Amanda Milling is Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party and MP for Cannock Chase.
Last week, the Prime Minister rightly took the decision to postpone this year’s local, mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner elections until 2021.
The country is facing the worst public health crisis for a generation, and postponing this year’s elections was the right step to take to help prevent the Coronavirus spreading further. This action was essential because in the weeks ahead, it’s right that our local authorities can focus on their vital role in delivering public services.
I know many of you will be disappointed as you have worked incredibly hard over the past year to prepare for these elections. For those of us involved in the Conservative Party, elections are what we do. It’s what we plan our diaries around. And rarely do we see a May Bank holiday when we’re not resting up or in the final days of the campaign trail.
In my short time as the Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party, I have already seen the hard work you had been doing for these elections – knocking on doors, stuffing envelopes and hitting the phones to make our case to communities up and down the country.
From day one in the role, my plan was to be out there with you – in the five weeks that I’ve been in the job I’ve travelled nearly 1,000 miles and visited 21 constituencies. As an avid campaigner, I was looking forward to joining you on the doorstep.
But this year will be different. And rightly so. Yours and the public’s safety is the government’s and this Party’s top priority. That is why the Conservative Party has formally suspended all face to face campaigning for the foreseeable future. Instead we encourage you to direct your volunteers and activists towards digital communication methods that will keep people safe.
This is a time for looking out for each other, for our neighbours, friends and family. We must continue to work with our councils across the country at the same time as working with our public services to ensure that they have the support they need as they go above and beyond the call of duty.
And this is where the Conservative family can step in and provide support. Normally we come together on the campaign trail or at social gatherings but now is the time to come together for everyone in the community.
So, during this break from elections, I urge you to give up your time to look out for those within our Conservative family and the wider community. Let’s all use this time to check in with our friends and family, ring around the vulnerable or elderly, work with local charities and community groups so we can build the strongest, widest safety net possible.
Over the past few years we have asked you to give up a lot of time to fight elections and you’ve stuck with us. Now is our chance to give back to the communities that have lent us their votes and help everyone through this time. I know that the Conservative Party family is up to the task. Thank you in advance for all that I know you will do.