Sunbelt Rentals was among 40 or so organisations boosting Conservative Party coffers by paying for stand space at its annual conference in Manchester this week.
Others exhibitors ranged from corporate interests like EDF, Ineos, Facebook and Drax, to charities and campaign groups like WWF, British Red Cross and Sue Ryder. All had a message to impart to political movers and shakers. Sunbelt was the only construction industry organisation with a booth.
It is not immediately clear what message Sunbelt and its lobbyists from Atticus Communications were seeking to put to the government but the unusual sight of an electric Volvo ECR25 mini-excavator in such a setting seemed to attract attention.
It is tradition every year for the party leader to tour the exhibition stands to thank the exhibitors for their attendance. In this way, Sunbelt business development director Geoff Fawker got to host the prime minister in the booth.
Never one to miss such an opportunity, the prime minster posed for photos in the cab of the excavator and rode around on a battery-powered bicycle that Sunbelt was also displaying.
Explaining its presence at the event, Sunbelt Rentals UK posted on social media: “We had the opportunity to host Boris Johnson at #CPC21 today to showcase the great work we are doing to support the UK's infrastructure and development agenda and our commitment to sustainability, our communities and our customers. We’ve supplied infrastructure solutions, including 550 DHSC test and trace sites across the breadth of the country over the last 18 months and look forward to continuing to support the UK rebuilding effort post-pandemic.”