On Message: Party conference preview


With Brexit overshadowing Parliament as it returns from recess and a weakened Theresa May after the shock General Election result in June, all eyes will be on the party conferences for further indications of how parties will respond to Brexit and the Government’s legislative agenda.

In the latest episode of MHP’s On Message podcast, host Adam Batstone is joined by Matthew Elliott, Chris Brown and James Gurling to discuss the upcoming party conference season and the communications implications and strategy behind it.

In this episode of On Message

The panel discusses the Conservative Party Conference, focusing on the future of Theresa May’s leadership, her record since the General Election and potential Tory leadership contenders.

The panel considers two particular contenders, Jacob Rees Mogg and Ruth Davidson, and whether Rees Mogg’s recent comments on same-sex marriage and abortion may help or hinder his reputation.

Since the election and the Government’s deal with the DUP, Northern Ireland has become pivotal in Westminster, and so the panel discusses the DUP attitude to the Conservatives and what they expect of Brexit for Northern Ireland.

Also under scrutiny is Jeremy Corbyn’s use of Labour conference to secure his position as leader and ask whether Keir Starmer is positioning himself as a possible alternative.

The podcast concludes with a look at the Liberal Democrats’ conference this weekend. The panel explores whether the explicitly pro-European position of the Lib Dems can work at a time when more and more people seem to be accepting the inevitability of Brexit.


  • Matthew Elliott, MHP Advisor and former chief executive of the Vote Leave Campaign. Prior roles include chief executive of the campaign groups Taxpayers Alliance and Business for Britain and Campaign Director of NOtoAV
    in the 2011 AV referendum.
  • Chris Brown, Director and Founder of Brown O’Connor Communications. Based in Belfast, Chris has 15 years’ experience working in London and Belfast on high profile campaigns.
  • James Gurling, Managing Director at MHP since 2014. James has 20 years’ experience in public affairs and has been involved at a senior level in the Liberal Democrats.


MHP Director, Adam Batstone has a 25-year journalistic career covering newspapers, radio, TV and most recently the BBC News website. He joined MHP with a brief to use his extensive editorial experience to help clients frame their messages in a way which would have maximum impact for both traditional and new media channels.

On Message is produced by Tom Gillingham and edited by Nick Carter of Mixsonix Audio Production

If you have any thoughts or comments about this podcast do please get in touch via email: contact@mhpc.com