Ever since Boris Johnson resigned, Tories have wondered what he’ll do at conference. We now have an answer: he’ll address a thousand-person rally on the Tuesday, inside the secure zone. The event will be hosted by Conservative Home, the influential Tory website.
This is a headache for Tory conference planners. Boris Johnson’s appearance on Tuesday, where he will reiterate his call to ‘chuck Chequers’, will overshadow everything else that is on that day. Given that Johnson’s Telegraph column comes out on Monday, there’s a good chance that he’ll be the big story of the conference for two days out of the four. This is, to put it mildly, not ideal for Theresa May as she tries to reassure Tory members about what her Chequers proposals mean.
In making this one-day dash to conference, Johnson is following a tried and trusted method; it is what he used to do when David Cameron was leader. By only turning up for 24 hours, he ensures that his arrival becomes a big story and that he doesn’t become stale as these conference so often can. He’ll also raise the bar for Theresa May’s speech, the next day.