Friday, 5 January 2007

Chairman of the Conservative Party Francis Maude to Visit Malvern Age Concern

Francis Maude, Chairman of the Conservative Party will visit Malvern Age Concern on Tuesday 9th January with Harriett Baldwin, Conservative Party Parliamentary Candidate for West Worcestershire. Director George Waugh will host the visit at 12:15pm.

Age Concern Malvern provides vital services for all older people in the Malvern and District area. It is a registered charity employing 8 paid staff and has 180 volunteers. In addition to its familiar charity shops, Age Concern runs coffee mornings, tea dances, a handyperson scheme and other valuable services. The “On the Move” project takes hand, foot and hair care out to seven rural locations in the district – Longdon, Alfrick, Strensham, Holt Heath, Astley, Kyre and Stanford Bridge.

Francis Maude MP said, “David Cameron has been emphasising the importance of social responsibility in so many of his speeches. We all have a particular social responsibility to our older people and we need to harness their potential. A fixed end to a working life no longer makes sense. Retirement should be a process. I’m delighted to highlight the very valuable work that Age Concern does here in Malvern and district.”

Harriett Baldwin said, “I know from talking to residents how valued the Age Concern services are by older residents in Malvern and in the villages where the mobile service is available. West Worcestershire has an older population than the average and the concerns of older people are of particular interest to me.”

Robin Walker's New Year Message to Worcester Standard Readers

Final Three in Rugby

Rugby Conservatives have today announced the final three candidates in the open primary will be:

Mark Pawsey
Maggie Punyer
Samantha George

Thursday, 4 January 2007

Key By Election in Bedworth

Thursday 8th February will see electors in Bedworth's Bede ward go to the polls.

Labour is one seat away from losing overall control of the council.

If you can help the Conservative team, please contact Clare Sawdon at:

Rugby Launch Primary Website

Rugby Conservative Association launch website to encourage local people to take part in the Open Primary to be held on 20th January 2007.

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

Tory Hopeful's New Year Resolution: A Carbon Diet to Lose a Tonne of Weight

Harriett Baldwin, Conservative Party Parliamentary Candidate for West Worcestershire is going on a carbon diet in 2007 to “Lose a Tonne” of weight. “I always go on a diet in January to lose weight, and this year is no exception, although in 2007 I’m also putting myself on a carbon diet to Lose a Tonne of Carbon.”

The Conservatives Quality of Life Policy Group have issued a carbon challenge to MPs, PPCs and councillors to see what challenges they face as they make changes in their lives to improve their personal “carbon footprint”.

Harriett Baldwin said, “In the past, I’ve used offsetting by planting trees to combat my impact on the planet. In 2007, my resolution is to try to reduce my carbon emissions as much as I can before offsetting the last few kilos.

The biggest impact I make is from all the travelling I do, so this is the first area I’m going to tackle and I’ll be telecommuting quite a bit from the comfort of my home in Worcestershire using broadband.”

Jesse Norman Selected in South Herefordshire

Jesse Norman is 44 years old, and a local family man. He has lived with his wife Kate and their three children near Hay-on-Wye for fifteen years, and Kate’s family has lived there for over forty.

They are active members of the Golden Valley Hunt and the GV Pony Club, and hugely enjoy canoeing and camping on the Wye and walking in the Black Mountains. He has a private pilot’s licence, and is a keen sailor and apprentice paraglider.

Jesse was educated at Oxford University and at University College London. He has had a serious and successful career, first as a Director of Barclays and later as a businessman, before turning to politics. He was able to draw on this experience in becoming an adviser to George Osborne MP, the Shadow Chancellor, in 2005.

Jesse has a twenty year track record as a political and voluntary campaigner. He has been a school governor of an inner city comprehensive and has worked for nearly a decade with the Roundhouse, an arts centre and urban regeneration project which has so far helped over 12,000 disadvantaged young people.

He has a reputation for getting things done, and has personally raised over £500,000 for charitable projects over the past three years.

Jesse has been a Conservative since university. He played a key role in helping Oliver Letwin to defeat a huge Lib Dem onslaught in West Dorset during the 2005 General Election, and stood as a Conservative candidate in Camden Town in the 2006 Council elections, when Labour lost control of the borough for the first time in 35 years.

He regularly writes for the national newspapers, and has appeared on Start the Week and Any Questions?. His recent book Compassionate Conservatism has been called the “handbook to Cameronism” by the Sunday Times.

