Thursday, 31 March 2011

Debate Success

Last night in parliament was the first cross party debate, ‘Is the Coalition working for Young People’ that was organised by Liberal Youth and attended by over 70 members of Conservative Future, Liberal Youth and the Young Fabians.

Brooks Newmark MP making his case to the panel

The debate was chaired by Matt Grist from Demos and each youth organisation was represented by a speaker who were;
- Lembit Opik (on behalf of Liberal Youth)
- Brooks Newmark MP (on behalf of Conservative Future) 
- Teresa Pearce MP (on behalf of Young Fabians)

It was a lively debate and I remember the last cross party debate that I attended whilst we were in opposition and I must say, that it’s always easier to criticise those in government, than it is being in government and defending difficult choices and decisions that government have to make. We all have to remember that as soon as the coalition government took to office, they had to pick up the pieces of Labour’s broken society and economy, and had to make some unpopular and tough decisions in the national interest.

Brooks stated very eloquently about how we must resolve the budget deficit, in order to help the next generation. We all must remember that we are in a dire financial crisis, and due to Labour’s irresponsible spending culture, we are now forking out £120million pounds a day- just to pay interest on the debt. That money should be spent on schools, hospitals and to help the most vulnerable people in our society. This cannot happen, until we get the debt down.

However, as Brooks mentioned last night- it’s not all doom and gloom. Last week in the budget, George Osborne announced an additional 50,000 apprenticeships- creating a total of 250,000 apprenticeships. This will be funded over the next four years to get young people trained with the skills that they need for the future. 100,000 work experience placements will be created for young people and a doubling of the University Technical Colleges programme will create at least 24 new colleges, and will ensure that Britain remains a leader in science and engineering.

The changes to tuition fees will widen as extra grants and loans will be brought in to help the poorest students. The threshold of repayment is being raised to £21,000 which is up from £15,000 as set by Labour. This is an issue not to play politics with, and these difficult decisions are being made in the national interest- we must remember, that under Labour for 13 years, we saw the largest neglect of higher education of any government in post-war Britain. Without these tough fee changes, it will be impossible to fund our world class Universities, and maintain our reputation on the global stage.

A member from the floor asking the panel a question

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Come to Croydon's NO to AV Debate Tonight

The cross party NO to AV campaign is hosting town hall style debates across the country to allow members of the public to learn more about the referendum and to hear both sides of the argument.

Even though Ruskin House is home to the Croydon Labour Party, tonight both sides are coming together to take the debate about AV to local people and make sure that they are briefed about what the changes to voting could mean for them.

President of the NO to AV campaign Margaret Beckett MP and Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell will both be speaking in a Q&A session.

Come tonight at 7pm on Tuesday 29 March at Ruskin House, 23 Coombe Road, Croydon, CR0 1BD to have your say before it’s too late. 

Supporters of the cross party campaign NO to AV

UN award-winning leadership development programme

Following on from our Careers Week last month ParliaMentors have contacted me and would like applications from Conservative Future members to join their parliamentary internship programme from September to June.

The UN Award-winning programme Undergraduate ParliaMentors offers upcoming leaders the chance to be mentored by MPs and Peers, giving them a unique insight into the work of a parliamentarian. Students on the programme also have the opportunity to bring about real social change through social action and political empowerment projects supported by NGOs, and to develop their skills and networks through expert-led workshops and events.

This is a year-long programme runs alongside participants’ degree studies and is open to undergraduates in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Nottingham who identify with a particular faith or belief and aspire to be political or community leaders.  150 people have graduated from the programme over the last 4 years, many of whom currently work in politically-related fields.

Conservative mentors have previously included Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP, Rt Hon Dominic Grieve MP, Margot James MP and Baroness Patricia Morris.  Opportunities for participants can include attending parliamentary committees and debates, political events and conferences and shadowing days in Westminster and mentors’ constituencies. 

Intern with Conservative mentor Iain Duncan Smith MP

Rt Hon Dominic Grieve MP has said:  “I have no doubt that this year’s class will go on to play important roles in the future – both in their local communities, and maybe even on the national or international stage”

Sayed Khan, UP Alumnus has said: 
“An excellent programme. Working on a project and being mentored by an MP gave me a real insight in to the world of politics. I now feel more confident and enthusiastic about engaging with politics and people of other faiths.”

The deadline for applications for Undergraduate ParliaMentors 2011-12 is 2nd May.  

