Cllr Matthew Palmer represents Queen’s Gate Ward in Kensington and Chelsea
The CCA Election Campaign is over and for me it was a good positive campaign. I sent out emails to the 610 Conservative Councillors in London. I wrote individual letters to Leaders of Conservative Groups and I had an article in Conservative Home. However, I am sorry to say I was not elected.
I congratulate Cllr David Simmons who was re-elected as the London representative. Bold it may have been for me to stand against the incumbent, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Now that I have seen how the internal election process works, it raises serious questions about the future.
According to the organisers of this election, there was a national turnout of 12% – (884 votes)! If that turnout was repeated in London for the position I was contesting, then a total of 77 votes would have been cast between the two candidates. However that is not what happened; Instead 593 votes were cast. Most of those votes were not from London councillors, they were from members representing areas outside London. This is not a good situation for the CCA.
Put it another way, when you are standing in a ward election, you knock on every door, you leaflet every home and hopefully your voters like what you are saying. How will it look if you lose because people from the neighbouring wards pile in and vote for your competitor?
So what is the solution?
Well, during the campaign a number of people said “What is the CCA?” and this response was shown up in the low turnout. So clearly the CCA is remote from its members. Looking at the constitution, its board is made up of an elected Chairman, Deputies, and Treasurer. In addition, there are elected representative positions for London, the Counties, and the Districts. However, the constitution does not restrict the voting; any member of the CCA can vote for any position on the CCA. In my case this allowed for people outside London to pile in.
I can see that voting for Chairman, Deputies and Treasurer should be “across the board” but surely it is right that only London Councillors should vote for the post of London representative? If you agree to that, then the same rule should apply for the Districts and the Counties. It would then encourage those elected to represent London, the Districts and the Counties to be more proactive in working for their members – and make the CCA less remote.