CPON members once again enjoyed the company of Boris Johnson and Ed Vaizey at this year’s AGM in Oxford.



CPON’s Conservative Party Conference fringe event was targetted by a Lib Dem ‘spy’, it can be revealed.


The event – entitled “Winning Elections – The Conservative Way!” – featured newly-elected MPs Ed Vaizey, Justine Greening and Peter Bone; as well as Gloucestershire County Council Leader, Barry Dare, and Trafford MBC councillor, Alex Williams. The event was hosted by Kensington & Chelsea Leader, Merrick Cockell. 


At the event the panellists were asked what they thought were the main reasons behind their electoral success.  At the beginning of the meeting, a unidentified man asked permission to record the meeting, but controversy raged after the event when he revealed himself to be the official Liberal Democrat observer. 


Afterwards, Mr Vaizey, MP for Wantage said, “I was unaware of the controversy at first until the gentleman was questioned about a recording he had made of the meeting.  This type of underhand tactic is of course nothing more than we have come to expect from the Liberal Democrat Party. They only have to examine our election campaign and our results in local government elections to know that the Conservative agenda is the one that the people want.”


Kate Stinton, CPON Deputy Chairman, said, “The whole point of CPON’s event was to pass along ideas, policies and strategies on how to win elections. It is more than flattering that not only was this received well by MPs, Councillors, and party members, but that our political opponents felt it worthy enough to record for posterity.”


As a goodwill gesture, the Lib Dem observer has since passed his MP3 recording onto CPON. Our thanks have been passed onto him.


CPON are celebrating another conference success, with this year’s fringe event drawing in a huge audience. Conference delegates came in their droves to hear key Conservatives explain how they’ve successfully fought elections.

Three newly-elected MPs passed on their knowledge of electioneering:

  • Ed Vaizey, who increased the Conservative majority in Wantage;
  • Justine Greening, who regained Putney for the Conservatives with a 6.5 per cent swing; and,
  • Peter Bone, who won Wellingborough by just 687 votes. Peter’s election win was all the sweeter, as his campaign manager was CPON’s Vice President, Leigh Hooker. 

From a local government perspective Cllr. Barry Dare, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council, explained how his Conservative Group were able to increase their numbers from just ten in 1993 to take control in May 2005. The final hurdle had been cleared with the help of his Political Assistant, and CPON’s Legal Lead, Richard Coates, whom Cllr. Dare described as a ‘star’.


Cllr. Alex Williams of Trafford MBC made up the panel of speakers, and was able to relay how the Conservatives were able to storm to control in 2004, regaining the Conservatives’ first Greater Manchester local authority in a decade.


Chairman of the debate was Cllr. Merrick Cockell, Conservative Leader of Kensington & Chelsea. Cllr. Cockell added his own opinions throughout the debate, and chaired the event with great aplomb.


CPON Chairman, Richard Ashton, said, “With it being General Election year it seemed a appropriate theme for our fringe event. The Conservatives may have lost the big one, but across the country they have continued to win elections by using pro-active methods to get their message across to the electorate.


The Conservative Political Officers’ Network has declared its Conference fringe meeting an “absolute success”, following a huge turnout earlier this week (6th). 

Conference goers turned out in droves to hear the views of Ed Vaizey (PPC for Wantage), Cllrs. Simon Milton (Leader of Westminster City Council), and Michael Whitby (Leader of Birmingham City Council) on the future of local government.

They were joined by Christine Melson of the IsItFair Council Tax pressure group, and Bob Blackman, the Group Whip of the London Assembly Conservative Group.

Before the main debate began, an introductory speech was made on the work of Political Assistants and CPON.

Afterwards, CPON’s Deputy Chairman, Richard Ashton, said, “Our fringe meeting was an absolute success in terms of the attendance and the quality of the debate. The theme of our event obviously struck a chord with those that attended. In many respects, grassroot members have more acquaintance with local government than national politics, so the chance to hear the views of those with expert knowledge of local issues was too good an opportunity to miss.

“The response was amazing, we were unable to fit everybody into the conference room! Therefore, I would like to thank Ed Vaizey, Christine Melson, Cllrs. Simon Milton, Michael Whitby and Bob Blackman for giving up their time and attracting such a large audience.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the sponsors of the event; the Association of London Government, TB Marketing, and Mr. Peter Clarke of Fujitsu.”

CPON is now working on plans for next year’s event.


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