Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Conservative Future: Students get their money's worth

Yesterday’s reforms proposed in the Higher Education White Paper ensure that students get their money’s worth.

Chairman of Conservative Future Ben Howlett made these comments yesterday:

“With progressive reforms to the higher education system proposed earlier this year, it is only fair that if students are asked to pay more once they graduate, Universities have an obligation to deliver more for students.

Under the white paper plans set out today, Universities will become more accountable and more transparent about what they are offering for students. The Government has been listening to students about how Universities should improve and the results in the White Paper set out today will benefit all students. There will be greater choice, better information before students apply, better teaching at university, more feedback on their work and better support for getting a job at the end of their courses.

As Conservative Future Chairman I have met with students across the UK and listened to their concerns about higher education. Their concerns were that under 13 years of Labour students were not trusted with their own choices. The White Paper proposes reforms that put power in the hands of students to make higher education institutions more responsive to their demands and choices.

Today's proposals look at fairer student funding for the first time. There will be absolutely no upfront fees for students and graduate contributions will be more affordable with the poorest better off than before. Over the past decade money was spent without teaching in mind, in response the teaching grant will now be targeted for courses where it is needed. There will be more help with living costs for all poorer students and a new £150 million National Scholarship Programme. As a result the Institute for Fiscal Studies has given its thumbs up, 'the Government's proposals are more progressive than the current system'.

For the first time the White Paper offers a system that produces better courses and better qualified graduates. The quality of teaching will improve through greater competition, resulting in greater participation in higher education. There will be more opportunities for other education providers and charities to sponsor courses as a result. In March, the OECD said 'The increase in the tuition fee ceiling is reasonable and should pave the way for higher participation in tertiary education'. Access and
quality will increase by removing the target on student numbers to make Universities responsive to student demand.

By far one of the biggest complaints about higher education by students came from the lack of support from the Labour Government on the Careers Service. The Government is proposing a new, all-age Careers Service. They want to improve the quality of careers advice supporting schools to provide a good careers advice.

Conservative Future believes these proposals are a progressive and fair alternative for higher education. For the first time in decades today's proposals give real support to students and ensure that they get their
money's worth.”

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

New Branch in South Tees

I’m really proud to announce that a group of young Conservatives have set up a branch as part of South Tees Conservative Association. 

Joint Chairman Scott Holmes and Cameron Brown are behind its creation in a move to revitalize and bring a new young perspective into the local Party.

They’ve already set out their ambitions for the organisation, and the area including, increasing members, branching out into colleges and universities, fundraising and campaigning for greater youth involvement in the decision-making process.

The branch has already received support by all 11 Conservative Councillors in Teesside.
Cllr Chris Hobson, Leader of the Middleborough Conservative Group said: “We need to encourage the young to get involved in politics and what better way is there than through a group like this.”

Good luck to all and let me know if you need any help with anything!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

An Evening with Chris Grayling MP: Getting Young People into Employment

Over the last 13 years under Labour young people and graduates have been finding it harder to find work. The government is working to get more young people into work and Conservative Future support the plans fully.

A few days ago the government announced that unemployment figures had dramatically fallen by 88,000. The drop mainly occurred in those aged between 16-24 with youth unemployment falling by 79,000.

Last month Employment Minister Chris Grayling MP launched the revolutionary Work Programme with the aim to support around 2.5million people to get back to work over the next 5 years.

We are hosting a reception with Chris Graying MP so that he can talk to us in more detail about these plans.

If you would like to attend then please contact me at: to register your attendance.

Date and time: Tuesday 12th July. 7pm-9:30pm

Location: CCHQ, 30 Millbank

Tickets: £5 including wine

As tickets will sell fast you can pay online to reserve your ticket by going to and transferring or ‘send money’ of £5 to

To RSVP via facebook- click here 

Friday, 17 June 2011

Happy Birthday Boris

Boris turns 47 on Sunday and we’re celebrating by going out across London spreading the message on Boris’s great record as Mayor.

Since being elected, Boris has frozen his share of our council tax, cut crime in London by nearly 9% and started a massive upgrade to the capital's transport network. And by May 2012 there will be over 1,000 more police officers on the streets than when he came to office in May 2008.

If you would like to attend one of these events in Richmond, Trafalgar Square, Spitalfields Market, Croydon or Enfield then please contact me at:

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Cameron: "Thank you Conservative Future"

Last night we hosted a reception at the Westminster Park Plaza Hotel for Conservative Future Branch Chairman from across the UK. This was to thank them for their efforts and help with our new centralised membership database. 

We were honoured to have both the Prime Minister, David Cameron and Party Chairman, Lord Feldman address us. They are fully behind a modern, dynamic and forward-looking Conservative Future and praised the work that Ben, myself and the rest of the executive have done, describing us as "a vital component in the Conservative Party".

Over the last few months we have been collating activists membership data in a bid to create Conservative Future's first ever centralised membership database which will allow us to communicate with our members nationally. I'm pleased to announce that we have gathered over 5,000 new activists contact details which puts us in a position to push for more members than ever before. 

We've got the largest youth membership of any political youth organisation in the UK- surpassing both Liberal Youth and Young Labour. 

