Tory Party conference is now for the corporations, not its constitutents
This week Brexit Advance, an alternative to Tory conference, is taking place against the back drop of increasing unrest amongst rank and file Conservatives with the unpopular Chequers deal being pushed by the Prime Minister. Conference organisers have said that the aim of the conference is to make the Case for Conservatism, which the current leadership of the Conservative Party is losing sight of, argues Patrick Sullivan, CEO of Parliament Street
Today a vast assortment of grassroots conservative organisations are hosting a counter conference to the official stage managed offering from the Conservative Party this week. This alternative conference, held under the umbrella of Brexit Advance, is taking place against the back drop of increasing unrest amongst rank and file Conservatives with the unpopular Chequers deal being pushed by the Prime Minister.
Conference organisers have said that the aim of the conference is to make the Case for Conservatism, which the current leadership of the Conservative Party is losing sight of.
The groups involved in Brexit Advance include renowned think tanks the Bow Group, Bruges Group and Parliament Street and membership heavy grassroots organisations including the Campaign for Conservative Democracy, Reignite and the new Aaron Banks affiliated movement: Blue Wave.
The main hall at the a Birmingham Midland Institute was packed to the rafters, for this morning’s kickoff. In addition to having a stellar line of speakers - those in attendance included many of the great and the good of the Brexit movement.
Numerous MPs, including much of the European Research Group sat prominently in the first few rows, to show they stood shoulder to shoulder with their constituency. When your humble correspondent, in his capacity as Chairman of Parliament Street, had the privilege of addressing the Conference, he was able to make the point that in order to deliver on Brexit, a change is not only required in leader, but also in leadership.
Quoting the musical Hamilton, I said that in politics you have to be “In the room where it happens”; and that means having a Brexit Cabinet. Currently, we have a Remain Prime Minister, with a Remain cabinet claiming that they are trying to deliver a Brexit that they never believed in. I concluded by emphasising that whoever becomes the leader, it would be essential to have many prominent leavers in the Cabinet room to hold their feet to the fire, and prevent them from going native.
This morning’s session expertly chaired by Bow Group Chairman, Ben Harris-Quinney highlighted the plethora of talent sitting on the Conservative back benches. Speakers including Daniel Kawczynki MP and Andrea Jenkyn MP gave stirring speeches setting out hopeful and optimistic visions for Britain after-Brexit, whilst Sir. Bill Cash MP held the crowd capitive with his retelling of the Brexit movement from its earliest origins to today’s conference.
They were joined this morning by Brexit champions from the European Parliament - David Campbell-Bannerman MEP and Steven Woolfe MEP, representing the Campaign for Conservative Democracy and Blue Wave respectively. Over the next couple of days, the conference is due to be addressed by Owen Paterson MP, John Redwood MP and Priti Patel, as well as additional surprise guests!
Partick Sullivan is CEO of Parliament Street @PatJSullivan
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