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Westlake Legal Group > Canterbury

The four finalists for the Canterbury Conservative candidate selection

While the selection in Grantham and Stamford tonight is in a (technically) Tory-held seat, the evening’s other selection meeting takes place in a key marginal. Having voted Conservative for decades, Canterbury fell to Labour in 2017 by the extremely slim margin of 187 votes.

Angela Richardson: Originally from New Zealand, Richardson is the Deputy Chairman Political of Guildford Conservatives and the Vice Chairman of Cranleigh Parish Council. Her professional background is in investment banking operations, and she worked in the City of London at Schroders and Axa Investment Managers. In addition to Conservative activism and campaigning, she fundraises for local charities. Her past ConservativeHome articles can be read here.

Cllr Sally-Ann Hart. Brought up in the North East of England, Cllr Hart has lived for some years in East Sussex, after starting her career in London. She holds a seat on Rother District Council, where she was first elected in 2015, and for the last three years has served as a member of the council’s cabinet with responsibility for Culture and Tourism. In addition to her council work, she is also a magistrate. Cllr HArt contested North West Durham against Labour’s Laura Pidcock in the 2017 election. Her past ConservativeHome articles can be read here.

Cllr Anna Firth: Cllr Firth is Cabinet member for Legal and Democratic Services on Sevenoaks District Council, and a former barrister. She contested the Erith and Thamesmead constituency in the 2015 General Election, stood in the South East region in the 2019 European election, was Co-Chair of Vote Leave’s Women for Britain, and is currently Chairman of Sevenoaks Conservative Association. Her charitable work includes serving as a trustee of West Kent Mind, a mental health charity. She was a finalist in the South Cambridgeshire selection earlier this month. Her past ConservativeHome articles can be found here.

Kirsty Finlayson: A solicitor by profession, Finlayson contested East Ham for the Conservative Party at the 2017 General Election, stood in Tower Hamlets in the 2018 local elections, and was a candidate in London in the 2019 European election. She also previously worked in Parliament for Anne Milton, and is a former member of the European Youth Parliament. In her spare time, Finlayson is a Samaritans volunteer and is actively involved in the 50:50 Parliament campaign for gender equality at Westminster.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Dean Godson: There are plenty of ideas on the centre-right. Here’s how it can create a new, decent, patriotric consensus.

Dean Godson is Director of Policy Exchange.

Where next? For the last two years, British politics has been stuck in paralysis. There has been a lot of noise and clamour, but no side seems capable of creating consensus and winning broad support. That is not to say that this is a dull time in our national debate – a deep ideological contest is under way for the future of our country. It will reverberate long after Brexit, in whatever form, is complete.

It is often said today that all the intellectual energy is on the Left. But is this true? There are no leaders of the quality of Clement Attlee on the Labour benches. There are no economists or thinkers of the ilk of Anthony Crosland. Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we have people aspiring to power in this country who are proud to call themselves Marxists – including the Shadow Chancellor.

The problem is not that there is an absence of ideas on the centre-right. It is that they have yet to coalesce into a coherent vision of national renewal. Policy Exchange, for example, identified the plight of the “just about managing” classes in our country – the JAMs – in 2015. So many in the country would put themselves in this camp. But has enough really been done for them in the four years since? Do they think the state is on their side, or that the political class is fighting for them?

The election of a new Conservative Party leader is the moment – perhaps the last chance – to get this right. One of the greatest mistakes that the Tories could make is to play the only game that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is capable of – sectional, identity politics that sets different groups of voters against each other.

Last year, Policy Exchange organised a Conservative conference event with the title ‘Can the Conservatives win in Canterbury and in Middlesbrough at the same time?’ But you could ask the same question of Labour. As it stands, the UK risks being treated as if it exists in balkanised sub-electorates, each with niche interests and obsessions. The only way to electoral victory in this model is with temporarily cobbled together coalitions of rival groups.

Yet despite polarisation on Brexit and other issues, there is more agreement – and more consensus – among voters than often appears, and therefore more cause for optimism. This is not a jingoistic nation. Instead, there is a deep tissue of patriotism in the best sense of the word – a fidelity to constitution, citizenship and community – that has too often been dismissed out of hand. Policy Exchange’s polling on the Union revealed that a clear majority of people in the UK say their support for it has remained constant or has risen in recent years – 78 per cent in England, 60 per cent in Scotland, 69 per cent in Wales, 70 per cent in Northern Ireland.