Applications are welcomed from students of all faiths and beliefs.

If you would like to find out more about the programme please visit: or email  

Busy weekend...

I was invited to speak at the launch of London CF's South East wing on Friday, with Richard Ottaway MP and Conservative Christian Fellowship's Exec Director Colin Bloom. It was a Q&A session chaired by Area Chairman Tom Williams and wine & nibbles were provided. 

Richard, Tom, Collin & myself at London CF's Q&A panel discussion

We had a lively debate with various questions from the floor including; our strategy in Libya, whether we should have an EU referendum and the positives of nuclear energy.

A big congratulations to Area Chairman Tom Williams for launching this event and thank you for inviting me to join in your panel discussion. 

To read more about this event click here

Me, Yusef, Simon & Richard 

On Saturday I woke up early to campaign No to AV with my fellow ward colleagues. We handed out lots of flyers to local residents, made residents aware that there were proposals to our voting system and also that they could vote in the referendum on it. 

All of us campaigning at the No to AV stall outside the Swan & Sugar Loaf, Croydon

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The Budget

Today our Chancellor, George Osborne gave his second budget. Last year’s emergency budget was about rescuing the nation’s finances and paying for Labour’s mistakes. Today he stated that it was about two things; reforming the economy to ensure jobs and growth for the future and doing what we can to help families with the cost of living.

So what has been proposed in order to help people do this?

-   Cutting income tax by an average of £48 for millions, cutting fuel duty immediately, postponing Labour’s planned increase this April and taxing oil companies more to stop future inflation rises in duty

-    Boosting manufacturing, growth and jobs by cutting tax for businesses and entrepreneurs; scrapping burdensome regulations; radically reforming the planning system; investing in science and innovation; and providing more support for young people with an additional 50,000 apprenticeships and 100,000 work experience places. Britain will make things again.

Measures include:

1)   An extra 1% cut in corporation tax from April 2011, taking corporation tax from 28% to 26%

2)   Sweeping changes to the generosity, simplicity and reach of the Enterprise Investment Scheme, with an increase in the income tax relief available from 20% to 30%; plus a doubling the size of the Entrepreneurs Relief to £10 million.

3)   An extension of the small business rate relief holiday until October 2012 – over half a million eligible businesses will continue to benefit from reductions in their bills, with approximately 330,000 businesses paying no rates at all.

4)   Support for innovation and manufacturing with an additional £100 million this year for new science facilities, and an increase in the SME rate of Research and Development Tax Credit to 200% from April 2011, and 225% from April 2012.

5)   21 new Enterprise Zones with up to 100% business rate discount, new superfast broadband and the potential to use enhanced capital allowances for zones with a strong focus on manufacturing.

6)   £2 billion pounds extra for the Green Investment Bank

7)   Simplification of the tax system by consulting on options for integrating the operation of income tax and national insurance contributions and plans to scrap 43 tax reliefs.

8)   Radical reforms to planning and regulation to support economic development – including a presumption in favour of sustainable development, scrapping existing regulation that costs businesses £350 million a year and a moratorium on all new domestic regulation for firms with fewer than 10 employees.

9)   A new £250 million shared equity scheme, First Buy, that in England will help 10,000 first time buyers get on the housing ladder for the first time.

10)    50,000 additional apprenticeships, meaning that over the next four years at least 250,000 more apprenticeships will be funded; 100,000 work placements for young people; and a doubling of the University Technical Colleges programme to create at least 24 new colleges.

11)    1 penny per litre cut in fuel duty from 6pm tonight,

12)    A further increase in the personal allowance of £630 in April 2012, taking 260,000 more people out income tax and reducing the tax paid by 25m people by an average of £48, without creating any more higher rate taxpayers. Together with the £1,000 rise happening this April, that means a total of £326 extra each year. altogether.

13)    A switch to CPI indexation for direct taxes – bringing them in line with benefits. For the duration of this Parliament, there will be annual increases in the employer NICs threshold and the age related allowances will increase by the equivalent of RPI.

14)    A crackdown on tax avoidance to raise an extra £1 billion a year by closing down schemes which disguise remuneration, and avoid corporation tax, VAT and stamp duty

15)    A greater contribution from non-doms who have been in the country for 12 years by increasing their annual charge to £50,000.

