Watch: Tory conference attendees sleep through Therese Coffey's speech
The Health Secretary was telling them her party “will always be on your side, when you need care the most”.
But as cameras panned, around four audience members were seen having an afternoon nap in Birmingham as Coffey spoke under a sign reading: “Getting Britain Moving”.
Viewer Brendan May wrote on Twitter: “The death of a political party, filmed up close for the first time ever. It’s like an Attenborough film about extinction.”
Shadow Justice Minister Alex Cunningham replied: “At least I keep my eyes open when she’s speaking.”
Deputy PM Coffey had reiterated that the Government would aim to get more people currently too ill to work back into employment.
Can't believe I failed to use the hashtag#wakeupandsmelltheCoffey
— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) October 4, 2022
Speaking on the main stage, she said: “We know work is good for you, both physically and for mental wellbeing, as well as putting more pounds in your pocket.
“That is why I will strive to support those not working now due to ill health, to help them to start, stay, and succeed in work; building on the Prime Minister’s pledge to have more mental health support in communities.
“Because together we can deliver a healthier, more productive society, all the stronger, to help grow our economy.”
Meanwhile, Liz Truss was struggling to maintain Cabinet discipline as Conservative critics who forced her U-turn on slashing income tax for the highest earners were accused of a “coup”.
BREAKING SNOOZE: Tory rank-and-file enjoying a nice nap during Cabinet minister's speech pic.twitter.com/P50iCHfrBN
— Graeme Demianyk (@GraemeDemianyk) October 4, 2022
Amid bitter infighting , Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng appeared to back down from considering another U-turn by now ruling out bringing forward his medium-term fiscal plan.
Members of the Cabinet were publicly urging the Prime Minister to raise benefits in line with inflation and questioning her climbdown on the 45 per cent rate for earnings over £150,000.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said she was “disappointed” by Mr Kwarteng and Ms Truss’s mid-conference tax U-turn, and accused Tory rebels like Michael Gove of staging a “coup”.
Kemi Badenoch criticised her Cabinet colleague, saying: “I think that sort of a language is just too inflammatory.”
Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt, another former leadership contender, said it “makes sense” to increase benefits in line with soaring inflation rather than deliver a real-terms cut.