Inside the 2022 Conservative party conference

The mood is undeniably tense as I arrive at Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham. Even by recent standards, it's hard to imagine a more challenging political backdrop for a new Prime Minister.

Nervous faces fill the ICC as delegates prepare to listen to what everyone agrees could be an early make-or-break moment – the keynote speech from the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

But then came the breaking news this morning that Kwasi Kwarteng had announced a u-turn on scrapping the 45p top rate of tax.

Government loyalists wanted him to do something to steady the ship. So, will this be enough or does it leave the government looking weak and humiliated?

No matter who you speak to, everyone agrees that action must be taken, and soon, for the government to regain control of its party.

There is a real sense that we are heading into an afternoon that could see the Truss government either regain confidence, or face a devastating political mutiny before it is barely a month old.

After a decade of attending Conservative Party Conference, I ask myself whether this moment is really as pivotal as it seems. Are we genuinely on the cusp of seismic political upheaval, or just deep into the zeitgeist of deeming everything ‘unprecedented’?

Certainly, this is not the first time that bitter division has threatened to steal the show. But despite it all, six years and four Prime Ministers after Brexit first ruptured the natural accession of Conservative politics, the Party has demonstrated remarkable resilience, winning two elections and, until recently, leading in the polls.

Why then does this Conference truly feel more significant? If the threat within has become par for the course, perhaps that eerie unfamiliar feeling is the spectre of a Labour Government that has never loomed so large.