Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Wolverhampton South West to Select Parliamentary Candidate in Open Primary

Conservatives in Wolverhampton South West are about to start the parliamentary selection process by an open primary. This is where all voters living in the constituency can take part and pick the man or woman fighting to be the next MP.

Adverts will be published in local newspapers and on websites to give everyone the opportunity to take part in this process.

Watch this space for further details

Five More West Midlands Seats Advertise for Candidates

The following seats are set to select candidates:

Birmingham Northfield
Birmingham Selly Oak
Coventry North West
North Warwickshire
Warwick and Leamington

Further details regarding the style of selection will be posted here.

Monday, 29 January 2007

David Cameron in Birmingham

Bringing down the barriers to cohesion

David Cameron has called on the people of Britain to resist extremism, and work flat out to tackle the 'five barriers' dividing society and blocking cohesion in the community.Delivering a keynote speech in Birmingham, the Conservative Leader said that instead of seeking to blame one group or another for the breakdown in relations, the country should confront the underlying causes: extremism, multiculturalism, uncontrolled immigration, poverty, and poor educational standards.He warned that those radical Muslims who seek a sharia state, or special treatment and a separate law for British Muslims, appear like a mirror image of the BNP, as they try to divide people into 'us' and 'them', and deliberately seek out grievances to exploit.

And Mr Cameron called on government to use all the available instruments of public policy to draw people away from the ideologies which attempt to separate British Muslims from the mainstream, and to make society inclusive, fairer and more just.Speaking after an opinion poll was published showing that anti-western attitudes are strengthening among young British Muslims, he declared: "We need big changes. Let's take down all the barriers in the way of a stronger society - the barrier of extremism, the barrier of uncontrolled migration, the barrier of a multiculturalist approach that's failed, and the barriers of poverty and poor education."Likening Muslim extremism to the ideologies of the BNP, he stated: "We must mobilise the instruments of public policy to draw people away from supporting such ideologies. The BNP pretend to be respectable; but their creed is pure hate. And those who seek a sharia state, or special treatment and a separate law for British Muslims are, in many ways, the mirror image of the BNP. They also want to divide people into us and them. And they too seek out grievances to exploit."Warning that multiculturalism has been manipulated to favour a divisive idea - the right to difference - Mr Cameron stressed the need to bring people close together, and pressed for Muslims to be taught English. He said: "We've got to make sure that people learn English, and we've got to make sure that kids are taught British history properly at school. I believe that the Government should redirect some of the money it currently spends on translation into additional English classes. This would help people integrate into society and broaden their opportunities.

"Mr Cameron insisted that government must get a grip on immigration. "We can only live together if there is proper integration. You can't have proper integration if people are coming into Britain at a faster rate than we can cope with," he said.On poverty, the Conservative Leader warned of an emerging underclass, crippled by family breakdown, drug and alcohol addiction, unemployment, ill-health and crime. "It's a self-perpetuating cycle. In some of our urban areas people are living in conditions of multiple deprivation. Not only is this an affront to social justice; it's also a breeding ground for resentment and division. So tackling poverty is a priority. And the most effective way of beating poverty in the long run is to give people in deprived areas decent schools," he said.On education, he called for action to bring down the 'educational apartheid' existing in many towns and cities - "not between faith schools and non-faith schools, but between good schools and bad schools. A good education is important for everyone, but for children in poor areas it's absolutely vital."

Sunday, 28 January 2007

Caroline Spelman Set to Campaign in By Election

Local MP, Caroline Spelman is set to campaign with Damon Brown. This vital by election is now entering the last few days of campaigning before the Labour Party could lose overall control of another Council in the West Midlands.

Friday, 26 January 2007

Maggie's Campaign Gets Top Tory Backing

On a visit to Solihull, Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Peter Ainsworth, met with Maggie and local campaigners, fighting to stop two phone masts currently proposed in Solihull, at Widney Manor and at Shirley Heath.

Maggie commented: "At the moment the law favours the mast providers. I am campaigning to get the law changed so it is on the side of local residents. Residents deserve to have more say in where these masts for the new generation phones are sited."

