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WESTMINSTER WATCH - TORIES PLAN LOCAL SPOTLIGHT

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The Conservatives will next month underline their new commitment to local government by giving it a centre-stage sl...
The Conservatives will next month underline their new commitment to local government by giving it a centre-stage slot at the annual party conference in Bournemouth.

For the second year running, Conservative councillors will get a chance to address the conference in a 45-minute question and answer session reserved for local government and planning.

Local government spokesman Nigel Waterson MP will host the event on the last morning of the conference, to be followed by a speech from Archie Norman MP, shadow secretary of state for the environment, transport and the regions.

Mr Waterson told LGC the decision to reserve a conference session for local government was a recognition that 'so much of our party is made up of people in local government'.

The session will provide the chance to debate the party's plans for local government, set out in its Believing in Britain draft manifesto, which Tory party members are now being balloted on.

Plans by Conservative Central Office to release more details on the 'free councils' initiative this week had been postponed.

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