What's your favourite moment from party conferences past and present?
Whether your taste is for "U-turn" puns, grotesque chaos, or quiet men turning up the volume, we want to hear which moments from party conferences you'd like to see again.
Email us at email@example.com or use the form
to send your suggestions.
We're already building up a wonderful archive (see below) - but there are plenty more, past and present.
You can choose from any period, but if your choices are, say, the Liberal Party's vote in favour of women's suffrage (1883) or Stanley Baldwin advocating tariff reform (1923), we are unlikely to be able to show you video clips.
"NAKED INTO THE CONFERENCE CHAMBER"
Aneurin Bevan, 1957
At the Labour Conference in Brighton in October 1957, unilateral nuclear disarmament was a hot and divisive topic.
Nye Bevan was opposed to unilateralism and appealed to delegates not to send a future British foreign secretary "naked into the conference chamber".
You can watch a brief extract from this speech in the box on the right; for the speeches below, we're able to give you longer recordings.
"TO DEFY AND FELL GOLIATH!"
Quintin Hogg, 1957
At the Conservative Conference in Blackpool in 1957, delegates were preoccupied with the Egyptian president's decision the previous year to nationalise the Suez Canal.
Quintin Hogg - Lord Hailsham - was on hand to cheer up the rank and file with his speech as party chairman. In the clip on the right, Robert Kee reports: "he began effectively enough, but what everyone really wanted to know was whether he was going to ring the bell this time".
And ring the bell he did, announcing that he was ringing it in thankfulness that "the small rude stones of David are still powerful in this year to defy and fell Goliath!"
You can read more about the remarkable life of Quintin Hogg in this profile, including his decision in 1963 to renounce his peerage to indicate he was ready and willing to succeed Harold MacMillan.
"FIGHT AND FIGHT AND FIGHT AGAIN TO SAVE THE PARTY WE LOVE"
Hugh Gaitskell, 1960
During the Labour conference 2007, our own Andrew Neil nominated a clip - of the Labour
Described by Andrew as "one of the great moments of modern British politics", Hugh Gaitskell's speech was to a Labour party in the midst of a huge debate about unilateral nuclear disarmament.
In the box on the right, you can see Andrew introducing the address, famous for the pledge to "fight and fight and fight again".
"THE END OF A THOUSAND YEARS OF HISTORY"
Hugh Gaitskell, 1962
In October 1962, Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell addressed conference with strongly-stated opposition to British membership of the Common Market:
"We must be clear about this; it does mean, if this is the idea, the end of Britain as an independent European state. I make no apology for repeating it. It means the end of a thousand years of history. You may say: Let it end. But, my goodness, it is a decision that needs a little care and thought."
You can watch this famous moment in post-war UK politics by clicking in the box on the right.
"FORGED IN THE WHITE HEAT OF THIS REVOLUTION"
Harold Wilson, 1963
In 1963, Harold Wilson addressed the Labour Party conference with what is now usually paraphrased as "the white heat of technology" speech.
He told conference: "The Britain that is going to be forged in the white heat of this revolution will be no place for restrictive practices or for outdated methods on either side of industry."
You can watch this famous moment in fuller context in the box on the right.
"LEFT! LEFT! LEFT!"
Michael Heseltine, 1976
At the 1976 Conservative Conference, Michael Heseltine railed against the Labour government: "a rabble of political extremists orchestrated from within the British cabinet itself".
Following Labour's own conference, he portrays the party as "a one-legged army limping away from the storm they had created", mimicking their imagined marching orders: "Left! Left! Left!".
The speech also includes more famous words: "the red flag has never flown throughout these islands yet, nor for a thousand years has the flag of any other alien creed".
And you get two for the price of one, as you can also watch footage of Mr Heseltine's reprise of this turn in 1995.
In response to the revived fortunes of New Labour , the Deputy PM imagines that they have been given new orders: "About turn! Right! Right! Right!".
In the box on the right you can watch John Sergeant's report.
"HALF OF YOU WON'T BE HERE IN 30 OR 40 YEARS' TIME"
William Hague, 1977
At the 1977 Conservative Conference in Blackpool, a 16 year old called William Hague featured in the evening news bulletins after giving a speech described by Margaret Thatcher as "thrilling".