Mr Ainsworth added: "Maggie has achieved great success in stopping phone mast applications across Solihull and I am sure she will be successful with these two. It is only by changing legislation that people will really have a voice. This is why I am backing Maggie's campaign for local people to have their say."

Solihull residents can find out more about Maggie's campaign to get the law changed by emailing her at

Wyre Forest Shows Off Recycling to Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment

Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment Peter Ainsworth MP today visited Wyre Forest to see for himself the much heralded local facilities. After visiting the Network Worcestershire electrical goods recycling plant in Oldington and Foley Park, and then the Green Street offices of Wyre Forest District council where recycling is managed, the Conservative front bench spokesman for the environment declared himself “very impressed indeed”.

Peter Ainsworth was invited to visit Wyre Forest by Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman Mark Garnier.

Council leader Steven Clee hosted the visit to the district council offices in Green Street where recycling officer Andrew Dickens told Peter Ainsworth about the fantastic progress the council is making in its recycling and collection targets.

Mr Ainsworth was also taken to The Network Worcestershire in Oldington and Foley Park. Mark Garnier has been helping the Network raise publicity over their activities, as well as helping with certain legislative issues. Conservative leader David Cameron MP has been a visitor and a delegation was taken to London to meet with Shadow Secretary of State for Industry Alan Duncan MP.

Commenting after the visit, Mark Garnier said: “Wyre Forest is leading the way with recycling and I am proud to be associated with a district that takes the environment so seriously. Today we visited two operations. One was a privately started charitable project; the second a local government service. Both work together and both show that issues of recycling and refuse is something that everyone can get involved with. This is a priority and it is being led by Wyre Forest.”

Peter Ainsworth added: “I am very grateful to Mark and Steven for looking after me and showing me what is going on here. The Network Worcestershire is a terrific organisation in that it re-uses electrical goods, it provides a disposal service for the whole county, it provides local jobs and it provides necessary domestic appliances to those people who would otherwise not be able to afford them. And I was particularly impressed with the achievements at the district council under Steven Clee’s leadership. The fact that they are achieving and breaking their targets is entirely down to sound management and clear thinking. It was a very valuable tour for me as I can take with me the key to Wyre Forest’s successes and look at them in the context of national legislation. Well done to all in Wyre Forest.”

Monday, 22 January 2007

West Midlands Set to Launch Member's Magazine - Can You Help Name it?

The Conservative Party in the West Midlands is set to launch a Member's magazine. It is important that all Party member's are kept in touch with Party activity and the new publication will be launched in 10 days time.

To keep all members involved, the Regional Chairman, Mrs. Prue Winton is inviting all members to help 'name' the magazine. Please email Sandra Gillett by Thursday at 1.00pm.

Sandra's email address is sandragillett@westmidsconservatives.com

Local Conservatives Spend Saturday Morning Tending Flower Beds and Collecting Litter

Mark Garnier and team pictured after a busy morning making Wyre Forest a brighter place to live.

'No' To Major Home Build and Urban Sprawl

In his formal response to the West Midlands Regional Assembly Report on the 'Regional Spatial Strategy' which determines the house building programme for Staffordshire and the rest of the west midlands, Michael Fabricant has said a resounding 'No' to the construction of 16,000 new homes in Lichfield District.

In his response to the Regional Assembly, Michael Fabricant says "While I recognise the need for additional housing, Options 2 and 3 proposed by the Strategy are wholly unacceptable and would destroy the quality of life currently enjoyed in Lichfield District". Option 3 calls for 77,900 new homes to be built in Staffordshire (excluding Stoke) of which 16,000 (21%) would be built in Lichfield and Option 2 calls for 67,900 new homes to be built in Staffordshire (excluding Stoke) of which 11,000 (16%) would be built in Lichfield.

