Conservative conference

The Conservative party conference is being held in Manchester this year, as David Cameron mobilises his troops ahead of the coming general election.

The Tory leader will be hoping to enter Downing Street as prime minister at some stage in the next 12 months but will rely on those gathering in Manchester today in order to do so.

The location of the conference is no coincidence. To win the keys of No 10 Mr Cameron must make breakthroughs in Labour’s strongholds in the north of England. He will be hoping the party gathering in Manchester will help him achieve that goal.

Speechwriters on Mr Cameron’s staff face a difficult dilemma of their own following Gordon Brown’s speech to the Labour conference, over whether the Tory leader should directly respond to Mr Brown’s attacks on the Conservative response to the economic crisis.

At least Mr Cameron has the advantage of the Sun’s support. The tabloid withdrew its support for Labour and endorsed the Tories last week.

Will the Conservatives make big breakthroughs in the north of England at the general election?