Conservative thank you event – Saturday

I’m looking forward to a big thank you event this Saturday in Cambridge. It’s being held at the home of one of our fantastic supporters.

A couple of hours of networking, a few words from me and a chance to meet our new MP candidate who will hopefully be selected on Friday. And a rare occurrence for political party events, it’s free.

It is important to say thank you to helpers particularly as we continue to build our delivery network across the city. The basics of political electioneering have not been our strongest point in recent years but we now understand the issues and are making real headway in putting in place the right teams for the job.

I’m taking my grandson, who is four, so let’s see what he makes of it. I’m hoping for chocolate biscuits or ice cream to keep him happy whilst granddad does his stuff.

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Cambridge Conservative PPC selection.

On Sunday the Cambridge Conservative Executive Committee spent all day interviewing the “long list” of candidates

Each candidate was asked four set questions and then faced probing questions from the floor. Each Executive Committee member scored each candidate on a range of attributes and then all the results were collated.

It was a long day. Chairing a succession of repeat interviews is always tiring particularly when you are aiming for a fair and consistent process for all candidates.

All the candidates performed well. It was great to see such a wide range of experience, skills and qualities. All the candidates will make superb MPs.

We believe we have put forward a small number with star quality to our short list. Next Friday our full association will get to choose our PPC from the short list.

I wish the candidates all the very best.

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Philip Hammond has said that Europe must be reformed.

The EU has become too big, too bossy and too interfering. The status quo is not acceptable, and people across Europe want change.

So that’s why Conservatives have a very clear plan. We want to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the European Union – and then give people an in-out referendum by the end of 2017.

This is only going to happen though if Conservatives are in power after the next election. Labour and the Lib Dems don’t want a referendum and UKIP can’t deliver one.

The only way to get change in Europe – and the only way to get a referendum – is by voting Conservative next year.

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Pension reforms – April 2015. At lat. it’s your pension, you choose how to spend

Millions of people will benefit from a right to free and impartial guidance on how to make the most of the new pensions choices that come into effect in April 2015.

Backing saving is a key part of the Conservative long-term economic plan to build a healthier economy. People who have taken the decision to save for their future should be rewarded – and that’s what these pension reforms are all about.

Under Conservative reforms, everyone with a defined contribution savings reaching pension age will get free and impartial guidance on the choices available to them at retirement. We want to ensure this guidance is trusted and so we’re bringing together a range of partners to help deliver these changes – including the Pensions Advisory Service and Money Advice Service.

A simple principle is behind these changes: it’s your pension and you should be able to choose how to spend the money you’ve saved.

It’s a principle which is at the heart of the Britain we’re trying to build: a country where everyone who works hard can have security and peace of mind for the future.

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Owen Paterson – was he forced out of government by a powerful self serving environmental lobby?

Politics is a difficult game and an even harder one to win at. Those who can do the most good and are the most effective are attacked the hardest.

Occasionally a politician comes along who is prepared to challenge popular thinking and attempts to get under the hood to reveal the real issues. It is amazing the fury and the relentless power then used against the politician by the vested interests.

We witnessed this when Andrew Lansley took on the monolithic NHS, an organisation over ripe for reform. The state run, union controlled, NHS fought back not wanting change to all the cosy arrangements. Andrew was then sacked.

Michael Gove at Education suffered the same fate. He was accused of being too unpopular. Of course he would be unpopular with the teaching unions. They do not want anyone ruining the party with talk of change.

The same seems to have happened to Owen Paterson. He claims he
was sacked by David Cameron to appease ‘the green blob’. Paterson,
Former environment secretary suggests he was removed from cabinet because of ‘powerful, self-serving’ environmental lobby.

Former environment secretary Owen Paterson says he left office worrying about the influence of the green lobby.

In the Sunday Telegraph, he described the Green Lobby as a “mutually supportive network of environmental pressure groups, renewable energy companies and some public officials who keep each other well supplied with lavish funds, scare stories and green tape”, and said that much of his work as environment secretary was devoted to loosening its grip on government policy.

“This tangled triangle of unelected busybodies claims to have the interests of the planet and the countryside at heart, but it is increasingly clear that it is focusing on the wrong issues and doing real harm while profiting handsomely,” he wrote.

Paterson said that he believed in improving the environment and the rural economy and that many in the green movement believed in neither.

And he was particularly scathing about the Green party and Friends of the Earth. “It was not my job to do the bidding of two organisations that are little more than anti-capitalist agitprop groups, most of whose leaders could not tell a snake’s head fritillary from a silver-washed fritillary,” he said.

We need courageous, reforming politicians to make the improvements to our services that are clearly still needed. Creating a culture of sacking them if they are unpopular amongst vested interests is wrong.

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Cambridge Conservatives selecting MP candidate

It was pleasing to see we have had to many high quality applications to become the Conservative PPC for Cambridge.

A real good mix of locals, academics, lawyers and business owners. Great to see an even split of male and female applicants and a mix of people from our multicultural society.

We have got this mass of applications down to a long list of very exciting possibilities.

On Sunday the Executive Council select, from our long list, a short list of candidates. We will carry out a series of interviews to better understand the candidates and how they would represent all the people of Cambridge.

Next Friday the short list will be interviewed by the whole Cambridge Conservative Association and a final choice will be made.

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Companies House is to make all of its digital data available to users free of charge.

Making it easier to do business is a key part of the Conservative long-term economic plan to build a stronger, more competitive economy and secure a better and brighter future for Britain.

Last year, customers searching the Companies House website spent £8.7 million accessing company information on the register. By making its data freely available and free of charge, Companies House is making the UK an easier and better place to do business.

This will make the UK the first country to establish a truly open register of business information. It will also open up opportunities for entrepreneurs to come up with innovative ways of using the information.

Long overdue and a very welcome initiative.Getting information to understand who you are doing business with is so very important.

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Nick Clarke

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