Angry scenes greeted Conservative chairman Francis Maude yesterday as hundreds of delegates were forced to wait hours - and even days - for security passes to enter the Tory conference.
Mr Maude paid the frustrated delegates a visit and attempted to calm the situation by apologising for the severe delays which hit the accreditation arrangements in Bournemouth.
He said it was "disappointing" that police had refused to work through the night last night to clear the enormous backlog of pass applications.
"I am incredibly sorry people are having to put up with this," he told delegates.
"There is a big backlog of people's applications going through the police security process.
"We are going through them as quickly as we can. Any applications which are straightforward will get done, I hope, in the course of this morning, certainly in the course of the afternoon if not," he said to groans from the several hundred people gathered in the Pavilion Theatre to wait for their passes.
"The police have agreed to put more resources into it," he said. "They worked all through the night the night before last, not through the night last night, which was disappointing."
Conservative Party staff had also been trying to clear the backlog all night, he said.
Mr Maude promised that anyone who was tired of waiting and decided to go home would be given a refund.
One delegate, who works for the party, said: "The worrying thing about this is not only the fact that I can't get a pass, it is indicative of complete general incompetence and a process that is simply absurd."