RICHARD COATES IS NEW CPON CHAIRMAN

 

Richard Coates has been elected the new Chairman of CPON.

He takes over from Richard Ashton, who stepped down from the role last week after five years.

Richard said, “It’s a great honour to follow on from Richard Ashton as chairman of CPON.  These are difficult times for everyone in local government, and Conservative political assistants, like other council officers, are having to work extra-hard to show to their councillors and the taxpayers that they deliver value for money.  My job is to do my best, through sharing ideas and best-practice, to help them show just what an important job we do.”

Richard is currently employed as the Political Assistant to the Gloucestershire County Council Conservative Group. He has been an integral member of CPON for over eight years, having acted as the network’s legal lead. In 2006, alongside representatives from the Labour and Liberal Democrat political officer networks, Richard successfully lobbied to have the 11-year-old political assistants’ pay cap lifted.

And in 2005, he was described as a ‘star’ by his then leader, Barry Dare, following his ‘massive influence’ on the Conservatives’ recapture of Gloucestershire County Council. 

RICHARD ASHTON STEPS DOWN AS CPON CHAIRMAN

RICHARD ASHTON: A PLEASURE AND PRIVILEGE TO LEAD CPON

CPON has announced that it’s Chairman, Richard Ashton, is stepping down after five successful years in the role.

Richard, who became Chairman in August 2005, is leaving his political assistant’s role at Tameside at the end of June, and believes the time is now right to hand over the reins at CPON.

Richard said, “It has been an absolute pleasure and privilege to have led CPON for the last five years, but I do not feel it would be right to continue as Chairman once I have left my role at Tameside Council.

“The last five years has been a remarkable period for the network, during which time our membership doubled and we received recognition for our work from a wide spectrum of individuals and organisations, from the Prime Minister, David Cameron, to our partners in local government such as the Conservative Councillors’ Association, the LGiU and the IDeA.

“None of this would have been possible without the hard work of our network members in local government, who day after day are making a real difference to the local democratic process. I would like to thank them for the support they have given me during my time as Chairman, and I wish my successor and the network all the very best for the future.”

Elections will now be held to find Richard’s successor.

YORK MEETING SETS OUT FUTURE DIRECTION FOR CPON

CPON today held a meeting in York to set out its future direction.

The network has enjoyed a rapid rise in local government over the last decade, and is now looking to consolidate its position whilst building on the success it has enjoyed in recent years.

Issues discussed included redrafting the network’s constitution, and its relationship with both local government and central government following the formation of David Cameron’s coalition government.

Richard Ashton, CPON’s Chairman, said, “Over the last decade CPON has come from nowhere to play an increasingly influential part in local government. We have continuosly adapted to changing circumstances, and we now must do so once again, against the backdrop of a new Government and any potential changes to the public sector. This meeting was therefore an important way for members to discuss our future direction so that we continue to support them in their work, and the role we can play in local government.”

CPON AT THE 2010 CCA CONFERENCE

CPON were once again present at the CCA Conference, which was this year held at the Hotel Russell, London, and closed yesterday.

Delegates were made welcome at the CPON stand by CPON members, including Richard Ashton (Tameside), William Hooper (Suffolk) and Laura Norman (Brent).

Richard said, “Once again I would like to thank the CCA for allowing  us to promote the network at its conference. We had many interested delegates question us about the work of the network and political assistants and we have built up many important raltionships thanks to the CCA’s generosity.”

CPON ENDORSES THE 2010 CCA LOCAL GOVERNMENT CONFERENCE

CPON is endorsing next year’s CCA Local Government Conference.

The event will be held on Friday 5th – Saturday 6th March 2010 at Hotel Russell, London, and as in previous years will feature CPON’s presence.

Speakers include:

  • David Cameron, Leader of the Opposition;
  • Boris Johnson, Mayor of London;
  • Eric Pickles, Chairman of the Conservative Party;
  • Caroline Spelman, Shadow Minister for Local Government; and,
  • Grant Shapps, Shadow Minister for Housing.

