Who to Meet, Where to Drink for Free: Tory Conference 2023 mdi-fullscreen

With Number 10 trying keeping a tight grip, and with all-time-low Tory morale, Guido doesn’t expect that Conference will be as raucous as in previous years. In the spirit of doing our best to change that, here’s what you need to know about the free drinks, the policy ideas, the big names, and the short ones up in Manchester. Guido’s got you covered…


The Speccie is serving G&Ts at the majority of events so head to their welcome reception at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday at Exchange 11.

On Monday head straight back for 11 a.m. gin and tonics with John Whittingdale, YouTube director Alison Lomax, and Channel 4’s Jonathan Allan. Or head to Exchange 6-7 to see James Cleverly chat China at the same time. Also with gin…

The next free drinks on Monday will be at 3:30 p.m. in the Midland Hotel’s Petersfield Suite for drinks at the Conservative Action for Electoral Reform’s House of Lords discussion.

On Tuesday it’s the Speccie again, 11 a.m. at Exchange 11, this time with Tom Tugendhat, Victoria Atkins, UK Finance’s Bob Wigley, TSB’s Paul Davis, and Kate Andrews talking fraud. Guido will be holding out until 3 p.m.’s Conservative Friends of Pakistan reception. It’s a free-for-all after that…

More below…


Based on preceding years and swirling rumours these are the bashes with the best booze and most interesting conversation. Try to get in if you can…

Sunday: ConHome

Monday: Sky News

Tuesday: Spectator



The CPS are at the CPS Theatre.

The IEA & TPA are in the Think Tent Marquee.

Policy Exchange is in Cobden 3-4.



2 p.m. the CPS talks with Gove.

3:15 p.m. the IEA & TPA are discussing economic growth.

3:30 p.m. the CPS wants to know if the centre-right can survive, featuring Dan Hannan.

4:30 p.m. Policy Exchange is talking housing, featuring Rachel Maclean & Brandon Lewis.

At the same time the IEA & TPA are talking free speech, featuring Matthew Goodwin and Claire Fox.

5 p.m. the CPS wants to know if the BoE is fit for purpose, featuring David Frost.

5:45 p.m. Policy Exchange is talking maths teaching, featuring Nick Gibb and Childrens’ Commissioner Rachel de Souza.

6:30 p.m. the IEA & TPA are hosting a reception with Kemi Badenoch. You’ll need an invite to get in

At the same time the CPS has its annual reception with Kemi Badenoch. Invite needed.



9 a.m. Policy Exchange is talking digital futures, featuring Michelle Donelan and crypto execs.

At the same time the TPA has a Net Zero panel.

9:30 a.m. the CPS has an immigration panel, featuring Nick Timothy.

10:30 a.m. Policy Exchange is looking at cyber risk, featuring Tom Tugendhat & Paddy McGuinness.

11 a.m. the CPS wants to help young people out of the pandemic, featuring Kit Malthouse, Rachel de Souza, & Sir Daniel Moynihan.

11:30 a.m. the IEA is chatting intergenerational inequality, featuring Lee Rowley and Damien Green.

12:30 p.m. the CPS has an energy panel, featuring Gareth Davies.

2 p.m. the IEA and RSSB are talking rail, featuring Chris Loder and Huw Merriman.

At the same time the CPS talks to Grant Schapps.

2:15 p.m. Policy Exchange has its AUKUS panel, featuring Alicia Kearns and representatives from down under.

3:15 p.m. Policy Exchange is getting to the bottom of shoplifting, featuring Chris Philp and Commissioner Katy Bourne.

At the same time pro-smoking group Forest discusses the war on tobacco with wonks in the Think Tent.

4 p.m. Big Brother Watch is talking censorship in the Portico Library, featuring David Davis.

4:30 p.m. the IEA has its NHS panel featuring Luke Evans & Kate Andrews.

5:45 p.m. the IEA & TPA have an immigration “battle” between Matt Lesh and Alex Morton.



9:30 a.m. the CPS has its private industry roundtable on industry decarbonisation, featuring Gareth Davies & John Penrose.

10 a.m. Policy Exchange is talking apprenticeship reform, featuring Gillian Keegan.

10:15 a.m. the IEA is talking about killjoy nannies going too far, featuring Philip Davies & Chris Snowdon.

11 a.m. CPS is thinking about local mandates for housebuilding at a private roundtable featuring Rachel Mclean.

At the same time Policy Exchange is looking at financial services, featuring Andrew Griffith.

12:15 p.m. Policy Exchange is chatting data and government, featuring Nadhim Zahawi.

12:30 p.m. the CPS is talking to Jeremy Hunt.

12:45 p.m. the IEA is looking at journalism regulation, featuring John Whittingdale.

2 p.m. the CPS wants to know about Net Zero business, featuring Kevin Hollinrake.

3:15 p.m. the IEA & Free Market Forum are talking Whitehall blob featuring Jacob Rees-Mogg, Fred Smith, & Gareth Bacon.

3:30 p.m. the CPS wonders about an unpredictable world featuring Nicky Morgan and Lloyd’s chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown.

4:15 p.m. Policy Exchange has a conservatism debate, featuring Gove, David Frost, Nick Timothy, & Katie Lam.

5 p.m. CPS has a panel on taxpayers, featuring Andrew Griffith, Andrea Leadson, & Sam Dumitriu.

5:30 p.m. Policy Exchange has Iain Dale interviewing Steve Barclay.

6 p.m. CPS has its CapX event on justice for the yoof, featuring Miriam Cates, David Willetts, and Tom Harwood.

At the same time the ASI hosts its drinks reception with Nadhim Zahawi and Steve Barclay in the Stanley Suite at The Midland Hotel. Not one to miss…

Good luck keeping up with the wonks.



The FA’s annual MPs v Lobby football match kicks off at 10 a.m. on Sunday at an nearby football ground. You’ll ned an invite to see the spectacle…

King in the North Andy Burnham will make an appearance at the Friends’ Meetings House at 3:30 p.m. on Monday to talk about cities.

Liz Truss is expected to cause a stir at 12 p.m. on Monday in the Trafford Room of the Midland Hotel for the “Great British Growth Rally” alongside Priti Patel and Simon Clarke. Get there before the lobby journos…

Toploader are supposedly performing at both Labour and Tory conferences this year. MPs and hacks must be looking forward to dancing in the moonlight…



Watch out for senior staff from the Tony Blair Institute, who are hosting and boasting at quite a few events. In case you’re looking for a quiet place to nap, head to these:


1 p.m. TBI talks Scottish polling work at the YC Theatre.

8 p.m. Yuppie drinks with the Startup Coalition at their Tech Hub.


1 p.m. TBI is sponsoring an invite-only panel on centre-right parties at the international lounge.

3:30 p.m. TBI analyst Shayan Hiwa will speak at the Conservative Middle East Council at the YC Theatre.

5 p.m. Policy director Sam Sharps will talk at a Speccie event on the future of Britain in Exchange 11.


1 p.m. TBI chief policy strategist Benedict Macon-Cooney will talk about AI in the Churchill Theatre.

Anything to add? And remember our conference tip box is always open: team@order-order.com

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