I am running for re-election as Vice President of the National Convention, an annual election under the constitution of the Conservative Party, but one this year being held against the difficult backdrop of Covid 19.
As Charles Dickens wrote “...it was the best of times, it was the worst of times...” and that could be said of the past year.
Our party came together to deliver a great election victory in December 19, but this year has been the most difficult in our lifetime. Whilst many of our activists individually undertook magnificent work in their communities, it is still difficult and under restraint that we are returning to political campaigning.
So what have your Officers achieved this year?
The long overdue and promised constitutional reforms have now been passed by the Party Board, and votes in the electoral colleges will take place this autumn with the intention of being in place for 2021 AGM’s.
Acting as a bridge between the volunteers, CCHQ and the party leadership we have always stood up for our voluntary party.
When the different elements of our party work together, we can and do deliver. Under the leadership of Andrew Sharpe, your Officers have been vociferous in advocating and defending our volunteers.
I have seen this year that we achieve the best results for our volunteers by cooperation between all the elements of our party, we are not in competition - we all seek the same result.
The challenge for next year is the massive set of elections coming up in May. We need to re-kindle the spirit of our recent election victory and make sure we maintain a momentum that will be a hard ask in these difficult times.
As the only Vice President running again, I offer my experience in the role together with a continued enthusiasm for our voluntary party.
As a business owner, I was lucky enough to be able to retire very early and offer an ability to continue to undertake the job in a full time capacity. I hold no other public office and do not seek any.
As travel restrictions hopefully ease then I hope to get back to campaigning with our volunteers across the country, doing what I enjoy most - being on the campaign trail.
Because of Covid there will undoubtedly be changes in the way we campaign. Our voter engagement will be more digital, and I am determined that we train our activists to use these new methods of engagement.
Our Association Incentive Scheme is getting better year on year, and my colleague Pamela Hall has done much to improve the offering this year. We must continue to improve to make it attractive for Associations to participate. Our Associations are the life blood of our party, and having served 7 years as a chairman in two different parts of the country, I recognise that the work done at local level is the most important in our voluntary party. Our local activists who trod the streets in darkest December and achieved great results demonstrate just that!
Over the past 2 years we have greatly expanded our membership and we must seek to increase our base even more, and particularly using our support groups CWO, CPF & YC’s to reach out to new members.
We live in turbulent times and I hope with your support, and if you will lend me your vote, to continue in the Vice President role.
Our election commences on the 17th August and all electors will receive their ballot online, with the opportunity to vote until the 7th September.
Peter Booth, Candidate for Vice-President of the National Convention