Lansley to Visit Ludlow

Andrew Lansley MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health, is to visit Ludlow this Friday 5th January, at the invitation of local MP Philip Dunne.

He will formally open the Four Rivers Nursing Home for Shropshire County Council at 12 noon. The Nursing Home is part of the County Council's PFI scheme which has already upgraded the new Helena Lane day centre in Ludlow.

Mr. Lansley will also visit Ludlow Community Hospital with Mr Dunne. He will meet hospital staff and patients and be shown around by Peter Corfield, Chairman of the League of Friends, and General Manager Colin McLauchlan.

Philip Dunne said: "I shall be looking to secure Andrew Lansley's support in securing the future of Ludlow's vital community hospital. Its viability remains under threat following the PCT's plan to cut wards and beds. We shall be explaining the work being undertaken in the next few months to turn an alternative vision into a practical business plan for a successful hospital for the community."

Francis Maude MP - Wolverhampton Matters

(Above) Francis Maude MP at a recent Wolverhampton school visit

Wolverhampton is important. Wolverhampton is important to me, to David Cameron and to the Conservative Party. At the beating heart of Britain, your city has a rich heritage, and from my regular visits I can see it’s clearly a vibrant and diverse place to live, work and play.

In 2000 you became the first Millennium City and today proudly boast a thriving culture of arts and entertainment, a good university, an all-weather race-course and one of the oldest football teams in the League Championship. Though I must admit to being a Spurs fan, I’m glad to see that Mick McCarthy has taken over at Molineux and with such support. With a bit of luck Wolves should soon be banging on the Premiership’s door!

Yet despite these great assets, I sense a genuine feeling of weariness with a Government which has ignored and taken for granted your home town. The results of this neglect can be seen in some very obvious ways.

West Midlands Police was recently named the best metropolitan force in the country, for which they should be commended, but they cannot be expected to solve all of the region’s problems on their own. They need strong support from local and national Government. Sadly, I fear they are being let down.

Tony Blair’s commitment to be “tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime” has become another empty promise and failed Labour policies mean that yob culture and gang violence continue to hurt people’s quality of life. A recent rise in violent crime is worrying and the West Midlands has had to issue the third highest number of ASBOs in the country.

Labour policies have also resulted in a critical report from the Healthcare Commission which showed that more than half of the Bodies that run health facilities in the Midlands are wasting money and failing patients. Despite the great work of the staff at New Cross Hospital, 300 people have lost their jobs as a result of Gordon Brown’s NHS cuts.

That’s why the Conservative Party’s NHYes campaign is supporting NHS staff while highlighting Labour’s damaging financial mismanagement of our healthcare system. That’s why we also strongly supported the Trade Union Congress’ NHS Together rally held on 1st November.

We are taking a different approach to issues such as crime and healthcare. We realise that simplistic and heavy handed government intervention is not the answer to all the world’s problems. Conservatives believe there is certainly such a thing as society, but this is not the same thing as the state.

What is needed instead is a renewed spirit of social responsibility. This means understanding that we are all in this together and that government can’t succeed unless it listens to ordinary people and encourages them to contribute to society. So on issues like tackling crime, improving the environment and making life better for families, we don’t just ask what government can do. We ask what people can do, what society can do.

A great example of this is David Cameron’s recently launched charity, the Young Adult Trust. It provides residential courses for young adults, from all social backgrounds and ethnic groups, to interact and learn the importance of civic duty and gain a sense of purpose and belonging.

The Mayor of Wolverhampton is Conservative Councillor John Davis and every day Shadow Leader Paddy Bradley and the other Conservative Councillors are striving to make Wolverhampton a better place. Recently, they have campaigned to keep Compton Park swimming pool open and fought the Labour Council’s decision to close the few remaining Council-owned residential care homes for the elderly. They are battling to save Danesmore Primary School and are leading the campaign to clean up the Broad Street / Stafford Street city gateway area.

But we need to do more. I want my Party to be your Party. I want my Party to reflect the communities we represent and the country we aspire to govern. West Midlands Conservatives, with David Cameron’s leadership, are moving forward to win back the trust, confidence and respect of the people of the region.

Wolverhampton and Britain in the 21st Century should be a place of prosperity, equality and opportunity. A place where individuals and communities work together with their Government to ensure a safe and just society. This is the Conservative Party’s vision for Britain and it is my aim that Wolverhampton will be part of that vision. I close by repeating my opening remarks: Wolverhampton is important, let us all work together to achieve its potential.

Please feel free to email me at if you have any ideas or want to get involved locally.

