The Conservative Party is changing the way it is organised so that the Northern regions have more autonomy to set budgets and organise campaigns – albeit "within the Party’s overall national strategy". The regions (North West, the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber) will have volunteer Project Directors working alongside each Regional Chairman and Director.
Encouragingly, Northerners will also have more of a voice in the Party with the creation of a Northern Board, similar to the Party Board, and a Deputy Chairman position with responsibility for the North. This is important as there is a common, and somewhat justified, perception of the Party being led by "metropolitan elites". The appointed positions announced tomorrow will be:
Chairman of the Northern Board: William Hague
Vice-Chairman of the Board: Sir David Trippier (former MP for Rossendale & Darwen)
Deputy Chairman of the Party (North), and North East Project Director: Michael Bates (former MP for Langbaurgh)
North West Project Director: Richard Topham (Chairman of a luxury house-building company)
Yorkshire and the Humber Project Director: Graham Stuart MP (who is also on the Party Board)
These developments have been some time in the making, but come just after the Party’s "Northern problem" was highlighted by a poll in Yorkshire.
Chairman of the Party Francis Maude will write about the initiative for ConservativeHome later today.