Bow Group calls for Conservative Party Grassroots Revolution

 

PRESS RELEASE

  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 

Press Release - Bow Group calls for Conservative Party Grassroots Revolution

"The only way to regain momentum and achieve majority government is to reinvigorate the party from within with democratic reform, beginning with a leadership election."
Cllr Ben Harris-Quinney, Chairman, The Bow Group

 
Since 2010, Britain's oldest conservative think tank, the Bow Group, has called for significant reform in the Conservative party. That necessity for painful reconstruction into a genuinely popular movement has not occurred however. The Conservative party has failed to revitalize its grassroots membership and build a genuine movement, and has struggled to defeat three of the weakest Labour leaders in British history.
  • There has not been a Conservative Party leadership election since 2005
  • Members lack the ability to freely select candidates without central party interference
  • Lack of member engagement in policy making
  • Average age of a party member is currently 68 years old.
  • Loss of narrative to to UKIP on key conservative issues
  • Failure to make a formal Brexit electoral pact with UKIP
The Bow Group recommends urgent reform party rules to ensure the following:
  1. An urgent meeting of conservative activists and organisations to debate the Party's future
  2. The election of the party leader by the membership at least every five years
  3. The election of a party chairman annually
  4. Primary selection process for all candidates
  5. The ability for members to vote on policy at Conservative Party conference
  6. The restoration of the role of members to speak from the floor at Conservative Party conference
Quotes:
 
"The Bow Group has long seen the issue of declining Conservative Party membership and enthusiasm for the Conservative vision as symptom of lacking party democracy and a rigid adherence to centrist values. What Jeremy Corbyn has achieved in the Labour Party initially looked a folly, however Labour have gone through the necessary and painful transition from centrist politics first, and have emerged stronger.

The Conservative Party must urgently follow suite, or risk losing the political narrative and momentum for the foreseeable future.
What is required is nothing short of internal revolution. The only way to regain momentum and achieve majority government is to reinvigorate the party from within with democratic reform, beginning with a leadership election within the year.

Cllr Ben Harris-Quinney, Chairman, The Bow Group

"The neglect of essential policy areas such as the NHS and Social Care was disgraceful and needless. We warned the dementia tax would be horrendous to the core vote. The inability to respond to a flashing red light reflects how detached and presidential Number 10 now is. The party must return to manifesto by consensus and conference and not be so suspicious and dismissive of its members. We have not hit the bottom yet and 2022 could level the party without radical surgery now."
Dr Jon Stanley, Senior Research Fellow

"Grassroots activists have received nothing but disdain from the Party leadership since 2005, the result has been the hollowing out of the Conservative Party, which now rests at one fifth of the membership of the Labour Party.

Notes for Editors

· For more information please contact Ben Harris-Quinney on 07875570898 / @ research@bowgroup.org /chairman@bowgroup.org

· The Bow Group is a leading conservative Think Tank based in London. Founded in 1951 the Bow Group is the oldest conservative think tank in the UK and exists to publish the research of its members, stimulate policy debate through an events programme and to provide an intellectual home to conservatives. Although firmly housed in the Conservative family, the Bow Group does not take a corporate view and it represents all strands of conservative opinion

Date: 
Friday, June 9, 2017