Party conference season is almost at an end for another year, and what better way to celebrate than to look back at a century’s worth of party conferences all in one go! At the bottom of this article (so as not to break the paywall) is an interactive map of every party conference from the Big 3 parties since 1900.*
Those of you in the cheap seats can content yourselves with the following column chart.
Seaside towns feature prominently in the list, with six of the top ten locations (including all of the top three) all being coastal resorts. I’m sure it’s purely a coincidence that the parties’ annual jollies have largely been to seaside towns…
To date, Blackpool and Brighton have been by far the most popular towns for party conferences, although fortunately for the cream of Westminster society no party conference has been held at Blackpool since the 2007 Conservative conference.
Despite the capital’s prominence in all other aspects of political life, London hasn’t hosted a conference since the 1987 SDP conference (prior to that it was the Labour 1974 conference).
Other prominent UK cities have been similarly overlooked for long periods of time. No party conference was held in Manchester between 1917 and 2006, in Liverpool between 1925 and 2010, or in Birmingham between 1933 and 2008.
The other constituent countries of the UK are also badly overlooked by the main parties. In Wales, Llandudno has hosted eight party conferences from the 1930s to the 1980s, Cardiff twice in 1908 and 1927, whilst Newport hosted an additional one in 1910. Scotland has played host eight times: four in Glasgow, three in Edinburgh and once in Dundee, whilst Northern Ireland has seen only one party conference from the Big 3 parties (Labour in 1907).
*In order to depict one conference a year the following conferences are excluded: Liberal Democrat spring party conferences and special assemblies, Labour party special conferences plus the two Labour party spring conferences in 1918.