There is also, among immigrant communities in the UK, a complete rejection of the gatekeeper politics that sees putatively “national” representative organisations claim to speak on behalf of millions without their consent, in the most damaging form of identity politics. Only 20 per cent of British Muslims, for example, saw themselves as represented by such organisations. Fifty-five per cent of British Muslims felt ‘very strongly’ that they belonged to Britain and 38 per cent ‘fairly strongly’ that they belonged to Britain; only seven per cent did not feel a strong sense of belonging to the UK.

Consensus can be found elsewhere. Our work on lawfare – the unfair hounding of British troops through the courts – has had huge cut-through with the British public, whose outcry on the issue has forced our political and legal establishment to wake up.

The same goes for housing, where our research was based on the simple proposition that the way to overcome opposition to building more homes – so-called Nimbyism – is to make sure they are designed in a way that fits the tastes of local communities and makes our country more beautiful. This is a vision with massive support.  Traditional terraces with tree-lined streets, for instance, are by far the most popular option for the design and style of new homes. They may be unfashionable among “starchitects” but they are supported by 48 per cent of the public, with some of the strongest support among working-class Ds and Es. And how many want housing developments or estates in a modern style? Just 28 per cent.  Our polling shows a clear majority favour traditional design over modern developments. In housing and more, the first job of the new Prime Minister is to come up with a coherent national narrative that restores our sense of direction as a country.

There is the chance for a new Unionism, not just making sure that the individual countries of Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland breathe comfortably within the shared home of the United Kingdom, but also that the Union itself is to an extent reconceptualised – so that we build a union between young and old and address the challenge of generational justice. A union between newer arrivals in Britain and long-established communities, so that suspicions and enmities can be overcome. A union between those whose faith means so much for them, and others for whom faith is vestigial and whose values increasingly shape the public space.  In short, we need a new social contract for post-Brexit Britain.

Social care is one concrete policy example. It is increasingly plain to those involved in the care sector that the state should cover almost all of the costs of long-term complex social care, which can involve ruinous costs for individuals and families, particularly for those suffering from dementia in old age. It can lead to the forced sales of family homes and wipe out a lifetime of saving and hard work. This idea – effectively the completion of the Welfare State – was proposed in a recent Policy Exchange research paper and embraced, perhaps surprisingly for someone on the right of the Conservative Party, by Jacob Rees-Mogg, who argued in the foreword that “It is far better to pool risk and for the taxpayer, where appropriate, to step in and help those who would face ruinous costs on their own, making social care largely free at the point of use.” He is surely right.

Where else could the next Prime Minister discover a quiet majority? On the environment, perhaps, where there are strong arguments to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 – with support especially high among the young. On investment in R & D and industry, especially in the North East, which could become a leader in the high-value, green economy. Certainly, on protecting British troops from pernicious forms of lawfare, which has high levels of support because of the obvious injustices involved. On education, too, where our polling revealed that poor pupil behaviour is driving teachers from the profession and undermining children’s education – 72 per cent of teachers know a colleague who has “left the teaching profession because of bad behaviour”. On countering extremism online, 74 per cent think that the big internet companies should be more proactive in locating and deleting extremist content, with 66 per cent of people believing that the internet should be a regulated space.

There is more thinking to be done across all policy areas – People, Prosperity, Place and Patriotism, as Policy Exchange’s work is organised – as a new Prime Minister is chosen. With that in mind, we will be publishing a series of proposals under these themes in the forthcoming weeks, which will seek to answer the question: what do we want from the next Prime Minister? We will also be hosting a series of events, including one in partnership with ConservativeHome, on electoral politics, housing, the economy, education, energy and the environment, lawfare and the rise of China. Only by hunting out areas of existing consensus will the next Prime Minister be able to start bringing the country together and healing the divides of last few years.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Citizens of nowhere? Or citizens of somewhere? Who should the Conservatives be targetting? Our joint event with Policy Exchange.

“It is increasingly clear that the most significant social divisions in most Western societies today run along identity faultlines.” – Trevor Phillips, ConservativeHome, June 6 2019.

– – –

Perhaps the Conservatives are sometimes polling at under 20 per cent is because they didn’t know who their voters were in the first place.

Who can and should the next Tory leader appeal to? “Citizens of somewhere?”  “Citizens of nowhere?” Both?  Or doesn’t that work?  Or are these categories wrong in the first place?

Or to ask the question another way: where should the Conservatives campaign?

