The government today stood accused of going too far in its “age of austerity” as some Conservative Party members blamed Chancellor George Osborne for an embarrassing mix-up which saw the party’s Autumn conference being held in a car park next to the ICC in Birmingham.
Insiders claim that Mr Osborne’s strict budgeting for the annual event, which was scheduled to be held in the ICC over four days, led to the party being unable to hire the venue for the final two days of the conference. This meant that delegates turning up at Birmingham’s ICC this morning were faced with the humiliation of being denied access to the building, instead being directed to an adjacent car park which had hastily been transformed into a makeshift conference venue.
One MP commented: “We are all very aware of the need for deep cuts during these difficult economic times, but this is one of the most ridiculous experiences of my life. I had heard the rumours, like many others, that the Chancellor was trying to save money during conference season, and most of us expected that maybe we would forfeit some of the free drinks and expensive lunches which were associated with the party conference in the past, but I don’t think that anyone could have predicted that we would be holding half of the conference in a car park!”
Another Conservative MP was almost incandescent with fury: “He’s gone too far this time! Of course there are some difficult decisions to be made, but holding the party conference in a car park is one cut too many!”
One delegate was overheard muttering as he passed through the “pay and display” meter: “This would never have happened under Thatcher….”