Eddie Mair 4pm - 7pm
Conservative Party moves October conference online due to coronavirus
7 July 2020, 17:32
Boris Johnson's first Tory conference since his landslide election win is to take place largely online due to coronavirus.
The Conservative Party conference, which was due to be held in Birmingham in October, will now be a virtual event.
Conservative co-chairmen Amanda Milling and Ben Elliot said they still hope "some aspects" of the conference can go ahead "in the physical format".
In a letter to members, they wrote: "Party conference is a highlight of the political calendar and we know many people will be disappointed if they can't attend conference in person.
"Whilst we hope we will be able to host some aspects in the physical format, we would only do so if allowed by Government guidelines and following the strictest safety guidelines."
Labour has already cancelled its party conference, which was due to be held in Liverpool in September, and will replace it with online events.
The Liberal Democrats have announced similar arrangements for their gathering, which had been scheduled to take place in Brighton in September.
The news comes as the Tories have experienced a dip in public opinion due to the handling of the coronavirus.
Boris Johnson is being out-polled by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on who would make a better prime minister, according to a survey by polling company Opinium.
The data found that 37 per cent of voters thought Sir Keir would be better at leading the country than current Downing Street incumbent Mr Johnson.
A total of 35 per cent thought Tory leader Mr Johnson was the better option to have in charge.
The Conservatives, according to the results, still hold a four-point lead in terms of voting intentions, despite Sir Keir's public popularity.
Out of those polled, 43 per cent said they would vote Tory at the next election, compared to 39% choosing Labour.