End-of-year letter from our Chairman

Putting Conservative Values and Policy Ideas at the Heart of Government

I wanted to write as CPF Chairman to thank you and all your local CPF Members on the hugely helpful work you’ve been doing over the last year, and to update you on several important developments within the CPF since the Election.

Since taking over as Chairman 18 months ago, I have been struck by the breadth, depth and level of CPF commitment to fresh thinking about the big policy challenges we face as a society and economy. As we enter a new “Battle of Ideas” between Conservatism and the reheated Marxism of Corbyn and McDonnell and Momentum, and work to negotiate a Brexit deal to be a catalyst for national renewal, we will need it.

I passionately believe that in a time of deep weariness and disillusionment with traditional bureaucratic Government, this is a moment for us to show that the Conservative Party has the values, energy, talent and determination to embrace the new thinking we need to make Brexit an inspiring moment for people across the country, whether they voted for Brexit or not. That means the Conservative Party needs to set out an inspiring vision of Britain ‘Beyond Brexit’. The CPF should play a big role in that.

That’s why I am very proud that over the last 18 months we have:

  • CPF membership is up 30% with over 3,600 registered members and contact with CPF coordinators representing up to 459 constituencies.

  • Over 2,100 members in 185 groups and 209 constituencies have participated in national CPF discussions.

  • We mobilised 600 man hours of additional volunteer help in the general election across over 221 seats.

  • We have engaged Ministers with contributions from members on a range of important topics, including housing, the cost of living and Conservative values.

I’m sure like me you were frustrated by the Election Campaign and Manifesto process earlier this year, but encouraged by the progress we have made since:

  • The launch of the new CPF Shaping ‘Tomorrow’s Champions’, our new panel of activists with national profile in some key voter groups and communities in areas not as well represented by the Party that we need to connect with better. (Click here to see the film and announcement). We are thrilled to announce our first five, who we intend to be the first of several new appointments:

    • Gareth Davies, CPF Champion for Social Enterprises

    • Mark Davies, CPF Champion for Entrepreneurs

    • Resham Kotecha, CPF Champion for BME women

    • Myles Stacey, CPF Champion for BME men

    • Dolly Theis, CPF Champion for LGBT Community

    (If there is particular community that you feel we could be doing more to reach out to, please let us know!)

  • The success of the inaugural Ideas Festival the CPF Champions and I organised in September.

  • Recognition of our role and work in Sir Eric Pickles’ post-Election Review, which makes the development of the CPF a major priority in the Party Renewal process.

  • Leading the Party in a national discussion of what values define us as Conservatives.

  • The publication of the first in a series of discussion papers on policy issues of particular concern to young people.

As part of the urgent overhaul of the No.10 Policy Machine, led by Gavin Barwell, the PM's new Chief of Staff, No.10 is convening a new set of Policy Task Forces in key areas like Housing, Education, Environment and Social Justice, which will replace the Prime Minister’s Policy Board.

As Chair of the CPF and our new “CPF Tomorrow’s Champions”, I am working with the newly elected Conservative Parliamentary Backbench Policy Chairs to ensure the CPF provides a strong voice to the Conservative grassroots at the heart of the Party in Government.

I look forward to continuing as your champion amongst MPs and Ministers, and my new focus will give me more freedom to fight for the renewal of the Party and to visit CPF groups across the country. I have already attended events in the North West, South West and at Conference, with several more in the diary, but would like to visit every region this coming year, so please let me know if you are hosting a CPF event/conference.

Thank you again for all your hard work. I look forward to meeting more of you in the months ahead.

The renewal of the CPF is the culmination of a lot of hard work by us all. Thank you for all you do and to my CPF team who have been working flat out with me to get this all in place: my Vice-Chairman Andrew Sharpe, Voluntary Director Hannah David and Policy Director John Hayward.

With very best wishes for a Happy Christmas and New Year break.


George Freeman

George Freeman MP

Chairman, the Conservative Policy Forum