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Thank you for this interesting article.

Don Porter is a shining example of someone who has dedicated his life to the Conservative Party and, rather than spend his time as an armchair general, criticising and sniping at the Leadership, he sees what needs to be done and gets on with doing it!

I certainly think it would be a good idea to publish what the Board is doing on a regular basis on Conservative Home. That way people might actually see that those they tend to think of as "big wigs" are actually flesh and blood people, like the rest of us, who worked their way up from Branch committees onwards.

Well done, Don for all you have done for us over the years and very best of luck in the future.

I have written to Don Porter on several occasions about various matters pertaining to the party and have always found him to be an extraordinarily courteous man and incredibly efficient with great charm. I am saddened that he is leaving but wish him well in the future. His successor has a great deal to live up to I think.

Well done for standing up against CCO's 'A List' phenomena Don. They seemed to be at the time obsessed with this 'elite' list of candidates, many of whom i have met and i can tell you are no way 'elite' rather at best'average'..

Unfortuantely i like many were not even allowed on to the general approved list and i dont want to sound negative or anti CCO but i have to say, it has become a kind of 'club' whereby so long that you know people in the centre or you fit the 'new bill' you get on.

Those of us who as a members of the voluntary party (note not leaches hanging around as researchers) for the past 8+ years, having been involved centrally, locally, etc i just found CCO's attitude to those people like myself who actually put in the work and actually have a 'good' reputation locally along with results to back that up were & are completely ignored.

I couldnt believe it, hence my frustration at the time with the bureaucratic process, it was annoying. I am very good at taking on Labour and the Lib Dems, and yet in the end neither of them beat me, it was my own party. I couldnt believe it.

After everything, and i wasn't asking to be given a seat, i was asking for the chance to be approved so i could put myself forward and allow the members of a respective seat(s) to decide. Had they said no i would have sat down quietly. But the fact remains i was not even allowed to put myself forward as CCO deemed that 'i wasnt good enough' yet, i know of many PPCs now who havent had half the experience, nor speaking ability, nor loyalty to the party, yet they are all through.,

I feel tremendously let down by the process. I thought we were supposed to be fighting Labour and the Lib Dems and when it came down to it, my own party was fighting against me. I still to this day cannot believe it. And i am still behind Cameron and think Michael Howard should take credit for helping him. But i just feel as a young man, trying to do his bit, the prospect of being told by CCO 'to wait another 4 years' to try again, is crazy. There is no reward for merit and that is a fact.

Porter seems to have made a fair bit of sense in his time, i think it is a shame he's off and i can only hope someone who takes a balanced view as he did replaces him.

To me, i'm no longer involved front line, it is a real shame and many people i meet from the past few years often ask how things are going, when i explain that i wasnt approved at the PAB, most find it unbelievable. I just think that the selection process needs to be overhauled because at the moment it seems to reward all the wrong people.

I have known Don Porter for my years and he has been the most fantastic person to fly the flag for the Volunteers and the Professionals. His enthusiasm, motivation and dedication is second to none. Don will be sorely missed from this and many other positions that he has held within the Party.

I would very much like to think that there will still be a position for Don and in my opinion his work could continue if he was in The House of Lords.
Thank you Don for all you have done for so many of us.

Posted by Margaret Chellingworth 30th March

I persuaded a classic A list candidate to shun the list (despite Central Office urging to the contrary) and try to make it from the General List. Now he is flying as PPC in a central London constituency and the voters absolutely love him, starting with a hotly contested open selection. And he will win back the seat. Don Porter rightly sensed the party mood and had what it took to make the point. We need to be sure that our next Chairman of the NCC also knows how to fight his corner.

Many thanks for your kind words, but the credit for altering the "A" list rules is all yours, for taking on board the dissension it was creating in the voluntary party.
If we ever have an elected Party Chairman you will make an excellent candidate.

Cllr. Derek Tipp and Mike Baker were co-authors of the Report I did for Don.

