Rumours of the death of champagne at the Conservative Party conference are much exaggerated.
The realpolitik compromise is of a ban on conspicuous consumption – namely, photographs – particularly of ministers involved in swinging the axe. The Conservatives have not objected to the others serving at parties on the fringe.
But, at the very top of the party, there was a problem last night of a clash of promises and obligations on the champagne front.
The champagne “ban” is a response to the financial crisis of 2008.
But Conservative Treasurer Michael Spencer had much a earlier commitment to keep from the darkest of dark days from the Tory wilderness years.
At the 2002 and 2003 party conferences, under the leadership of Iain Duncan Smith, the party had ever fewer high rollers at the showpiece annual dinner.
So Spencer made a pledge to those who stuck with the party through thick and thin.
“When we win, we are going to drink Dom Perignon and Petrus”.
With the Tories back in power this year, Next Left’s top table sources are pleased that he was last night very much as good as his word.
It was an expensive promise to keep.
We hear there were many headaches this morning.
But there was not a cameraman in sight.