5/10 Rebooting Project Cameronism: A new Tory Chairman who can fight for the PM in the media and coordinate election campaigning
By Tim Montgomerie
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Traditionally the Chairman has been one of the most important jobs in the Conservative Party. The Chairman connects the party in the country to the parliamentary party and leadership. The Chairman informs the leader of the party's mood. The Chairman appears on the likes of the Today programme and Newsnight to defend the Prime Minister and government policy. The greatest Chairmen in recent times have been Cecil Parkinson, Norman Tebbit and Chris Patten.
The current Tory Chairmen are Lord (Andrew) Feldman and Baroness (Sayeeda) Warsi. Lord Feldman is a long-term friend of the Prime Minister and is the party's effective CEO. Warsi has scored notable achievements since being enobled - especially when she confronted the BNP's Nick Griffin on BBC1's Question Time. Overall, however, she doesn't do what a Party Chairman should be doing. She has little connection with the parliamentary party and enjoys little support from the Tory grassroots. 36% of all Tory members are satisfied with her performance but 52% are not. That makes her the second most under-performing Tory member of the current Cabinet.
Cameron needs a big hitter as Party Chairman. That person should have the confidence of the grassroots and parliamentary party and can be the voice of the Conservative Party (ie not necessarily the Coalition) in the media. They probably shouldn’t even be in Cabinet so they can carve out a position separate from the alliance with the Liberal Democrats. The Chairman's focus should be Conservative morale, campaigning and preparations for a Tory majority at the next election. Any ideas who that person should be?
> In the sixth part of this series at 2.30pm: A new political committee that assembles the party's big beasts