>Do they like to be by the seaside?


Each September generations of political hacks, geeks and insiders have heard the siren call of the sea and headed to Britain’s seaside resort for the annual party conference. Accompanying them, and providing a welcome end of season bump to hotel and guest house owners, are tides of journalistic flotsam and corporate jetsam.

This tradition continued well into the 21st century, but the lure of the coast seems to be losing its automatic and magnetic pull. Labour was the first to break ranks, holding its 2006 conference in Manchester. It returned to the coast with Bournemouth in 2007, and then returned to Manchester in 2008. It was joined that year by the Conservatives, who held their conference in Birmingham and who have not returned to the seaside since. The last to make the break was the Liberal Democrats, who went to Liverpool in 2010. 

This year there are no seaside trips for the big three parties – the Conservative Party will be in Manchester, the Labour Party will visit Liverpool and the Liberal Democrats are currently meeting in Birmingham

Since 1945, two resorts have dominated the party conferences of Labour and the Conservatives (see graph below). Blackpool has chalked up 25 Labour conferences and 29 Conservative conferences. Brighton has hosted 21 Labour conferences and 13 Conservative conferences. There is then a big gap before Bournemouth, Scarborough, Margate and Morecambe (see list below).

Labour Party conferences since 1945

Blackpool 25
Bournemouth 3
Brighton 21
Liverpool 1
London 3
Manchester 3
Margate 4
Morcambe 1
Scarborough 8

Conservative Party conferences since 1945

Birmingham 2
Blackpool 29
Bournemouth 9
Brighton 13
Llandudno 2
London 2
Manchester 2
Margate 1
Scarborough 2