By Tim Montgomerie
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A central belief of ConservativeHome's Majority project is that to win the next election we don't just need a refreshed party message and manifesto, we also need a new Tory machine. We need to rethink our approach to party activism, use of the internet, relations with third party groups, candidate selection and so many other aspects of our party's voter identification and mobilisation strategies. London and the centre right have plenty of policy-orientated groups but not many groups that are dedicated to these questions of party organisation, membership and getting out the vote. This gap has now been filled.
Don Porter CBE, a former Chairman of the National Convention, is the brains behind the initiative and I'm delighted to report that he and the dynamic Conservative Voice team will be working closely with ConservativeHome and our own Majority project*.
Conservative Voice won't just be focused on organisational issues, however, and almost inevitably its political objectives have been the focus of press coverage. Its strong political identity involves emphasising "individual aspiration, small government, low taxes,
a broad rather than deep relationship with Europe, more direct accountability
to voters and radical thinking on delivering public services and tackling the
country’s social and economic challenges." Initial parliamentary supporters include Steve Barclay, Conor Burns, David Davis, Liam Fox, Robert Halfon, Priti Patel and Dominic Raab.
Its full aims are:
- "Promote election-winning campaign practice from across the Party and overseas
- Support aspiring MPs and councillors and encourage local activists with a wider range of experience from outside of politics to lend their time for campaigning
- Assist aspiring MPs and councillors with their online and social media presence
- Create a forum for ideas and debates, featuring key figures within the Conservative Party
- Work with Peers, MPs, MEPs, councillors and Conservative Party activists to promote the best of new Conservative ideas from a wider range of experience than the Westminster village, to help shape Conservative Party manifesto policies
- Fundraise to support and promote a Conservative vision."
* The ConservativeHome Majority Project formally launches at lunchtime on Sunday 7th October at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham.