CONFERENCE WHISPERS

The cat(s) that got the cream
Cats abound at this year’s Tory conference.

First Theresa May, the home secretary, used her speech to claim that a convicted Bolivian illegal immigrant had been allowed to stay in Britain because he owned a British pet cat.

The delegates lapped up this tale of human rights madness, but was it true? Ken Clarke, the uber-liberal justice secretary, thought not, and was happy to put his money where his mouth is; he challenged May to a bet.

The Tory leadership tried to swing behind May, with aides giving hacks the "fe-line" to take. For a while, it seemed as though Clarke was back in his kennel. But not for long.

Eventually, it transpired the man had been allowed to remain in the UK because he was in a long-term relationship (which entitled him to stay).

Because the pair weren't married, the cat was provided – along with a host of other things – as proof the pair were actually living together.

Elsewhere, one Tory wag was doing the rounds telling a new joke about the Liberal Democrats. “The Liberals used to shoot your dog, but now they steal your cat,” he said in reference to the Lib Dem MP's wife who stole his lover's cat. So who was the joker? City A.M.'s moles say it was a very senior Tory indeed.

An enduring marriage
The City’s major donors were out in force at the Treasurers’ party on Monday night: Arbuthnot Securities chairman and CEO Henry Angest, Cavendish senior partner Howard Lee, and Christopher Moran, the entrepreneur currently restoring Sir Thomas More’s former home Crosby House back to its Tudor glory. Hosted by co-treasurers Sir Stanley Fink and Peter Cruddas, the reception gave Cameron a chance to appeal to donors to build up funds to help the Tories secure a “clear overall majority” in 2015, before rushing off to drinks with the South East Conservatives.

Here, the guest speaker was London Mayor Boris Johnson, whom Cameron greeted with a huge hug and a firm arm clasp, to cheers from the crowd. “The last time we gripped each other as tightly as this, people thought this was the first civil partnership in the Conservative Party,” he joked.