Conservative Party conference: Do Midlanders have trust in Truss?

Credit: PA Images

So, the Birmingham conference wraps up and Prime Minister Liz Truss can head back to Westminster with her head held high ... or can she?

The words swirling around the ICC these past few days include chaotic, bruising and crushing. 

Within minutes of her keynote speech on the Conference stage, the new PM had to deal with an anti-fracking protest by Greenpeace.

Demonstrators hold a banner as Prime Minister Liz Truss delivers her keynote speech at the Conservative Party Conference Credit: PA Images

The protesters were quickly bundled away and strangely the intervention seemed to embolden Ms Truss.

There was strong rhetoric from her on how the tough decisions she is taking will help the midlands to grow its economy leading to new jobs and opportunities.

Among those impressed by the promise was the Dudley South MP Mike Wood. 

Speaking to ITV News Central he said: "Clearly, it went down well with party members who want Liz Truss to succeed as Prime Minister."

When asked if she could recover from mini-budget troubles, Mr Wood said: "I think that you could see in the hall today that people are really interested in what she's doing next, a vision for the country. I don't think the mini-budget will cause her a problem at all going forward. I think she's got the ideas, she had the crowd on their feet and absolutely behind her."

But the party is well aware that red wall seats here that turned blue at the last election are destined to switch back to Labour if the recent opinion polls in the wake of the mini-budget are correct.

One of those seats captured in 2019 is Ashfield in Nottinghamshire.

The MP Lee Anderson - famous for his assertion that he can make wholesome meals for 30p a day - is standing by his new leader even though he did have difficulty remembering her name! 

Speaking to ITV News Central he said: "The red wall, it is a red wall for a reason, we had Brexit, we had Boris, we had Corbyn three years ago and now we've got Theresa May it's a different ballgame altogether."

After realising he had mistaken the current Prime Minister Liz Truss for former leader Theresa May, he continued: "The red wall is now the blue wall and it's up to MPs like myself to get out there and speak to the constituents and say the right thing, do the right thing, and if we that then the 5 or 6 million first-time conservative voters that voted for us in 2019 then hopefully they'll stay with us."

Although the week had begun with a controversial tweet from the Chair of the Young Conservative network announcing Birmingham as a "dump" the row dissipated quickly.

When I interviewed the Prime Minister on Sunday she insisted that the city is a fantastic place.

On stage today she said she was delighted to see the cranes across the skyline signifying growth and confidence. 

The Tories say they have taken Birmingham to their hearts this week - the test now is whether the millions across the midlands can return the favour.