The regional structures of the Conservative Party are an untapped resource, and in the South West, we are working hard to transform our regional Party into a flourishing and sustainable force in support of the Parliamentary and voluntary Party.
I was fortunate enough to have been elected Regional Deputy Chairman (Political) of the Party for the South West this week, working with our Regional Chairman Peter Booth, and Deputy Membership Janet Parrott, and our regional officer Julian Ellacott.
I will be working to help build on the great work Peter has done over the past year, to develop a solid campaigning force for the Party locally, and provide a real voice for the voluntary Party in the region.
My focus for the year is threefold:
· Campaigning: The South West has some of the safest Conservative Constituencies in the country, but also some of the most marginal. For us to deliver a majority at the next election, we need to make the key holds and gains in this region. We need to keep our fantastic MPs like Johnny Mercer, George Eustice and Robert Buckland in place, and work hard to win seats like Stroud, Plymouth Sutton and Devonport and Bristol North West.
Central to this is mutual aid, and part of my job over the coming months will be to put together a mutual aid network across the region, working to encourage local associations to support one another, and helping ensure that the resources are in place to make this happen.
· Collaborating: We can put the great sense of ‘team spirit’ which we have built across the region to great use by encouraging even more collaboration across our region, working with Area Management Executives to support County-wide campaigning and events, cross-advertising of events across and between counties, and building a real mutual aid effort, which will be the key to making sure our activists are focused on the places where we need them most, which will ultimately be the difference between victory and defeat in some of our most marginal seats.
We are also working hard to put on another top-tier regional conference next February, bringing together members, councillors, association officers and MPs from across the region, for another two-day event, attended by some of the biggest names in our Party.
· Communicating: We’ve done some things differently in the South West recently, working to build a real sense of community amongst our activists, centred around our ‘Team South West’ WhatsApp group, which lets us share news and updates, build momentum and raise awareness around campaign days and events across the region.
I want to do more of this, in the form of a monthly newsletter to members outlining upcoming activity across the region, sharing good news from our fantastic Associations and building support for our candidates for Parliament, Police and Crime Commissioners, and local government, and potentially a quarterly conference call with Association Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen which will allow us to hear first-hand what our voluntary Party needs to thrive on the ground, and then react to it.
There is a lot of work to do in the South West over the next year, but we are going from strength to strength as a region, and I have every confidence that this trend will continue over the coming twelve months.
But this can’t happen without the support of our Associations and members, and we want to hear from you! The team is committed to being as open and accessible as possible, and if anyone wants to get involved in what we’re building here in the South West, please do get in touch.
Nabil Najjar, Director of Conservative Progress