The future leader of the party delivered a paean to small government, quipping "I trust that Mrs Thatcher's government will indeed get out of the way".
He warned of the approach of socialism in the UK, meeting a raucous response to his remark: "it's alright for some of you - half of you won't be here in 30 or 40 years' time".
"THERE WAS I, WAITING AT THE CHURCH"
James Callaghan, 1978
In 1978, Jim Callaghan's speech to the annual TUC congress in Brighton provided the seminal moment of the conference circuit and, says our guest Paddy Ashdown, paved the way for his defeat by Mrs Thatcher.
The TUC had expected the prime minister to use his address to announce the date of an October general election.
Instead he teased the delegates by singing a Marie Lloyd ditty: "There was I, waiting at the church". This moment is a favourite of Lord Ashdown's, and also of viewer David Rowe.
In the box on the right, you can watch this turn, and enjoy footage of an age when delegates smoked on the platform.
"THE LADY'S NOT FOR TURNING"
Margaret Thatcher, 1980
Margaret Thatcher made a defiant speech to her Conservative party conference in Brighton on October 10th, 1980.
In it, she stressed her determination to stick to tough economic policies despite doubts expressed within Tory ranks.
In the box on the right, you can see Mrs T in action, as reported by the BBC's John Simpson.
"GO BACK TO YOUR CONSTITUENCIES AND PREPARE FOR GOVERNMENT"
David Steel, 1981
On 18 September 1981, party leader David Steel addressed what was then known as the Liberal Assembly, urging delegates to "go back to your constituencies and prepare for government".
The speech is frequently quoted by commentators, not least because the Conservatives were to remain in power for another 16 years only to hand over power to New Labour; you can watch the original report by the BBC's John Simpson in the box on the right.
"A LABOUR COUNCIL - A LABOUR COUNCIL"
Neil Kinnock, 1985
In 1985, Neil Kinnock faced a difficult Labour conference with the hard-left movement gaining in strength, particularly in Liverpool where the city council's ruling Labour group was dominated by Militant.
This is one of most frequently nominated clips; in the box on the right, you can watch Mr Kinnock's impassioned attack on Militant, as reported by the BBC's John Cole.
"IT HAS RUN DOWN THE CURTAIN AND JOINED THE CHOIR INVISIBLE"
Margaret Thatcher, 1990
In the 1990 conference season, the Liberal Democrats in Brighton had just launched their new logo based around an image of a bird, and Mrs Thatcher's speechwriters saw an opportunity to have some fun at their expense.
The Conservative leader derided the logo - and the party - with a bowdlerised version of a sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus about a dead parrot, meeting a warm reception from the conference floor.
Update: The Times' Daniel Finkelstein has recently written [external link] about this speech, reporting that just before delivering the speech, Mrs Thatcher " turned to her political adviser John Whittingdale and said: 'Monty Python - is he one of us?'. Sensing that the whole section of the speech could unravel, John swiftly replied: 'Yes, Prime Minister.'"
"DOING THE LAMBETH WALK - OI!"
Michael Heseltine, 1991
In 1991, Michael Heseltine was no longer the darling of Conservative conference, following his leadership challenge to Margaret Thatcher the previous year.
Nonetheless, he managed to inspire the floor with an anti-Labour rallying cry in advance of the '92 election.
He announced legislation to fight councillors who refused to pay the community charge: "to those councillors who won't pay their bills, I say: 'Won't Pay? Can't Vote!'"
He also scoffed at Neil Kinnock's purge of 13 Lambeth councillors: "Off with their heads, and into the political vocabulary of our time marched a whole new meaning to the old song - Doing The Lambeth Walk - Oi!".
In the box on the right, you can see the report from the BBC's John Cole.
"I'VE GOT A LITTLE LIST"
Peter Lilley, 1992
In 1992, the social security secretary regaled the Conservative conference with a plan to "close down the something for nothing society", delivered in the form of a parody of Gilbert and Sullivan's Lord High Executioner:
"I've got a little list
Of benefit offenders who I'll soon be rooting out
And who never would be missed
They never would be missed
There's those who make up bogus claims
In half a dozen names
And councillors who draw the dole
To run left-wing campaigns
They never would be missed
They never would be missed
Young ladies who get pregnant just to jump the housing list
And dads who won't support the kids of ladies they have ... kissed
And I haven't even mentioned all those sponging socialists
I've got them on my list
And there's none of them be missed
There's none of them be missed.
