FROM conspiracy theories to Priti Patel dancing with Nigel Farage, this year’s Conservative Party conference has offered up bleakness and absurdity in equal measure.
Here’s some of the most ridiculous moments.
The non-existent meat tax
During her speech to delegates the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Claire Coutinho, appeared to progress Rishi Sunak’s promise never to enact a tax on meat that nobody had suggested in the first place.
However, this time she accused the Labour Party of being in support of the policy the Prime Minister had made up purely to denounce.
She said: “It’s no wonder that Labour seem so relaxed about taxing meat, Sir Keir Starmer doesn’t eat it, and Ed Miliband is clearly scarred by his encounter with a bacon sandwich”.
When confronted with the claim by Sophy Ridge on Sky News, who asked if Labour were proposing a meat tax, Coutinho decided to talk about Ultra Low Emission Zones instead (because, of course, there was no evidence for her claims).
The 15-minute cities conspiracy
Not content with making up policies to denounce, Transport Secretary Mark Harper decided to lean-in to conspiracy theories instead.
He took his time on stage to blast 15-minute cities – a planning concept that seeks to ensure that essential amenities such as GPs and supermarkets are all within a 15-minute walk of where people live.
Unfortunately, the concept has bloomed into online conspiracy theory, which suggests town planners want to restrict when and how far people can travel.
Despite there being no evidence for these claims, Harper decided to promote them during his speech.
He said: “What is sinister and what we shouldn’t tolerate is the idea that local councils can decide how often you go to the shops, and that they ration who uses the road and when, and they police it all with CCTV.”
Of course, nobody was suggesting that. But it didn’t stop Scottish Tory MP Andrew Bowie defending Harper on Radio 4.
Priti Patel and Nigel Farage cut some shapes
Evidently overjoyed with how Rishi Sunak’s tenure at Prime Minister was going, Priti Patel took the opportunity to celebrate with GB News presenter Nigel Farage.
The Frankie Valli classic Can’t Take My Eyes Off You will never sound the same.
Jacob Rees-Mogg competes with Suella Braverman in callousness Olympics
During an interview on Sky News, Rees-Mogg was asked to substantiate Suella Braverman’s claims that refugees were claiming to be gay to “game the system”.
Although the Home Office has failed to provide evidence for this claim, Rees-Mogg insisted people were lying in order to get into the country.
“People will certainly answer questions according to what maximises their chance of getting asylum.
"Some people self-harm in order to get asylum.”
Not content to let Rees-Mogg hog the immigration limelight, in her speech Braverman proceeded to talk about a “hurricane” of migrants attempting to come to the UK.
Andrew Boff, a Conservative member of the London Assembly, was then kicked out of the conference after heckling Braverman. He accused her of “vilifying” the LGBT+ community.
Apparently Tory chairman Greg Hands isn’t particularly skilled with his own.
During a botched attempt at humour the MP accused Keir Starmer of flip-flopping on policy.
He then held up a pair of Keir Starmer branded flip-flops with the phrase flip-flop plastered across the soles (which were, by the way, being sold as merchandise).
Only, he held them up the wrong way round so it actually read flop-flip (which, in fairness, is a lot funnier than the intended joke).
Being rejected by Nigel Farage
After Nigel Farage appeared at the conference Rishi Sunak suggested he could re-join the party.
Indeed, deputy chairman Lee Anderson even said he would shake his hand and welcome him.
But the only thing more embarrassing than welcoming Nigel Farage to your party is being rejected by him, which is exactly what happened.
Farage said of Sunak’s proposal: “Would I want to join a party that’s put the tax rate up to the highest in over 70 years, that has allowed net migration to run at over half a million a year, that has not used Brexit to deregulate to help small businesses?
“No, no and no.”