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Pitfield SpencerDr Spencer Pitfield is the National Voluntary Director of the Conservative Policy Forum (CPF). Follow Spencer on Twitter.

Another election and another bumper crop of CPF papers have
made this a busy month. The sad passing of Baroness Thatcher gave a particular
poignancy as we read through the record-breaking yield of submissions on
Europe.

The hard work of all my volunteer colleagues in the every
region was evident in the creation of 90 new CPF groups in past year. This was
bolstered in March by the support of many of our MEPs, who spoke at dozens of
events across the country and reported back on their work in Europe – sprinkled
liberally with tough home truths.

The summary of all Europe submissions – with over 1,800
taking part from in excess of 150 CPF groups nationwide – will be out on 14 May
but I can confidently predict a broad endorsement of the Prime Minister’s speech
and a fascinating chart showing the policy areas our Members approve of EU-wide
joint action – such as trade, climate change and air traffic control – and
policy areas like the proposed Financial Transaction Tax, employment regulation
and fishing, where they would rather powers flowed back to the UK.

Anger over the constant switching from Brussels to
Strasbourg flowed through almost every submission, while Members were more
split on the ability of the EU to effectively organise action between member
nations that were free to choose and change their level of integration much
more freely: the consensus settled around a pre-defined set of institutions or
tiers into which each Member could choose to enter. I hope you enjoy the full
submission when we send it to David Lidington MP in May.


We are now concentrating on the 40/40 seats and I am calling
each of the newly selected candidates in person to explain how useful a CPF
Group can be for recruiting and retaining Members, giving them a real voice in
the 2015 manifesto process. Recent papers on Europe, Immigration and Schools
have proved excellent recruitment tools and I hope that our next few,
challenging topics will continue that trend: watch this space for Local Health,
Bill of Rights, and a slightly experimental cross-topic paper, which will
capture a handful of extra questions that may not be appropriate for an entire
paper.

What question would you like to see on that
discussion brief? Email any suggestions to drspencerpitfield@gmail.com.

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