16)    An HMRC led investigation into how much revenue is raised by the 50p rate of income tax – which the Chancellor regards as a temporary measure

17)    A commitment to publish a green paper on state pension reform, including an option for a simple, contributory single tier pension around £140 per week for future pensioners

18)    Confirmation that the Government will consult on reforms to public service pensions on the basis of Lord Hutton’s recommendations that over time public sector workers should be expected to work longer, receive a defined benefit pension based on career average earnings and that accrued rights should be protected

19)    A 10% cut in inheritance tax for estates leaving 10% or more to charity. No beneficiaries will be better off, but we expect charities to gain £300 million.

20)    Introduction of a new scheme where Gift Aid can be claimed on small donations, up to a total of £5,000 a year, without the need for donors to fill in any forms. 

Monday, 21 March 2011

Join us and become a BorisBacker..

...Backtavist, Borista or another name that shows that you're supporting Boris Johnson for Mayor in 2012!!

This Saturday the BackBoris team hosted the first BackBoris Bootcamp and it was absolutely brilliant. On the 28th floor of Millbank Tower on the first sunny day of the year, over 100 young activists gathered to hear from Boris, Lynton Crosby, Mark Fulbrook, Sam Lyons and other members of the BackBoris team.

All of us with Boris Johnson

After a sneak preview of the new BackBoris website that went live yesterday, activists were involved in workshops and listened to lectures from the BackBoris team about campaigning strategies, how to campaign on your campus effectively, how to write press releases, digital campaigning, dealing with the media and knowing your opposition. 

When the bootcamp ended we were all given a goody bag with Boris memorabilia in and the competitions have now begun!!

Whoever signs up the most activists via the new website will win lunch with Boris Johnson! 

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Want to write policy?

The Conservative Party has recently launched a Conservative Policy Forum and has asked if Conservative Future could feed ideas into the policy discussion.

Chaired by Oliver Letwin it aims to give Conservative Party members the opportunity to discuss the major policy challenges facing Britain; the aim is for it to be an independent, modern and effective discussion forum for policy ideas, encouraging a two-way flow of ideas helping to reach out and connect with people outside the Party.

Our Conservative Future Policy Forum will be run by Alexandra Swann and she needs four people to join her committee. Ideal applicants will have a strong interest in policy backed up by relevant experience such as previous work in Parliament, European Parliament and think tanks.

To apply please email your CV and a covering letter expressing your interest to: by 6pm on Thursday 24th March. 

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Well done London CF....

When we established London CF in January 2009 we did so with the intention that it would be able to provide campaign support for key marginal seats in London leading up to the May 2010 elections. 

As previous Chairman of London CF for 20 months (Jan 2009-Sep 2010) I am very proud that they won the party's National Excellence Award for Membership. The previous team and myself were not invited by the current Chairman Nic Clark and his team to receive the award from David Cameron but it is testament to us that London CF has won- after all the new team have only been in place for three months.

You can read more on the CF website here

Monday, 7 March 2011

CF at the heart of Spring Forum

Conservative Future was right at the heart of Spring Forum this weekend. Hosted by the Welsh Conservatives at the SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff, Conservative activists congregated at the stadium and listened to our Ministers make policy and openly discuss how the government is working together to build a better future.

For the first time ever the party really relied on us to deliver. We hosted two evening receptions that were open to all Forum delegates and also helped to co-ordinate the Forum’s Social Action Project.

The party are now starting to take us seriously which is proven when the Annual meeting of the National Convention took place. CF delegates turned up to vote for the members of the Party Board. Congratulations to all candidates who stood Paul Swaddle who has been working with us behind the scenes in order to get our membership data sorted, Fiona Hodgson as the CF liaison Board Member, Charles Heslop helping with campaigning and Rob Semple who has supported Yorkshire extensively. Last but not least the work of Jeremy Middleton who Chairs the Strategy and Board.

After National Convention a group of us jumped on the shuttle bus and went to St Peter’s Community Hall and Garden in Fairwater to do some digging, rake some soil and lay some turf for Project Green Fingers, which was this year’s social action project. This was a really worthwhile project and the local community were really grateful that we’d taken the time out of our schedules to come and plant some flowers, dig and lay some turf.
After several hours laying turf we found an old country pub and had some ‘Welsh Rarebit’ for lunch, got changed into our party clothes as we were hosting Spring Forum’s Saturday night entertainment at Terra Nova bar in Cardiff Bay. This event lasted until the early hours and was very well attended by various MPs, MEPs, current and future Welsh AMs.
On Sunday our Prime Minister David Cameron spoke at 2pm and gave an impressive speech about how we should encourage enterprise and do “everything possible to make it easier for people to start a business to grow a businesses.”

The quote of Spring Forum was when David Cameron said “For Conservatives, enterprise is about more than money, more than the economics of growth and GDP. We understand that enterprise is not just about markets it’s about morals too. We understand enterprise is not just an economic good, it’s a social good.”

If you were not able to attend then make sure that you come to Manchester (2nd – 5th October).

Lastly a big thank you to all of the National Executive, Nicolas Clark, Sadie Vidal, Patrick Sullivan, Lauren McEvatt, Grant Tucker and to all of the Welsh AMs, candidates and MPs who donated to our reception!

Project Green Fingers

On Friday a large group of London tories embarked the train from London Paddington to Cardiff for the annual Spring Forum....

Our first task was to check into our accommodation and then we were ready to head to our party at 33 Windsor Place. Over 60 people attended and it was great to see so many new faces from Wales, Exeter, Birmingham, Lancaster and even from Scotland. 

On Saturday after a National Convention meeting with co-party Chairman Andrew Feldman and Sayeeda Warsi we had our National Executive meeting that was very positive and are planning some excellent workshops, events and dinners over the next 6 months- which is very exciting!

We also jumped on a mini bus to St Peter's Community Hall and Garden in Fairwater to do some digging, rake some soil and lay some turf. This was a really worthwhile project and the local community were really grateful that we'd taken the time out of our schedules to come and plant some flowers, dig and lay some turf. 

After several hours laying turf we had some 'Welsh Faggots' for lunch and then went to a few receptions before our main reception on Saturday night in Cardiff Bay. This was very well attended and over 100 activists gathered to meet various MPs, MEPs and Welsh AM candidates. 

On Sunday our Prime Minister David Cameron spoke at 2pm and gave an impressive speech about how we should encourage enterprise and do "everything possible to make it easier for people to start a business to grow a businesses."

The best quote was "For Conservatives, enterprise is about more than money, more than the economics of growth and GDP. We understand that enterprise is not just about markets it's about morals too. We understand enterprise is not just an economic good, it's a social good."

At project Green Fingers!!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Good luck London CF & Richmond Park CF

Every year the Conservative Party recognises the excellent work that members and Associations across the country are doing and celebrates it.

This year we have two CF branches in the final shortlists for two categories.

- London CF for Membership

- Richmond Park CF for Social Action

I pledged to bring back the National CF Awards Ceremony and this is the first step in achieving this goal as we have integrated CF into the Conservative Party’s National Excellence Awards.

As the London CF Chairman from January 2009 till September 2010 being shortlisted is testament to the committee that served with me and I would like to thank them for their hard work during this period- especially the election!

Good luck to both branches and fingers crossed that they both win!

You can read more about it here 

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Our Cardiff Programme

In case you haven’t realised yet, this weekend we’re heading to the Welsh capital city of Cardiff for Spring Forum!
It’s going to be an exciting time as we have several projects going on that will prove to local residents how committed we are in helping to improve Wales. Our win of 8 seats in the May 2010 elections has gained us a lot of ground in the upcoming Welsh Assembly elections.
Conservative Future has organised several key events and the entire National Executive will be attending, so if you have any questions or queries then please do not hesitate to contact us.
The programme that relates to CF members is as follows:
Friday 4th March
12-6pm – Social Action
The chosen project this year is St Peter’s Community Hall and Garden in Fairwater.
RSVP – via facebook here  or email Social Action co-ordinator Serene John-Richards on:
7pm – Friday Drinks
For those not going to the Welsh Conservatives Dinner, and are arriving on Friday evening, come out with members of the Conservative Future National Executive and Cardiff Conservative Future for a entertaining night!
Location: 33 Windsor Place, Cardiff, CF10 3BZ
RSVP – email Clare Hilley on:

Saturday 5th March
12-6pm – Social Action
The same project at St Peter’s Community Hall and Garden in Fairwater.
RSVP via facebook here  or email Social Action co-ordinator Serene John-Richards on:
7pm – Conservative Future reception @ Spring Forum 2011
We are proud to be hosting the Spring Forum Party at Terra Nova bar, just across the square from the Welsh Assembly. Several Welsh Assembly members, candidates and MPs will be attending.
RSVP via facebook here 

Sunday 6th March
2pm – David Cameron’s speech
For further information on the conference visit