There are:

  • Special rates for CCA members.
  • Early booking discounts available until the end of January.
  • Separate day passes and dinner tickets available.

The Conference will be attended by several members of the Shadow Cabinet, including Caroline Spelman MP, Shadow Minister for Local Government, and other key players in local government.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, will also be addressing delegates, along with Party Chairman, Eric Pickles MP.

The conference will consist of several plenary and workshop sessions running from midday on the Friday until lunchtime on the Saturday.

The Guest Dinner Speaker for the Friday evening will be Grant Shapps MP, Shadow Housing Minister.

For further information and booking form please click on the following link for the Conference Brochure.

ADAM AFRIYIE SPEAKS AT CPON’S 2009 AGM

ADAM AFRIYIE ADDRESSES CPON MEMBERS, WITH CPON CHAIRMAN RICHARD ASHTON LOOKING ON

Adam Afriyie, the Shadow Minister for Science & Innovation, was CPON’s main guest speaker at this year’s AGM.

A rising star in the Conservative Party, Mr. Afriyie urged local Conservative Groups to ‘be bold’ and to learn from the success of flagship local authorities.

Joining him at the event in the Guild Hall, Windsor last Friday was an impressive line-up of fine political minds:

  • Cllr. Stephen Greenhalgh, Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham;
  • Cllr. David Burbage, Leader of Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead;
  • Cllr. Gregg Smith, Cabinet Member for Crime & Street Scene, H&F;
  • Cllr. Philip Bicknell, Cabinet Member for Public Protection, RBWM;
  • Cllr. Colin Rayner, Cabinet Member for Highways & Street Care, RBWM;
  • Cllr. Barry Macleod-Cullinane, Cabinet Member for Adults & Housing, Harrow;
  • Alison Knight, Recyclebank; and,
  • Alex Deane, Director of Big Brother Watch and former Chief of Staff to David Cameron.

Afterwards, CPON members enjoyed a curry and drinks with Britain’s youngest mayor, 29-year-old Mayor of Windsor & Maidenhead, Cllr. Catherine Bursnall.

ABOVE: BIG BROTHER WATCH’S ALEX DEANE (right) AND CLLR. GREG SMITH PROVIDED LIVELY DEBATE

Richard Ashton, CPON’s Chairman, said, “Each year, CPON organises such meetings and events from its own funds, in order to both support its members in their day-today duties and raise CPON’s profile in local government.”

CPON EVENT MAKES TOTAL POLITICS’ TOP 50 GREATEST EVER CONFERENCE MOMENTS

CPON’S ‘BORIS’ EVENT MADE #31 IN TOTAL POLITICS’ TOP 50 CONFERENCE GREATEST MOMENTS 

CPON’s 2006 Conservative Party Conference fringe event has made Total Politics’ Top 50 Conference Moments.

The event was the talking point of the 2006 Conference, when Boris Johnson’s criticism of Jamie Oliver’s school dinners campaign sparked a media frenzy.

The revelation comes in the October 2009  edition of the popular political magazine, which writes:

“Boris Johnson’s comments against Jamie Oliver and his school dinners campaign courted controversy as he slammed the “nanny state” and declared “I say let people eat what they like. Why shouldn’t they push pies through the railings?”  The media’s interest in these remarks was shown by the scrum after the fringe event, and Boris was forced to anoint Jamie Oliver a ‘national saint’ to placate his incensed critics.”

The incident has seen the event placed at #31 in the list – ahead of Tony Blair’s sweaty shirt (#48), Kenny Everett’s ‘Let’s bomb Russia’ moment (#46), Ruth Kelly’s 3.15am resignation (#43), David Cameron’s ‘We will fight, Britain will win’ speech (#34), and a speech by 16-year-old William Hague in 1977 (#32).

Topping the list were: Walter Wolfgang’s ejection from the 2005 Labour Party Conference (#3), Margaret Thatcher’s speech the day after the Brighton bomb of 1984 (#2), and Neil Kinnock attack on Militant (#1).

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