Oh dear. Longtime readers will recall that it was just three years ago that the Conservative conference app was revealed to have a major security flaw. The private data of senior party members – including cabinet ministers – was accessible to anyone that logged in as that particular conference attendee, with the phone numbers of Boris Johnson and others being made accessible. Johnson's picture was changed to one featuring a pornographic image; Michael Gove's to that of his formerTimes boss Rupert Murdoch.
Three years on, attendees for next month's conference will be hoping security measures have been enhanced – especially as this year's shindig is likely to require all attendees to show proof of vaccination. But Steerpike has discovered that while the app's security – or lack thereof – is as yet unknown, concerns have been raised about the party's website to register for the conference. One Tory MP has complained to chair Amanda Milling that it currently lists Taiwan as a 'province of China' – something which has not gone down well in certain sections of the parliamentary party, especially as the Ambassador of Taiwan is due to attend the conference. Awkward.
One member unlikely to be complaining though is Theresa May. Steerpike understands the former Prime Minister will be of many Tory MPs not be attending this year's conference – a move for which some in No. 10 will be no doubt be grateful. Conservative conferences of the 1990s were famous for having ex-premiers show up to derail their successor, with Margaret Thatcher gleefully performing that role in 1992 at the height of the Maastricht roles. Six years later it was Thatcher and Heath were forced to glower at one other from much mocked Ikea chairs on the same stage – an ordeal that will be mercifully spared Boris and Theresa.