Francis Maude MP
Francis is Shadow Minister for Wolverhampton and Chairman of the Conservative Party.

New Shadow Minister appointed in the West Midlands

Stephen O'Brien MP, has been appointed as the Conservative Party's Shadow Minister for Stoke on Trent.

This is great news for Stoke and adds to the number of key members of the Party appointed to help the rebuilding of the Conservatives within the West Midlands.

Francis Maude is responsible for Wolverhampton, Andrew Mitchell in Birmingham and Caroline Spelman in Coventry.

A Party for Working People

Conservatives must stand up for the working people of Britain as the Party campaigns on the big issues facing the country in 2007, David Cameron has proclaimed in his New Year message.

Calling on Conservatives to move into higher gear and establish the details of a clear and positive alternative to Tony Blair's incompetent and untrustworthy administration, the Party Leader declared: "As we campaign in 2007 on the NHS, crime, the environment, the cost of living, and the shocking decline in social mobility in our country, we must show that, unlike Labour, we will be a party that is for working people, not rich and powerful vested interests."

Mr Cameron insisted that working people across Britain want action on the cost of living, council tax, poor housing, educational failure and under-investment in skills. He said that at a time when Labour has lost its authority, working people want competent measures to combat crime and anti-social behaviour, a strategy that makes the NHS work, rather than a service that is getting worse in many areas despite a doubling of expenditure.

"Working people want something done about the environment and their quality of life, and above all, people want a government that delivers for them," he said.

Mr Cameron said that after a decade of dashed hopes and broken promises from New Labour, people were wary of all politicians who say that they will be different, which was why in the year ahead, Conservatives must work even harder to earn people's trust, and show that they will not only make a difference, but will be different as well.

After a successful 2006, in which the Party moved back into the mainstream of British politics as a modern, compassionate voice for change, optimism and hope, he declared of 2007: "We must move into a new gear - setting out in detail our clear, positive alternative to a Labour government whose incompetence and untrustworthiness is beginning to disgust the working people it was elected to serve."

In his message, Mr Cameron praised the work of the Armed Forces, especially those personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and promised wholehearted backing to all sensible measures taken to strengthen the nation's borders, enhance the security services, and improve policing. And he said that in the year ahead, the Party must show "that it is the Conservative idea of social responsibility - not Gordon Brown's idea of state control and higher taxes - that will make life better for working people."

He said: "Conservatives believe that we're all in this together: social responsibility means understanding that everyone has a part to play in moving society forward - it's not just about what government can do, but about what all of us can do. "

2007 will be the year that Labour's dark side comes to the fore. With Blair going and Brown coming, we need to prepare ourselves for an onslaught of negative campaigning and the politics of fear and division. In 2007, the real battle for Britain's future begins: Labour's state control versus Conservative social responsibility."

Regional officer supports St. Basils in Birmingham with sleep out

Birmingham used to have a real problem with homelessness. A walk along New Street at night would find groups of people, young and old alike, huddling in make-shift homes of cardboard boxes, the occasional second-hand sleeping bag, and the obligatory stray dog.

These were people forgotten by society, unloved by their family, and left without hope.

But that has now changed in large part due to social enterprises like St Basils in Birmingham.

Each year the corporate community in Birmingham, along with other friends, raises funds for St Basils by volunteering to spend a night out on the streets of Digbeth with just a cardboard box and a plastic bag as a home for the night.

So on 24th November Regional Deputy Chairman Charles Barwell spent one of the wettest and windiest nights of the autumn out of the street to raise awareness and funds for St Basils. Sutton Coldfield MP and Shadow Minister for Birmingham Andrew Mitchell also joined the event to welcome sleepers and support St Basils.

Since 1973 St Basils has worked with young people who are threatened with homelessness and hopelessness. St Basils provides a home to about 1000 young people each year, and runs courses that build confidence and skills, giving participants a hand up rather than a hand out.

A measure of the success of St Basils is that in the November’s annual count of homelessness in Birmingham, just five people were found living on the streets. That is a reduction of 82% over the past five years.

Charles spent his windswept night on the street lying in an ever larger puddle of rainwater. Other “sleepers” boxes were drowned out a blown away, including an impressive den built by schoolchildren from Oundle School. But Charles’s sturdy construction, which was held together with masking tape, survived until morning.

Charles told us “one cold night on the streets of Birmingham may have been uncomfortable for me, but I am delighted to have helped St Basils continue to do its truly valuable work with young people who society had overlooked.”