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A reinvigorated Conservative Policy Forum is set to give party members new opportunities to contribute to policy development

By Jonathan Isaby

Picture 1 One announcement made earlier in the week that I have not yet written about but which merits coverage here is that the Conservative Policy Forum is back up and running and under new leadership.

Ever since the formation of the Coalition I have thought that it is more important than ever for Conservative Party members to be able to play a role in policy formation and push Coalition policy in a Conservative direction, not least because the uber-democratic structures of the Liberal Democrats give their party members a big say in policy development.

So this week it has been announced that Natalie Elphicke (pictured above) has been appointed by the Party Board as the new National Director of the Conservative Policy Forum, which will still be chaired by Oliver Letwin MP.

Natalie, a lawyer in the City and Centre for Policy Studies and Policy Exchange author who is also Chairman of Cities of London and Westminster Conservatives, explains her mission thus:

Policy discussion is a key part of Jeremy Middleton’s exciting proposals for the voluntary party.  New Conservative Policy Forum (CPF) proposals have been approved by the Party Board. The CPF has three central themes:

A two way flow of ideas: The voluntary party has great ideas that could help keep our party in government so we can continue to sort out our country. The new CPF is about creating a two-way flow of ideas that will be listened to and influence policy formation in our party.   The Prime Minister wants to hear our great ideas, so we now have a green light to be heard through the CPF.  It will be up to us to make sure that we take up the challenge and put forward the brilliant, and considered, ideas that will keep our party in the winning lane for years to come.

There are some Conservative Associations with active and vibrant CPFs.  We want those groups to help guide other Associations. We want every member to have the opportunity to contribute to a local or regional CPF. We want the CPF to be a success and make a real difference.

Turning Policy into Social Action: We hope that the CPF can also take forward social action projects.  The national CPF will be working closely with the social action team to harness the skills of the thinkers in our party to write business plans, set up community trusts, act as trustees and do much much more to help make social action projects a success. 

A tool for campaigning and increasing membership: Well run CPFs increase activity and increase membership.   Discussion groups which reach into the community will improve community engagement, help councillors hold their seats next May and build incumbency for newly elected MPs.

This is all very encouraging and I wish her every success in the new role and look forward to being able to report in due course in particular on the policy contribution of the reinvigorated CPF.


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