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The UK Conservative party have just recently concluded their party conference in Manchester. It alternates annually between Birmingham and Manchester. Neither city is particularly pro-Tory, but Manchester and its surrounding area especially is known for being perhaps one of the the most hostile part of the country towards conservatives. If we look at the council where conference is held, there hasn't been a single conservative councillor for over a decade, and within the county there is only one conservative led council (and that's far from safe). Labour MP's still outnumber Conservative MP's 2:1 in the county even after the last election.

I know few cities are friends of the Conservatives, but there are certainly more welcoming choices than Manchester. It's not some recent strategy either, it's been going on for a number of years.

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    That is precisely why they hold it in Manchester. It fits with the notion of the Conservatives breaching the "red wall" of Labour constituencies in the north of England. The problem it presents is that the Labour mayor of Manchester is a highly charismatic figure, seen by some as the eventual leader of the party. And Andy Burnham did endeavour to put some trip wires in place.
    – WS2
    Oct 10 at 20:37
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It always used to alternate between Brighton and Blackpool.

The tradition is to hold party conferences away from London. It is necessary to hold them in a city or a resort (as smaller towns won't have the infrastructure to host large numbers of visitors). It is traditional to alternate between a more northerly city and a more southerly city (emphasising the idea of a one-nation party).

If you are to hold a conference in a large northerly city, it will be in a Labour stronghold, whether you go for Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, or Newcastle upon Tyne.

Holding a conference in Manchester gives speakers a context to boast about all the "fantastic" things that they have done/will be doing to boost the Northern Economy, so expect to hear "Northern Powerhouse" and perhaps "HS2" talked about more often than if conference was staged in Southhampton.

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  • Of course holding it in a fairly new conference centre, which appears to have been trying to attract political conference custom probably means they got a good price as well.
    – origimbo
    Oct 9 at 16:59

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