Option 1 calls for 51,300 new homes to be built in Staffordshire (excluding Stoke) of which 6,500 (13%) would be built in Lichfield. Michael Fabricant has told the Regional Assembly that Option 1 "is an acceptable and realistic building programme that would not have a major impact on the environment in Lichfield".
Commenting on his response, Michael now says: "Taking into account completions of house building since 2001 and current building commitments, Lichfield already has completed an existing programme of 5,500 homes. So the acceptance of Option 1 offered by the Regional Assembly would mean, in practice, that the District would have to find sites for 1,000 homes. Although this seems considerable, I understand that they could be accommodated on brownfield sites and through 'windfalls'.
"My concerns are that these sites are chosen sensitively to ensure that Lichfield City does not encroach onto greenbelt separating the City from the Birmingham conurbation and that 'brownfield' does not mean the Government's definition which includes large back gardens.
"Lichfield has a unique identity and we will lose it all if we are swallowed up into Birmingham's characterless urban sprawl".

Ellie Bishop Trust holds a Successful Evening

From left to right: Chris Kelly (Chairman of the Ellie Bishop Trust), Maurice Hudson (Hudsons of Dudley Ltd) & Margot James.

The ever-popular pantomime, Cinderella, was performed by the Young Ones & their guests in a very special evening at the Netherton Arts Centre in Netherton, Dudley on Saturday 20 January with all proceeds going to the Ellie Bishop Trust (elliebishop.org). A capacity crowd of around 350, including a large number of children, enjoyed the evening which was opened by Black Country comedian Tommy Mundon. Free ice-cream for all children was provided at the interval by one generous benefactor. Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for Stourbridge, Cllr Margot James, was on stage to draw the raffle for some fabulous prizes including mountain bikes & a flat-screen TV alongside the Trust's Chairman, Chris Kelly, & local businessman, Maurice Hudson of Hudsons of Dudley Ltd.

In all the evening raised about £5,000 for the Trust.

Saturday, 20 January 2007

Rugby Decides - Mark Pawsey Selected

At an Open Primary meeting held this afteroon in Rugby, Mark Pawsey was selected.

Future Events - Birmingham University Conservatives

MPs Drinks Evening
Thursday 1st March 2007- Red Peppers Restaurant at the Mailbox - from 7pm, speeches from 8pm with Rt. Hon. Caroline Spelman MP,* Peter Luff MP,* Cllr Mike Whitby*, Leader of Birmingham City Coucil, Phillip Bradbourn MEP*, Malcolm Harbour MEP & Maggie Throup - Karen Lumley - Christopher Pincher - Margot James - Mark Garnier - Deirdre Alden PPCs
* - speaking

Dress Code: Lounge Suit
Tickets Now Available BUCF members: £5 CF members: £10 Conservative Party members: £20

Please email Joseph Brewer for details/tickets:

Local Conservatives Spend Saturday Morning Tending Flower Beds and Collecting Litter

Today, local members of the Wyre Forest Conservative Association gave up their Saturday Morning to tend to flower beds and collect litter in Brinton Park in Kidderminster. Their action was to bring attention to the fact that we are all responsible for looking after our environment.

Giving up their time were members of the District Council cabinet, local activists and Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman, Mark Garnier. The morning was organised by Cllr Marcus Hart, Wyre Forest District Council cabinet member for environmental services.

Speaking afterwards, Mark Garnier commented: “It was a great pleasure for both me and my colleagues to be able to put back into the community just a little of what we get out of it. Graham and his team from the District Council do a terrific job of looking after Brinton Park and it was a treat to be able to help him in a small way. We are all very grateful for his team’s hard work.

“But there is a serious message here. We all have a responsibility to look after our environment and each and every one of us must take that responsibility seriously. Every one of us needs to think just a little bit more about our actions because it is a series of simple, careless actions that results in tons of litter being collected from Wyre Forest’s streets, parks and playgrounds every year. So when you munch on that Werther’s Original, rather than carelessly dropping the wrapper, slip it in your pocket or drop it in one of the bins. After all, we are all paying for this to be collected and cleared up through our taxes.”

Friday Night in Casualty at Staffordshire General

Jeremy Lefroy spent some of Friday night at Staffordshire General Hospital's A&E Department - listening to staff and helping to push a few trollies.

'The staff's team spirit and obvious concern for the welfare of patients when under a lot of pressure were very impressive', commented Jeremy.

