On the final night of Tory conference, Cabinet ministers, spads and hacks gathered in Charter One for the Spectator’s drinks reception. With George Osborne in high spirits after a successful round of speeches, he was joined by Sajid Javid and Iain Duncan Smith to celebrate their first conference with a Tory majority.
While Javid told guests at the party that he was confident that they would increase their majority in the next election, ministers were still mindful not to appear to be lording it over the protesters outside, with the majority opting for white wine over the champagne on offer.
Although there was a no-photo rule in operation, the arrival of the one-time mayoral hopeful Sol Campbell caused even the most well-behaved attendees to break rank. While Campbell told Miss S about his aspirations for the Lords, the conversation was cut short by a man asking the former England footballer for a selfie. The perpetrator? None other than Bernard Jenkin.
— Anne Jenkin (@Baronessjenkin) October 7, 2015
Meanwhile, when Miss S caught up with Jacob Rees-Mogg towards the end of the evening, it was an absentee who dominated the conversation. With Ed Balls gone, who will take on the role of Santa Claus at this year’s House of Commons Christmas party? ‘He was always a good sport and found time to do it despite having a senior role,’ he mused. ‘Whoever does it next will need to have the right build.’
Alas, Miss Steerpike’s suggestion of Eric Pickles as Balls’s successor didn’t receive a reply.