Politics is a bit like going on a tiger shoot or waiting in the trenches...and you can have no better person at your side than Don. I have known him for a couple of years and found him to be a genuine listener, his eyes don't glaze over as with so many Party people. He will give you a fair hearing and if your cause needs championing he will take it to the very top if needs be. All in all a top man and just because he is stepping down as Chairman of the NCC I hope it does not mean the last of his involvement in Party dealings.

In the three years that I was constituency chairman I fought an unavailing battle to overturn the concept of a minimum subscription (at that time £25). There were many older people who had been stalwart supporters and who could no longer afford to pay at that rate, even though they were willing to work for the Party. In my view, any amount was better than nothing and once one had their five bob, one had their vote. We ought in my view to have aimed to become a mass movement once again.
The second matter of policy pursued by the Centre at that time was of enforcing, to all intents and purposes, the amalgamation of adjacent constituency offices, with the stated aim of reducing overheads and freeing up money for campaigning. The net result was that my successor succumbed (rather too willingly, it has to be said) and a merger came about. This has left our geographically huge constituency without a political presence and focus, which the incumbent LibDem will exploit mercilessly at the next election (the Tories have given up and done a bunk, will be his line I believe). As to more money for campaigning, I note that the amount spent on this aspect in the 2008 accounts was shown as "0".
Both of these matters were put by me to Don Porter during his visits to the Area at that time and he was perfectly charming, nodded sagely and did precisely nothing.
For this reason I am no longer a subscribing member to the local Conservative Association (I believe there still is one, although much of the heart has been torn out of it)


"So my overriding message is to be obsessed with winning the elections this year and then the general election: nothing else matters."

I know that many constituencies do actively encourage political debate (Desmond Swayne in the New Forest was a great supporter of frequent lunches to which he brought people like Mark Hoban, Michael Gove etc) but others seem to offer purely social events and fundraising.

Could not ConHome be introduced to every constituency chairman in the land through the National Conservative Convention (of which I had never heard before this timely article), in the hope that those that are politics-lite like John Parkes' Association might at least have something interesting to read - and possibly argue about?


It's all very well overwriting my comments. I am happy to provide you with a copy of the Tribunal's verdict which runs to over 50 pages and confirms my points in detail.


I know who I would like to succeed him - a larger-than-life figure in more ways than one!

Excellent article, its not often the internal workings of the Party are opened up. And its nice to see the positive comments from about someone for who I have great admiration. I have enjoyed serving on his Strategy Team.

As with any top role there are difficult descions to be made, and this will always result in some feathers being ruffled, but that is part of the job.


Don is not just a gentleman, but has always conducted himself with great integrity with all his dealings within the Party.

He leaves a legacy which will be built on, as the foundations Don has laid are well founded and true in value. Don has dug deep for the One Party Concept but this is only one of his achievements.

Over the years of knowing and working with Don, the years he has dedicated to the grassroots and all the projects he started, he has completed them all with humility and is an example to us all.

Don is one of those rare people in politics - a gentleman of integrity, conviction and humility. He is impeccably trustworthy, consummately professional, utterly dedicated and deeply compassionate. John Strafford is right to point out that Don would win an election for Party Chairman hands down.

That he deserves a peerage is beyond question. Lord Porter would be a refreshingly meritocratic appointment, and I trust the Leader's Office is already considering this just (and unsought) reward.

Since Don has dedicated 40 hours a week to the party while he has been Chairman of the National Convention, I have no doubt that Brian has frequently been left taking care of nuts and bolts issues in their company (and not infrequently fielding the phone calls!).

I'd like to pay tribute to them both for their dedicated service to the Party. But I feel sure (and sincerely hope) we are talking about an elevation rather than a retirement.

I am deeply saddened that Don will no longer sit at the party's top table. He has been a tremendous friend to many of us candidates and has been a steadying influence on people at all levels. I sincerely hope he will be offered a suitable role in the future so that we do not lose this man's enormous experience and expertise.

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