If warm white wine and dodgy canapés are your thing, then party conferences will be your heaven and I urge you to gate-crash them before the parties become extinct.

Gate-crashing is an innate skill. Mr Steerpike crashed a members-only do for constituency bigwigs at the Tories’ tempestuous conference in Birmingham, and found himself in good company: Tory party chairman Grant Shapps revealed that he is an expert gate-crasher.

Back in the nineties, ‘a strong young Conservative, who was never going to be a real security threat’ swiped John Major’s schedule and invitation list for an entire party conference in the loos. While a flustered member of the prime minister’s security detail scoured the hotel looking for the missing gold, Shapps was walking in an out of any party of his choosing. Like a pro.

Tags: Conservatives, Grant Shapps, John Major, Party conferences