Rugby Decides Today at 3.00pm

Results will be posted this afternoon.
To find out more information about Rugby Conservatives, please go to:

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Question Time with Bromsgrove CF

Question Time Evening held by Bromsgrove CF was a great success.

Guests included Julie Kirkbride MP, Margot James (PPC for Stourbridge), Karen Lumley (PPC for Redditch) and Mark Clarke (Chairman of National CF).

More information can be found at:


Have you Checked Out Deirdre's Blog?

Deirdre Alden's Blog
Deirdre is the Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for the Birmingham Edgbaston constituency, which consists of Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton wards.

Deirdre can be contacted via email at deirdrealden@hotmail.com.

County Councillor Launches Blog

Matthew Ellis, Staffordshire County Councillor, has recently launched his excellent blog.

See the link below.


Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Second Ad Goes to Press

Rugby will soon decide who will stand as the Conservative candidate. Two candidates appearing in the open primary to be held on 20th January, have set up new methods of communicating with voters, one has set up a blog and one a website.

Samantha George can be found at : www.samanthageorge.com


Maggie Punyer can be found at : www.maggiepunyer.blogspot.com

Friday, 12 January 2007

Daniel Kawczynski Becomes a Member of the Childbirth Trust

Following the recent arrival of his daughter Alexis, Daniel has become a member of the charity the National Childbirth Trust (NCT). ‘the parents’ charity’. The national charity NCT was set up nearly 50 years ago and carries out various different activities in support of expectant and new parents and their babies. NCT lobbies both local and national government, campaigning for improved maternity services and the rights of parents.The Trust also provides direct support to new parents, including running antenatal classes and distributing information sheets. There is also an online shop for maternity and baby products, with proceeds going to support the charity’s support and campaigning work.“My wife and I received a lot of support before, during and after the birth of our daughter in October,” explained Daniel, “so I am keen to support this excellent charity in its work with other new parents”.

More information about the National Childbirth Trust is available at www.nct.org.uk.There is a Shrewsbury branch: contact Liz Morris on 01743 792678.The National Childbirth Trust “wants all parents to have an experience of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood that enriches their lives and gives them confidence in being a parent”.

Conservatives Join Call To Repaint Bridge

Conservative politicians joined forces on the Tenbury/Burford bridge over the River Teme to point out the need for a fresh coat of paint.

Harriett Baldwin, parliamentary candidate for West Worcestershire met Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow, on the bridge which links Worcestershire to Shropshire.

Mrs Baldwin said: "We both agreed the bridge could do with a clean up and will be taking this up with our respective local councils. Luckily Cllr Phil Groves, Mayor of Tenbury Wells was on hand and agreed to seek support from the Town Council.

Mr Dunne added: "I was delighted to welcome Harriett Baldwin across the river into Burford in Shropshire. Harriett is an outstanding candidate with an exciting political future. I look forward to working with Harriett, especially on local issues affecting both sides of the county boundary. If we can get the bridge painted after all these years that will be a good start."

Thursday, 11 January 2007

Jesse Norman and Francis Maude Visit Martha Trust

Conservative Party Chairman Francis Maude MP joined Jesse Norman, the candidate for South Herefordshire, on a visit on Tuesday to mark the 10th anniversary of the Martha Trust. They were shown round by Richard and Sarah Smith, the founding trustees.

The Martha Trust provides lifelong and respite care for young people with profound intellectual and physical disabilities. Richard and Sarah set it up at a time when their second daughter Sophie, who is very handicapped, was just four years old. They were determined not only to provide the right care for their daughter, whatever her future needs may be, but also to help other families in similar situations.

The trust's residents range in age from school years to late 40s. All are completely dependent on others for their every need and they are given constant loving attention by the nursing staff and carers, allowing and encouraging them to develop to their full potential.
"It's an extraordinary place," commented Jesse after the visit. "An incredibly loving environment, and a real model of private energy providing a service for the wider public."

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Francis Maude appears on worcestershire1.tv

See Francis Maude and Harriett Baldwin in Malvern


Party Chairman Campaigns in By Election

Let me tell you how it’s gonna be
You’re gonna cast your votes for me. (with apologies to Buddy Holly)

8th February 2007 sees the most significant by-election in recent history for Bedworth, Warwickshire. A Conservative victory in the Bede Ward will bring about a ‘hung’ Council in an area previously considered to be solid Labour territory.