Are they best off pitching to voters in southern seats that they traditionally hold – like Canterbury, which was lost at the last election?

Or should they now push their case in other parts of the country, where they have usually been much weaker – in constituencies like North East Deryshire, gained by the Party against the electoral tide in 2017?

ConservativeHome and Policy Exchange will be exploring these questions at a joint event on Tuesday June 18.

Our panel of four will address the question: can the Conservatives win in Canterbury and Middlesbrough at the same time?

They will be: Lynton Crosby, formerly the Conservative Party’s campaign director. Andrew Feldman, the former Conservative Party Chairman.  Ben Houchen, Mayor of Teesside.  And Amber Rudd, Work and Pensions Secretary.

The event will be livestreamed via the Policy Exchange website and this one on Tuesday June 18 from 13.00 to 14.00.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Greig Baker: Why Conservatives in Canterbury have lost faith in May

Greig Baker is the Chairman of the Canterbury Conservatives Association.

At a Special General Meeting on Wednesday night, the Canterbury Conservatives passed a series of important motions regarding our aspirations for our party.

We have decided to act now for three reasons.

First, we have brilliant candidates standing in our local elections next week who offer experience from charities, local businesses, the public sector, special forces, the local student body, and more besides. They do not deserve to suffer because of public anger with national politics. While Westminster chases its own tail, our local candidates are working to balance the Council’s books, clean our beaches, and build a new hospital in Canterbury.

Second, we believe that true Conservative values are more important – and more popular – than ever before. People just want to hear about them. We are determined to keep setting out our stall and find the Conservative supporters in every part of our community (knocking one myth on the head, we have four Canterbury undergraduate students standing for us next week). We don’t just want to be members of the Conservative Party – we want to be proud of it.

And third, we want to help restore trust in politics. It is taking a right bashing at the moment so we will make a stand. If people are to keep faith in our political system, politicians need to honour democratic decisions and the promises they make.

So, three reasons to act and three goals: support great Conservative candidates; promote Conservative values; and restore trust. At our Special General Meeting we agreed a motion to help achieve each of these.

The first motion states:

“The Association will publish our statement of principles. The Canterbury Conservative Party declares that:

    • We will help those who need help most, first;
    • We will promote opportunity;
    • We will encourage responsibility;
    • We will protect freedom;
    • We will defend democracy.”

What do these principles mean in practise? We know that true Conservative values are the best way to help the people who need help most. The rich and the powerful can look after themselves, so we want to focus on everyone else.

We will always try to reduce the burden of the state so people can spend their time and effort on helping their families, communities, and country. We support laws that hold people responsible for anti-social behaviour and crimes that damage community life. As long as no-one is being hurt, we will also challenge the state’s right to tell people what to do, what to say, and what to think. And we will demand that politicians always honour democratic decisions – and that includes delivering Brexit.

The second motion states:

“The Association will open our parliamentary candidate selection immediately to choose a candidate who is, or will be, on the Conservatives’ Approved Candidates List.”

We need a parliamentary candidate. If we are going to work our socks off to get them elected – and we will – local members must have a say over who it is.

We appreciate that, in recent years, this process has been announced by CCHQ. We also understand that, in the unlikely event that proposed boundary reforms go through, the constituency would be affected. We want to work with the national party to get the best person for the job and we want to start the process now.

The third motion states:

“The Association endorses the Chair’s position regarding a no-confidence motion in Theresa May at a meeting of the National Convention.”

This position is taken somberly and as a necessary measure to restore trust in our national politics.

All three of these motions were carried by an overwhelming majority. Being a member of the party is about more than delivering leaflets – our local Conservative party is taking the initiative, standing up for true Conservative values and looking to the future.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The list of Conservative Associations which passed the pro-Brexit AGM motion

Here is a list of the Conservative Associations which have passed the National Convention’s pro-Brexit motion at their Annual General Meetings:

Barking

Birmingham Hall Green

Canterbury

Chingford and Woodford Green

Clwyd South

Corby and East Northamptonshire

East Ham

Esher and Walton

Fylde

Guildford

Hertford and Stortford

Mid Bedfordshire

North East Somerset

North Tyneside

Nuneaton

Oxford

Peterborough

Rayleigh and Wickford

Rochester and Strood

South East Cornwall

Stratford-on-Avon

Torridge and West Devon

Wealden

In addition, tweaked versions of the motion have been passed in:

Gedling

Midlothian

Tunbridge Wells

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com