The International Development Secretary has insisted the Conservative Party conference will “absolutely go ahead” and will be “incredibly positive”, despite MPs voting to reject a three-day Commons recess.
Yesterday, the motion to adjourn the Commons so MPs could attend their conference in Manchester next week was rejected by 306 votes to 298, a majority of 17.
However, Alok Sharma remained optimistic it would still be a "great conference".
The MP for Reading West told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “The Prime Minister’s going to set out a very positive vision for the country for the future.
“I think it will be very positive and an uplifting conference.”
Mr Sharma confirmed that he and other MPs will join members and campaigners from the wider Conservative party at the event, which is set to kick off on Sunday.
Boris Johnson was due to close the conference with his speech on Wednesday, but as Parliament is to continue sitting he will now be expected to attend the House of Commons for Prime Minister’s Questions.
A senior Conservative source acknowledged that in light of the decision the conference may have to be “scaled back”, but some say this could affect local businesses.
The four-day event is estimated to be worth more than £30 million to Manchester and a Number 10 source said that if the conference goes ahead without parliamentary recess it could be “incredibly damaging” for the city’s economy.