Today at Conference

Our Conservative-in-residence rounds up all today's action

Michael Stott looks back at an eventful day in Manchester

Today was home affairs day at Conservative conference, and it was a veritable Tale of Two Ministers with two very different approaches.

Up first was Michael Gove, whose compassionate attittude to rehabilitation in the criminal justice system drew standing ovations from the assembled audience. Gove took a different approach than usual, drawing on an articulate ex-convict to make the case for re-education in prisons.

Home Secretary Theresa May was far more hardline, majoring on immigration in her speech. The response from the audience was much more muted, though there were certainly some very strong elements of support within the crowd, perhaps displaying the hold that subject has on certain parts of the party.

Up next was Zac Goldsmith, recently selected as the Conservative candidate for London Mayor. Goldsmith's speech mainly focused on the things that were never going to cause controversy: better and more affordable homes, safer streets and cleaner air for London. The two mile long, Tarmac elephant in the room was of course the third runway at Heathrow, which he failed to mention once, perhaps wishing not to make enemies too early in the game.

Not so Boris Johnson, who as expected wowed the crowds. They were on their feet before he'd even started speaking, and he didn't disappoint. Full of jokes, if a little rambling, Johnson didn't seem like he was preparing to give up his opposition to Heathrow expansion, calling again for a hub airport for London to mixed reviews.

The party seems to have largely escaped controversy or division of the likes the media was waiting to pounce on. There were expectations that Europe would rear its head, and for sure the numerous fringe events on the subject were well attended. But if anything the conference has simply reconfirmed previously-held views on the EU: the party is a little hostile but biding its time. Having just won an unexpected victory, clearly the Tories aren't quite ready for internecine warfare.

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