With the Government’s immediate position apparently stabilised, the Conservative Party appears to be getting down to the business of learning how the general election went so horribly wrong.
Sir Eric Pickles, who served as Party Chairman in the run-up to the 2010 election, has been appointed to lead a ‘Review Board’. This will take evidence from sitting and defeated MPs as well as candidates, volunteers, Party staff, and others.
Joining Sir Eric will be Graham Brady, the Chairman of the 1922 Committee who will represent the parliamentary party, and Rob Semple, the Chairman of the National Convention, who will represent the grassroots.
Party members will also be invited to complete an online survey, and both Patrick McLoughlin, the Party Chairman, and Amanda Sater, his deputy, will apparently spend the summer touring the country, to take first-hand contributions from local members and associations.
The review will be put together by Sir Mick Davis, the new Chief Executive, and presented to members at the meeting of the National Convention at this year’s Conference.
June marked the moment when a lot of complacent assumptions about the Conservative Party’s election machine, not to mention much of the external support it had come to rely on, came crashing to earth. With no guarantee that this Parliament will last the distance – Theresa May’s deal with the Democratic Unionists effectively expires in 2019 – the Party has no time to waste in rebuilding its campaigning wing.
It’s therefore welcome that senior figures from outside CCHQ have been given such senior roles in the inquiry: with the campaign hierarchy under the microscope it’s important that the inquisitors are independent, and able to inspect the machine without fear or favour.
We suspect that they will find no shortage of expert testimony from the ranks of MPs and grassroots members alike – submissions can be sent to review[at]conservatives.com. We look forward with great interest to their findings.