James Cleverly is Chairman of the Conservative Party, and is MP for Braintree.
The Conservative Party, like all organisations, is most effective when united by a clear and unambiguous mission. The general election result was a potent example of what we can achieve when all parts of the party work together.
I’ve worked for Boris Johnson on and off for over a decade, and seen how effective he is at harnessing the power of a team focussed on clear objectives. He set them out during his leadership campaign: deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn.
We did one of those in the small hours of Friday. And because each of our 365 MPs has already pledged to back the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal, another will be done on the 31st of January.
With the Brexit vote honoured, we will get on with uniting the country by delivering our ambitious, One Nation agenda. Supporting public services, energising our economy and levelling up opportunity right across the UK.
The task given to me by the Prime Minister was to deliver a sustainable working majority. Not an easy task for a party which has been in government for almost a decade. But the talent and dedication of professional staff at CCHQ is second to none and Isaac Levido, our campaign director, led a disciplined campaign that clearly communicated our key messages.
Key to this was our digital operation. When I first came to CCHQ as Deputy Chairman I encouraged the digital team to be more proactive and less risk averse. This campaign saw the digital team empowered, creating punchy and engaging content that turned views into votes.
But elections aren’t cyber battles alone. The traditional functions of data gathering, number crunching, literature production, message drafting, media management and visit coordination all chugged away in our campaign headquarters at 4 Matthew Parker Street as part of a well oiled machine.
However, you don’t win election campaigns in the offices of CCHQ, you win them on the doorsteps of voters up and down the country. I was fortunate that my role in the campaign was to work alongside you, our members and supporters, and it’s to you that we owe the greatest thanks.
We gave you quite the challenge, asking you to fight and win an election in the middle of December. Yet when I joined teams on the ground I was struck by how much energy and optimism our candidates and campaigners had.
People fighting in seats we’d never won before or not held for decades. People like Nick Fletcher in Don Valley, Paul Howell in Sedgefield, Ric Holden in North West Durham, and Nicola Richards in West Bromwich East.
The odds they faced seemed insurmountable, but they and their teams worked hard, and won. This dedication and commitment is what delivered Thursday’s result. We must and will repay the trust that voters have put in us over the next Parliament – so this People’s Government will deliver the 20,000 police officers, the 50,000 nurses and the extra education funding promised during the election.
Constituencies newly represented by Conservative MPs will quickly see the benefits of hardworking, local champions speaking up for their areas and working with Government in Westminster. To the traditional Labour voters who chose to back us for the first time, I say this: we will not let you down. Our party is richer for your support and we do not take it for granted.
Finally I want to pay tribute to my co-Chairman, Ben Elliot. He doesn’t seek the limelight, but works diligently behind the scenes to ensure that our party machine is fighting fit. Since being appointed he’s overseen a fundraising revolution, with record donations both large and small providing the resources we need to deliver campaigns across all four nations of the UK. We could not have won without him.
In the New Year, we all have to get back to it. We have local elections, PCC elections and mayoral elections to win. And in Westminster we will prove that voters were right to trust us. But for now, enjoy your Christmas break. You have earned it and should be proud of what we have achieved.