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Why Matthew Lewis is standing

Matthewlewis NME candidate Matthew Lewis explains his motivations as part of this year's Why am I standing series.

I did not grow up as a Tory, I wasn’t led into it – I chose to join the Party after a lot of thought, and even after voting for another party (no, it wasn’t the Lib Dems!). For me, being a Conservative is not a social affectation, it is a commitment. I am tired of the state of our nation, and of the apathetic attitude of its people. What motivates me is the hope of a change of government, and whilst it is probably too much to promise to say I will deliver that should you elect me to the NME, well, every little helps!

I have been a Party member for just over three years, and they have been busy. I do not join something to become a bystander; I join to give my full commitment to improving the organisation for all its members. That is why I will make an able member of the NME; I may not be the most experienced of the eleven candidates, or have been a Party member for as long as some of my colleagues, but my time in CF has been marked by passion, commitment and sheer hard work. At this stage I think character over a packed political CV is the most important attribute for selecting an NME member. I will not spend my twelve months in office feathering my own nest or proclaiming past accomplishments – I will work hard to help my Chairman make this the finest year for CF in memory. Those who put great store in experience however, are more than welcome to head to my website and peruse the ‘about’ page, where my achievements are clearly laid out.

I have heard CF referred to as a campaign group several times during this election. It would be fantastic if every one of our members lived their lives for the thrill of pushing leaflets through doors, but it’s important that we recognise this is far from the case. Some of our members join CF to hob-nob with MPs and other political figures at smart Westminster luncheons and black tie balls. Some join for the weekly social meetings; to have a drink and a natter with like-minded individuals. We shouldn’t criticise this, but welcome the diversity it brings: CF is different things to different people.

Instead, what we should be aiming to develop is a CF where everyone feels connected to the national structure, through the creation and strengthening of a national identity. How many of us feel our involvement with CF begins and ends with our local branch? My biggest change to CF would be to utilise what we already have – a fantastic social network on the likes of Facebook, and ensure that any CF member moving to a new area knows exactly who to contact to get involved, and doesn’t feel like an outsider having to start from scratch and break into a local clique all over again. Pushing Area Chairmen to organise more county-wide events would help foster a sense of belonging to CF that extends beyond weekly meetings at local level. Increased communication and cohesion between the different levels of CF is a must.

This I believe will restore faith in Conservative Future amongst its members. Only then, can this great organisation truly fulfil its promise.


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