Gordon Henderson proved himself a party pooper by refusing to attend the Conservative’s annual conference.
Last week’s rally in Manchester played well with the Tory faithful and the PM’s speech in which he spoke of making Britain “a land of opportunity” attracted its fair share of coverage in the nation’s media.
Conference season has long been seen as a chance for politicians to grandstand and opportunists to glad-hand, but it’s not to the taste of the Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP.
“I felt my time was better spent working here in my constituency, rather than listening to a succession of sound bites in Manchester,” he said.
“Sadly, the conferences of all political parties have lost their purpose and become pretty well meaningless.”
Mr Henderson last attended a conference in 1984, the Conservative Party gathering at the Grand Hotel in Brighton which was brought to a bloody end when an IRA bomb killed five people.
He’s called for the yearly get together to be scrapped, but said it would be akin to “MPs voting for an end to a jolly by the seaside”.
“Conferences are past their sell-by date,” he said.
“Parliament hasn’t sat for the last three weeks because of them, so if we scrapped them, we would see parliament doing more constructive work.”
In choosing to miss the Manchester meet, Mr Henderson said he engaged in local practicalities including visiting schools in Sittingbourne as part of an environmental group’s poster campaign.
He said his constituency activities also took him to Hempstead House in Bapchild where he lunched with the Sittingbourne and Sheppey Business Club.
Then there was case work to be done, which he claimed wouldn’t have been dealt with as effectively had he been away from home.
“In the past, conferences could make or break someone’s career and people could forward motions,” he said. “Now there are no votes, no debates...it’s just full of sound bites and photo opportunities.”