The CPF is delighted to announce that we have a new Chairman to champion the views of members in Parliament. This follows the appointment a couple of months ago of George Freeman as Minister of State at the Department for Transport with a portfolio to drive UK Transport Tech and Innovation into the 21st Century.
Our new CPF Chairman is John Penrose, MP for Weston-super-Mare. A successful businessman before he entered politics, John has held a variety of posts in Parliament, including PPS to former CPF Chairman Oliver Letwin, Shadow Business Minister, Tourism & Heritage Minister, Government Whip (a move described by The Telegraph as a ‘deserved return’ for a ‘stand-out talent’), Constitution Minister and Theresa May’s Anti-Corruption Champion.
The formal handover of responsibility from George to John took place at the CPF Drinks Reception at the Party's annual conference, in Manchester.
This event culminated a successful conference for the CPF, at which we ran two members-led debates on the main stage, held a joint panel discussion with the Conservative Women's Organisation (CWO) and collected hundreds of members' policy ideas on the CPF members' ideas wall in the exhibition area—an initiative suggested by the CPF's new Communications Officer, Katrina Sale.
At our drinks reception, CPF Manager John Hayward explained how he had used CPF Groups' best suggestions since the 2015 general election to compile a CPF Members' Manifesto. This is a rolling document and, until such time as an election is launched, groups can continue to contribute to the manifesto by participating in the latest CPF policy discussion. Regular updates of the Members' Manifesto are being shared with both the Party Chairman James Cleverly and the Prime Minister's Policy Unit.*
CPF Voluntary Director Flick Drummond concluded the formal part of the reception by presenting Director's Awards to the following groups:
Most Original Submissions
18-4 Mid Dorset and North Poole 18-5 Chelmsford 19-1 USA; Edinburgh East; and Putney 19-2 Hong Kong; and Christchurch 19-3 Parley & Longham, Christchurch
Largest Most Regular Group: Rushmoor, Aldershot (average of 14.7 participants across all 10 discussions since the 2017 general election)
Honourable mentions also went to 19 other CPF Groups that also participated in every discussion since the 2017 election: Esher and Walton; East Devon; Bath and North East Somerset (BANES); Hereford and South Herefordshire; Tewkesbury; Parley & Longham, Christchurch; Berkhamsted, South West Hertfordshire; Sherborne, West Dorset; South West Devon; Skegness, Boston and Skegness; Saffron Walden; Bakewell, Derbyshire Dales; Stafford; Teesdale, Bishop Auckland; Taunton Deane; Swindon; Great Yarmouth; Morley and Outwood / Leeds Central & West; Bridlington & East Yorkshire.
* Please note that, contrary to previously announced plans, we do not anticipate publishing a new CPF discussion paper until after there is greater clarity over when a general election may be called. Our focus for the foreseeable future is to contribute to the manifesto-writing process and to help with campaigning.