This has been a momentous week both in our Constituency, with the defection of our MP Phillip Lee and in Parliament with machinations over Brexit and the withdrawal of the whip from a number of longstanding and senior members of our Party.
As you might expect, we have had a substantial number of emails and calls on these subjects and we are in the process of replying to each one. If you have emailed and are awaiting a reply, please bear with us.
My email of 4 September outlined my views on Phillip’s defection to the Lib Dems despite many protestations from him, to me and others, over recent months, that this was not a course of action he was contemplating.
Dr. Lee has long been a contentious individual within our Association. Following his defection, we continue to be united behind our strong, committed and very successful local Councillors and leadership who have consistently displayed strong Conservative values and delivered electoral success in our constituency. In the recent local elections, we were one of the most successful in the country.
Dr. Lee is now history and we move on.
We are seeking a replacement, who shares and demonstrates our values and will support our Government, to represent us at the next election and have started the required process to identify and shortlist prospective candidates. Our qualifying members will have the option to choose our prospective candidate from those shortlisted. I await further instructions from the Candidates’ Committee of the Party Board before moving forward.
I thought, in the light of this that I should write to all members in these febrile times to outline my views.
Firstly, it is important to say that our Association is thriving and our net membership number has grown year-on-year, however we have lost some good members recently. We hope that they will return to us. I hoped and wished that good people, whom we have known for many years and who had previously resigned, would be able to return to a stronger local Party. I’m pleased to say that this is already happening.
I still believe our Party is a broad church and like many political parties over time there will be realignment. However, our core-Conservative values are unchanged.
Trying to deliver Brexit has torn relationships asunder and the words and actions of both extreme Brexiteers and extreme Remainers have not helped.
The next few weeks and months should be a time of healing and big decisions that can only occur through a General Election. Whatever is put in front of the current Parliament will never be agreed. And so, Parliament needs a new mandate and refreshment. We have seen this occur many times through history and most recently in 1979 and 1997 - is there a 20-year pattern here?
Our aim is to deliver a Conservative administration with true core-Conservative values. God forbid this country ever gets Corbyn and his like.... the Callaghan/Healey Government of the 1970s will be a tea party in comparison to Corbyn/McDonnell.
This is a prime Conservative seat, and long may that continue. We fight together, we die together. I firmly believe that the next election will be for the soul of the country and I, for one, will be putting all my efforts into that.
I hope you will join me and the other Association Officers, councillors and members in achieving this.
Gerry Barber FRSA
Bracknell Conservative Association
T: +44 (0)7875289698