Hammond heckled by Colonel

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has been heckled by a retired Army Colonel accusing him of "betraying" a recently disbanded battalion. The Tory party conference in Manchester comes as 40,000 people march in protest at austerity cuts.

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Attorney General warns PM against leaving ECHR

The Attorney General has warned against Britain pulling out of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) after the Prime Minister hinted he might consider this in a TV interview.

Prime Minister David Cameron at the Conservative conference in Manchester Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Attorney General Dominic Grieve warned that Britain would have to face the "reputational consequences" of such a move, and that it could cause the entire system to collapse.

Mr Grieve told a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester: "It's a cost-benefit analysis in terms of whether we think we will benefit from doing it and what the downsides are."

He said that a collapse of the treaty could mean that "countries which have accepted the jurisdiction of the court and which have poor human rights records but which have at least been subject to a lot of pressure will see that pressure removed."

Earlier, the Prime Minister told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show: "I'm less interested in which convention we are signed up to. As Prime Minister, I want to know can I keep our country safe."


Police praise protestors for 'peaceful' manner

Protesters outside the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester Central. Credit: Tim Goode/EMPICS Entertainment

Police have praised the estimated 50,000 Trade Union Congress (TUC) protesters who staged "the largest protest Greater Manchester Police have had to manage" for their "peaceful and lawful manner".

"It was clear the intentions of the organisers and those who were involved in the march wanted to protest peacefully as is their democratic right to do so," Chief Superintendent John O’Hare said.

“It is pleasing that with a crowd of 50,000 there were only two arrests for low level offences."

One man, aged 19, was arrested for breach of the police while another man, aged 36, was arrested for a public order offence.

Thatcher-themed souvenirs on sale at Tory conference

There is a huge array of Margaret Thatcher themed souvenirs and memorabilia on sale at the Conservative Party conference. Here is a selection:

Margaret Thatcher souvenirs on sale on the first day of the Conservative Party's annual conference in Manchester Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
'The Lady's Not For Turning' cuff links on sale at the conference Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
A smorgasbord of Thatcher-themed souvenirs on sale Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Protesters march through Manchester against cuts

An estimated 50,000 protesters turned out in Manchester to demonstrate against austerity cuts on the first day of the Conservative Party conference.

Protesters march through Manchester on a union protest against austerity cuts Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire
A protester highlighting changes to the NHS Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire
Protesters carry banners through the streets of Manchestwer Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire
A costumed protester in Manchester Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire


Hammond: We must reduce size of conventional forces

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has defended cuts to the Armed Forces after being heckled during his speech at the Conservative Party conference.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond addresses delegates on the first day of the Conservative Party conference Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

He told Sky News: "If they [the hecklers] had stayed in the hall a bit longer they would have heard the case that I was building in my speech for why we have to invest in the new capabilities we need to defend Britain."

"While we all cherish our military traditions - and we have great regiments with proud histories - we have to reduce the size of our conventional armed forces as we are investing for example in new cyber."

"The Army has made the decision about how it needs to restructure to be able to defend Britain in the future with a smaller army than we've had in the past.

"These two RRF [Royal Regiment of Fusiliers] guys - the campaign's been long running - they know very well the point that we are making."

Think tank: Tories could have fewer members than Ukip

The Conservative Party is on course to have fewer members than Ukip within five years and could fold entirely unless its leadership can mend a “broken down” relationship with activists, according to Tory think tank Bow Group.

The group’s chairman, Ben Harris-Quinney, said there now was “really no discernible difference” between the parties.

"The question for the next 25 years of the British political party is not funding, be it state, union or private donor, it is existence itself," he said.

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