Damon Brown, the Conservative candidate, a newcomer to the Party having joined since the last General Election, is fighting a vigorous, positive campaign based on local issues. Francis Maude, Party Chairman and formerly the MP for the constituency that includes Bedworth, took time out of his busy schedule to launch Damon’s campaign yesterday.
Thanking Francis, Damon said ‘This by-election has come about at short notice and we are determined to put in maximum effort to win. Francis’s visit will generate great publicity, which can only help get our message across.

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Jobs in Brussels

Philip Bradbourn MEP is looking for a Research Assistant to take over from the current postholder who is leaving to take up another post at the end of January, 2007.

The position is full time and based in Brussels though regular travel to Strasbourg is also required for the European Parliaments Plenary Session there.
The basic requirements of the post are:
  • Excellent Literacy and Numeracy Skills

  • Information Technology Skills (inc the use of e-mail and Internet)

  • Good Communication Skills

  • Ability in French or another Foreign Language an advantage but not essential

  • Ability to work flexible hours in a very busy office and to work as a team

  • The maturity to be able to prioritise work and react quickly and effectively to rapidly changing demands is essential as is attention to detail

  • Knowledge of the Conservative Party and its policies and the EU Institutions an advantage

The contract will initially be offered for one year (renewable until the end of the Parliamentary mandate in 2009 by mutual agreement), anticipated start date to be on or around 5th March 2007.

Working hours will be 30 hours per week (Monday-Thursday 9.am - 5 pm) though some flexibility is required. A six month probationary period will apply.

Salary subject to negotiation but will reflect the fact that the post holder will be based in Brussels for most of the time. Travel allowances etc. on official business are available.

For further information please e-mail: pbradbourn@europarl.eu.int

Closing date for applications (which should be submitted in the form of an up to date C.V. and a covering letter) is Friday 19th January. Interviews will take place at the UK Constituency Office on Friday 2nd February.

Solihull Candidate: "Stop Labour's Garden Grabbing"

The West Midlands Regional Assembly has just started a two-month consultation period on the housing needs of the region. With numbers of houses required dramatically increased since the last report five years ago.

Local environment campaigners are questioning the need and fear that green belt will be gobbled up by the new proposals.

Maggie Throup, who has campaigned avidly to protect the green belt around Solihull commented: “The new report suggests an increase in housing needs of 19 per cent in Solihull, that is an extra 18,000 houses needing to be built. Solihull is already a bursting point when it comes to new builds and I fear this will push the developers to our precious green belt.

“With our gardens currently being classified as brownfield sites, the over-densification in our town is already a problem. We need to look at ways of encouraging developers to use more true brownfield sites before more of our gardens and green belt are irreversibly destroyed.”

Conservatives in the West Midlands are backing a national campaign to stop Labour’s Garden Grab.

Anyone wishing to sign the online petition can click conservatives.com/gardens

Pictured above: Maggie Throup, Caroline Spelman MP and a supporter of our campaign.

Monday, 8 January 2007

David Cameron Meets with West Midlands MEP Team

Here is the West Midlands Conservative MEP Team meeting with David Cameron in Brussels in December last year. David met the team's staff and said he was very supportive of all the work Philip, Malcolm and Philip are doing for the West Midlands.

Iain Dale - First link for West Midlands Conservatives Blog

Iain Dale is the first site to link to West Midlands blog.

'More Blog Links Added
Well, what else is there to do on a Sunday night in Tunbridge Wells? Do visit the following blogs, which I have just added to my blog links.
Donal Blaney, Tory PPC Nick King, Nick Wallis, West Midlands Conservatives, Wherever I Lay My Hat Is My Home Secretary, West Ham Till I Die, John Redwood MP, Steve Webb MP, Justin Hinchcliffe, Daily Referendum, Northwing, Tom Paine, Dispatches of a Teen, Citizen Andreas, Rachel North, Further Ramblings'

Thank you to Iain.

Iain can be found at:

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
chairman@conservatives.com 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.”