Long may this continue and another big thank you to Conservative Future members who campaign in the wind, rain or snow! Thank you for all of your hard work, enthusiasm and support in helping Conservative Future go from strength to strength. 

Boris set to win in 2012

On Monday I attended London Conservative Future's summer party with Boris Johnson. It was a brilliant night at St Stephen's Club with a guest list of over 250 CF activists, London MEPs, London MPs, GLAM and GLA candidates.

Boris gave a rousing speech and commented at how proud he was at delivering his five key 2008 election pledges to Londoners. I am proud to be part of the BackBoris team and even though it will be a tough fight next May I firmly believe that we will keep London blue. 

A big congratulations to Nic Clark and his team for organising this event and for raising over £10,000 for the BackBoris campaign fund. 

For LondonSpin's write up of the night click here

Images from the Boris summer drinks party

Monday, 6 June 2011

Come & Meet Boris Johnson

London Conservative Future are hosting a Summer Drinks Party with the Mayor of London; Boris Johnson (or BoJo as we call him!)

This is an event not to be missed and hundreds of activists have signed up to go already!

To read more click here

Buy your ticket here

About 100 of us at the launch of BackBoris- see if you can spot me! (remember 'Where's Wally?!)

Membership Collection

Over the last month we have been working hard to contact all Branch Chairman across the UK to ask for their membership data.

Backed by Lord Feldman we are grateful for the membership data that we have collected so far.

To thank all of our Branch Chairman for their efforts in this important task we have invited them to an event on June 14th with a very senior member of the Conservative Party. Please contact Ben Howlett at: if you have not yet received this invitation but have sent in your membership data.

I look forward to seeing you all next Tuesday!

Friday, 3 June 2011

China-UK Young Leaders Roundtable

Last week I visited Beijing and Inner Mongolia as part of a 10 strong delegation team from the UK for the second China-UK Young Leaders Roundtable. Facilitated by the Great Britain-China Centre on the UK side and the All-China Youth Federation on the Chinese side, 24 delegates from both China and the UK participated.

The team in Hohhot
After being invited to this year’s Roundtable a few months ago I was quite apprehensive as to whether I should attend or not. China has a damning human rights record internationally and its rapid emergence as a global player on the world stage seems to provoke a range of mixed emotions from around the world - from excitement to anxiety. China ’s reputation as a growing economic power has resulted in it having a greater influence in world affairs. Its membership and increasing power in the IMF, World Bank and the G20 has given China a seat at the table alongside other major world economies, yet China still emphasises that it is a developing country and still considers itself a leading member of the G77 group of developing countries. It seemed to me to be a mixture of contradictions and I decided to attend to gain a greater understanding of the workings of the Chinese state and to also build relationships with future leaders.

After David Cameron’s successful visit to China last November where he led the largest trade delegation to China in over 200 years, Chinese leaders have publicly endorsed his concept of ‘Partners for Growth’ as increased bilateral trade and investment will undoubtedly benefit the economies of both countries. I wanted to understand how China has managed to lift 500million people out of poverty over the last 30 years and how it emerged strongly from the global economic crisis by becoming the second largest economy in the world in 2010.

Our first meeting after a long flight from London Heathrow to Beijing was with the Ambassador and his Embassy officials where we received an introductory briefing from them. We spoke at length about a variety of issues from human rights, trade& investment to science & innovation. It was also interesting to meet the rest of the UK delegation - a mixture of politicians, advisors and politicos from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Labour, Downing Street and the business world.

Uk delegates at a community centre

The Roundtable discussion was fascinating and every delegate participated fully in the various topics that were covered. It provided a very useful insight into understanding China’s mentality, how its people view themselves on the world stage and what the pact is between the government and its people that still allows them to govern in a one party system. I felt that the Roundtable was an extremely useful learning and influencing opportunity as we had the chance to engage with Chinese delegates at length about the various ways where we felt progression was needed in China.

Over the next few days whilst in Beijing we had meetings with various government departments and companies and then departed for Inner Mongolia - which is China’s third largest autonomous region.

UK delegation with Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying at the Department of Foreign Affairs

It was fascinating to see the amount of construction going on in Hohhot and when we visited Tianjiao to speak to local residents about social insurance, medical insurance and community youth work it was great to see the progress that the Chinese have made in these areas.

Whether we like it or not China’s economic success is crucial to our own economic prospects. The franker the dialogue that we can have with them now privately will help both countries build a strong relationship for the future. I still have a lot of concerns about China’s progression in applying human rights and creating an independent civil society under the rule of law as they are universal rights and essential for China’s long-term economic and political stability. However with the recent social provision reforms around pensions and healthcare, China are moving in the right direction but we must always remember that it is only a direction of travel with no clear final destination in sight. 

I would like to thank the Great Britain-China Centre for inviting me and to Diageo and  Standard Chartered for sponsoring the trip. 

The delegation at a Mongolian banquet

To read more click here

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Ronald Reagan Statue Unveiling

On Monday 4th July Conservative Future members have been invited to the Ronald Reagan Statue unveiling outside the American Embassy in London.

It is an event not to be missed that will honour Reagan’s legacy and commemorate his achievements.

To join us at this event please email: