POLITICS
02/10/2011 11:57 BST | Updated 02/12/2011 05:12 GMT

Conservative Party Conference 2011: Warsi Pledges Outright Majority At Next Election

Conservative Party conference kicked off in Manchester on Sunday afternoon with a pledge from chairman Sayeeda Warsi that the Tories must win an outright majority at the next election. Meanwhile tens of thousands of union members and activists rallied outside the secure zone to condemn the coalition's austerity agenda.

"You're killing people with your cuts," yelled a woman to HuffPostUK as we walked into the arena at Manchester Central. The demonstration was in full swing as Sayeeda Warsi addressed the party's grassroots inside, telling them: "If we truly want a compassionate Conservative Britain governed by a compassionate Conservative Party then in 2015 we must deliver an outright Conservative majority."

Accepting this might "ruffle a few feathers", she went on to say: "Winning an outright majority in 2015 means we must win in all parts of Britain as it is today. That means reaching out and connecting and attracting people from every corner of the country and every community. It means broadening and widening and deepening our appeal."

Later on in the main hall, the Tories' only Scottish MP David Mundell made the slightly baffling claim that Scottish Conservative politics were never dull. He went on to predict that Scottish voters would eventually fall out of love with the SNP, saying:

"The Scottish people rejected AV overwhelmingly, when the time comes I believe they will see through Alex Salmond’s narrow, nationalistic separatism."

By around 3 o'clock the demonstration outside the conference zone was winding down. Walking back to Piccadilly railway station, student Jack Taylor - 19 years old and from Stockton-On-Tees - told HuffPost UK: "They're just looking after their own class. Workers are being punished for a crisis they didn't really create."

But speaking later in the afternoon, foreign secretary William Hague used part of his keynote speech to conference to directly address those protesting outside, saying: "The money you were promised by the last Labour Government never existed, it was never there, and we have been left with the task of telling you the truth.

"A government betrays instead of serving its people if it allows them to live on a delusion and that we will not do."

The Labour Party on Sunday attempted to hammer home their message that the Tories were out of touch, with shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper declaring that David Cameron's desire to appeal to women voters was mere gesture politics.

Angela Eagle also trotted same mantra, saying the Prime Minister was "out of touch with what's happening to jobs and the cost of living."