For politicians and party faithful, conference time is one of joy. Freed from the shackles of the day job, and surrounded by like-minded souls, they can dispense with the weary business of guarding their thoughts from political opponents and just be themselves and say the things they’ve always wanted to. 

No party is immune from such hubris, but this year’s Conservative in Manchester is shaping up to be a monument to grandiose claims and ideas chucked in the blue-sky-thinking box to see what rains down.  

Among the speeches, interviews debates and off-the-main-hall briefings, there have been several which have caught the eye, and deserve greater scrutiny.  

And so, from the Prime Minister on down, here are some of the more outlandish claims fact-checked.  

Rishi Sunak on NHS waiting times: “The reason (NHS in England) lists are going up is because we have got industrial action.” 

Listing the ongoing doctors strike south of the border for an increase at hospital waiting times, the Prime Minister made the claim during an interview on Tuesday, saying it was the “number one reason”.  

Factcheck: This is false. Waiting times in England were already high even before the pandemic. The strike may have exacerbated an already bad situation, but are not the main cause.  

Labour's Meat tax: In a speech on the second day of the Conservative party conference, the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero Claire Coutinho claimed that Labour “seems so relaxed” about taxing meat.  

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During what she later said was a ‘light moment’ in her speech, Ms Coutinho said: “It’s no wonder Labour seems so relaxed about taxing meat. Sir Keir Starmer doesn’t eat it and Ed Miliband is clearly scarred by his encounter with a bacon sandwich.” 

Factcheck: This one’s a bit of a porky (sorry). Labour has no plans to bring in a tax on meat, and has confirmed this after Ms Coutinho’s comments.  

15 minute cities, and councils stopping people from going to the shops: This is an odd one.  

In a speech to the conference, transport secretary Mark Harper described the concept of 15-minute cities – where local amenities are located within a 15-minute walk or cycle – as “sinister”. 

“What is sinister, and what we shouldn’t tolerate,” said Harper, “is the idea that local councils can decide how often you go to the shops, and that they can ration who uses the roads and when, and that they police it all with CCTV.” 

The idea of 15-minute cities has become a favourite conspiracy on the internet, with quack gurus such as Neil Oliver of GB News warning people they face being ghettoised if the policy ever comes to fruition. 

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While the intent may be to cut down car use, no-one anywhere is suggesting people will be confined to 15-minute radius of their homes.  

Factcheck: The UK Government itself has debunked this one, prior to Mr Harper’s speech. Responding to a petition in March that demanded councils hold referendums before implementing 15-minute city plans, the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) said that “15-minute cities aim to provide people with more choice about how and where they travel, not to restrict movement”. 

It added that “the 15-minute cities concept is not a national planning policy” but is part of a framework that aims to promote “walking, cycling and public transport use, so that patterns of movement, streets and parking contribute to making high-quality places”.