By Tim Montgomerie
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Conservative Way Forward was launched after Margaret Thatcher was ousted as Tory leader. Its aim was to promote her beliefs and values throughout the Conservative Party. In much of the last decade it has struggled to win profile or supporters but has enjoyed something of a revival in the last two-and-a-half years under the Chairman of Don Porter CBE. I can confirm this morning that Don has resigned. He announced his decision in this press release:
"After two and a half years as Chairman of Conservative Way Forward, Don Porter resigned this evening as Chairman of CWF. His focus over the last two and a half years was to rebuild CWF. A number of initiatives have been launched. The organisation now has regional co-ordinators across most of the country who are holding events at a local level. The Forward magazine was relaunched with a new contemporary look. The Nicholas Ridley Memorial Lecture was reinstated again two years ago and once again became a popular feature of the organisation. Events have been held throughout the year, in addition to the usually popular programme at Party Conference. These events included a spectacular summer reception with the President Lady Thatcher, which was massively over sold.
In his parting words, Don said that it has been an enormous privilege to be Chairman of an organisation which has the greatest post war Prime Minister as its President and such a distinguished list of Vice Presidents.
It is Don’s hope that CWF now moves into a democratic age and ensures that the next Chairman is elected by the membership and that the organisation has a greater degree of transparency.
Looking to the future, it is Don’s intention now to create a new Conservative political organisation."
ConHome will keep you up-to-date with Don's plans to create a new force in Tory politics. As this piece from Conor Burns MP reminds us, Don has displayed a long-standing and deep commitment to the voluntary Conservative Party, including a distinguished Chairmanship of the National Convention. In a recent article for The Daily Telegraph he appeared to set out his mission. He accused the current Tory leadership of losing loyal voters without winning enough new ones and he catalogued the unhappiness of many grassroots members. It is also notable that Don does not think he can build this new organisation within CWF.
The Conservative Way Forward Executive has this morning issued the following statement following the resignation of Don Porter:
“Don has had a terrifically successful Chairmanship of CWF. The CWF Executive very much regrets his premature departure just one month before his three year term of office expires. We are heartened that he wishes to continue in a leading role among the Party’s activists and we wish him well personally and in all he does for our great cause.”