Tory council leader: 'Rather walk over coals than go to Conference'.

Tory councillor and council leader in Southend, Nigel Holdcroft, has shocked local party members by denouncing the Conservative Party Conference as a staged managed event with only purpose to gain national publicity and nothing to do with grassroots or the future of the Party.

Holdcroft revealed that he - "would rather have walked over hot coals than have gone to Conservative Conference".

Holdcroft told a local paper - "I have never been able to get excited about the thought of attending the conference which, in line with the other major parties, appears to have become increasingly stage-managed and more an opportunity to provide a public stage for our national colleagues and policies rather than a forum for future policy development.

"I am sure that some find it interesting and a good opportunity to meet with a large number of party colleagues, but it is not for me."

The Southend Council Leader later proclaimed that his "blisters were starting to heal".