The gathering was meant to gear the Conservative Party up for next year’s general election.

But the Tory conference in Manchester has been overshadowed by the HS2 row and UK Government ministers spreading conspiracy theories and lies.

Rishi Sunak’s keynote speech to delegates on Wednesday was set up for the inevitable – to bin off the biggest UK government-promised investment in the north of England in decades, while in the heart of Manchester.

The optics were shambolic, made worse by Mr Sunak the day before insisting he would not be “forced into a premature decision” over HS2.

Read more: Rishi Sunak axes HS2 but will invest funds in Scottish roads projects

But the decision had clearly been made some time ago, going by a video of the PM sent out on social media after his speech of him behind his desk, presumably in Westminster, attempting to justify the decision.

Claire Coutinho used her first major speech as UK Net Zero Secretary to falsely claim that Labour was proposing a meat tax, while Transport Secretary Mark Harper falsely claimed that 15-minute neighbourhoods would allow councils to restrict how far people can travel.

Very little in the Prime Minister’s speech was relevant to Scotland.

The immigration proposals, as extreme as they are, and the language certainly is, have been grasped by Home Secretary, and potential Tory leadership contender, Suella Braverman – ownership essentially taken away from the Prime Minister.

The Home Secretary’s confident speech to the conference on Tuesday where she claimed a “hurricane” of uncontrolled immigration was heading for the UK – appealed to the right wing of the Tories, including a bizarre claim that only the elite and rich will back Labour in next year’s general election.

Read more: Suella Braverman warns over 'hurricane of uncontrolled immigration'

Mr Sunak has not let his senior ministers announce anything significant at this conference, not that there has been much. He has wanted the spotlight to firmly be on him – but on immigration, everyone has their eyes trained on Ms Braverman and not the PM.

Mr Sunak announced proposed education reforms and ambitious plans to phase out smoking for young people in England.

The Scottish Government is updating its tobacco strategy, last published in 2018, and will now face increasing pressure to at least match Mr Sunak’s vow to increase the smoking age by one year every year so young teenagers will never be allowed to legally pick up cigarettes.

But his decision to cancel the remainder of HS2 has ramifications for Scotland, both for transport and politics.

HS2 trains were planned to connect directly to Scottish stations such as Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley, so it is not clear what the impact on proposed future journey times to London from Scotland will be.

Read more: SNP under pressure to follow Rishi Sunak's vow to phase out smoking

But Mr Sunak set out that the £36 billion from binning off HS2, instead of being saved, will be re-invested in transport projects, including, controversially, in Scotland with a pledge to improve the A75. 

Transport projects are devolved to the Scottish Government and there have been rows between the two governments before about UK ministers wanting to spend in devolved areas. Another rammy is brewing.

Alister Jack, the Scottish Secretary who missed most of the Tory conference due to jet off to Vietnam, hung around long enough to suggest that the UK Government will more happily bypass Holyrood and issue funding directly to Scottish councils.

Read more: Analysis: Panic stations run rife at Conservative Party conference

In his speech, he said “the era of ‘devolve and forget’”, which amounted to “leaving too much in the hands of the devolved administration in Holyrood and allowing the role of the UK Government to fade into the background”, was “dead”.

Douglas Ross also suggested that UK ministers could step in and complete the dualling of the A9 if the Scottish Government continues to sit on its hands.

What is clear is that the UK Government, facing down Holyrood legislation such as the gender recognition reforms and the deposit return scheme and growing in confidence in the SNP’s independence route running out of road, looks hellbent on no longer being Scotland’s other government anymore.