The Daily Telegraph has followed up ConservativeHome's story about the new company the Conservatives have appointed to run their conferences. It is called Fingerprint Conferences and was only set up in November. One of its principals is Azahar Hussein, who was also a key staff member of CCO Conferences and has effectively run the commercial exhibition at the conference for the last three years. A likeable and cheerful chap, Azahar will bring a great degree of enthusiasm to the task ahead, but one can't help wondering if this is a change of name rather than a change of personnel. Tim Montgomerie is asking questions to CCHQ about how this potentially lucrative contract was awarded, but has so far received no answers.
UPDATE: CCHQ have just made this statement... The tendering of the contract to manage Spring Forum and Annual Party Conferences has been handled by a procurement company which advertised the contract in the events industry magazine 'Event' during September. The tendering process involved face to face interviews with a number of companies, and after discussions to see which model met the Party’s conference needs best, Fingerprint Events Ltd were awarded the contract by the Party Board. Commercial Confidentiality Agreements signed with all companies restrict us from releasing further details other than contained in the original press release. Fingerprint Events were judged to have the most suitable model especially in terms of CCHQ control and the financial return to the Party.