a march against austerity. Twelve thousand delegates are attending the conference over four days.


Thousands expected to protest at Tory conference

Anti-austerity placards lie in the road (file image) Credit: Reuters

Union leaders and officials from a range of campaign groups will address a rally and attack government policies after the Tory conference formally opens in Manchester today.

The protest is due to start at 12.30pm.

A handful of demonstrators had already gathered, staging a noisy protest outside the secure zone surrounding the Midland Hotel and Manchester Central conference centre, as delegates arrived on Saturday.

Alongside the unions, the demonstration is expected to be attended by among others, the CND and members of the Royal College of Midwives, as well as some Labour party activists.

Frances O'Grady, the general secretary of the TUC, will be among those speaking and is expected to criticise the government's controversial Trade Union Bill, which introduces fresh restrictions on strike ballots, picketing and union funds.

The Conservative's party conference will be the first autumn conference of a majority Tory administration since 1996.

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