This song, from The Mikado, is frequently rewritten to satirical purpose, more recently adapted at the Last Night of the Proms to include "the judicial humourist - Lord Hutton's on the list".
"IT WASN'T BROWN'S; IT WAS BALL'S!"
Michael Heseltine, 1994
Before the 1994 Conservative conference, the shadow Chancellor Gordon Brown had spoken of economic policies based on neoclassical endogenous growth theory, alluding to "symbiotic relationships between growth and investment in people and infrastructure".
Michael Heseltine decided to have some fun with this, and told conference that Mr Brown's speech had been written by "a 27 year old choral-singing researcher named Ed Ball" [sic].
Punning on the name of our current schools and children secretary, Mr Heseltine puns: "So there you have it. The final proof. Labour's brand new shining modernist economic dream. But it wasn't Brown's. It was Ball's!".
"WHO DARES WINS"
Michael Portillo, 1995
After discussing the Peter Lilley clip above Michael Portillo told Jenny that his most humiliating conference moment was his 1995 speech.
The then defence secretary attacked Labour's defence policy and invoked the motto of the SAS, "Who Dares Wins", going on to liken the Tories to the special forces: "We dare. We win."
Lord Tebbit was to say of the speech: "It made my toes curl in my shoes because it was so singularly inappropriate."
You can watch the footage, including the long standing ovation, in the box on the right.
"HUBBLE, BUBBLE, TOIL AND TROUBLE; THE TORY PARTY'S REDUCED TO RUBBLE"
Paddy Ashdown, 1997
After Labour's victory in 1997, Paddy Ashdown was in jubilant mood at Lib Dem conference, rewriting Macbeth with John Major, Chris Patten and Tristan Garrell-Jones cast in the roles of three witches plotting to oust William Hague.
"Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble; the Tory party's reduced to rubble" is one of the lines from Mr Ashdown's crowd-pleasing address.
"PEOPLE DO NOT WANT A NANNY STATE"
Paddy Ashdown, 1998
One year after Tony Blair's landslide 1997 election victory, Paddy Ashdown's Lib Dems were in more serious and more rebellious mood, sensing that cooperation with Labour over voting reform would come to nothing.
In the box on the right, you can watch Paddy try to convince his party he would not become Tony Blair's lap dog, as reported by the BBC's Robin Oakley.
"THE QUIET MAN IS TURNING UP THE VOLUME"
Iain Duncan Smith, 2003
In his 2003 conference speech, Iain Duncan Smith attempted to silence critics of his leadership who claimed he was having little impact.
With Blackpool thick with gossip of plots to unseat the Tory leader, IDS chose to come out all guns blazing.
In the box on the right, you can see the self-proclaimed Quiet Man of politics, as reported by the BBC's Mark Mardell.
Walter Wolfgang & Jack Straw, 2005
The 2005 Labour Party conference was disrupted when all eyes turned to an 82-year-old party member who was thrown out of its annual conference for heckling.
Walter Wolfgang was removed and after shouting "nonsense" as Jack Straw defended Iraq policy and detained by police under anti-terrorism laws as he tried to re-enter the conference centre - for which the party later apologised.
The BBC's Nick Assinder wrote of the event: "No-one who was there will forget the incongruity of the prime minister telling the man he was lucky to live in a free society where such things were allowed - just as he was being bundled out of the hall surrounded by stewards."
In the box on the right, you can see Nick Robinson's report.
"WHEREVER I AM, WHATEVER I DO, I'M WITH YOU"
Tony Blair, 2006
A failed plot by Labour MPs to get rid of Tony Blair provided the backdrop for what turned out to be Tony Blair's last conference speech as party leader on 26th September, 2006.
Mr Blair used the speech to confirm he would step down as PM within 12 months.
In the box on the right, you can watch him bring his audience to tears, as reported by the BBC's Nick Robinson.
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