THE annual party political conference season looks set to disappear in its traditional form this autumn along with millions of pounds in revenue after Labour became the first party to officially cancel the set-piece event due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Opposition will replace the usual four-day conference, due to have taken place in Liverpool in September, with online events.

Senior Liberal Democrat sources told The Herald that their party would also cancel its conference, due to take place in Brighton, and replace it with a string of online speeches “over a number of days”.

Meanwhile, Conservative MPs cast serious doubt about whether their annual get-together in Birmingham would take place, given social distancing rules are set to run on until the end of the year.

One senior figure said: “I can’t see it happening. It will be a big blow as it’s quite a money-spinner for the party; it brings in millions.”

Businesses and lobbying firms congregate at the annual conferences, particularly the Conservative one, which is often described as a business conference with a political event tagged on at the end.

Thousands of delegates attend each event, which also brings in large amounts of money for the cities, which host them.

At Labour’s event, some 13,000 people were due to have attended the Liverpool conference, which would have been Sir Keir Starmer's first as the Labour leader.

A party spokeswoman explained: "Our priority is the safety of members, staff and visitors to our events and the need to protect the public's health.

"In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we have therefore decided to postpone this year's annual and women's conferences," she added.

The annual gathering sees keynote speeches from shadow cabinet ministers and the party leader as well as votes on motions to shape Labour's policy.