Lincolnshire has played host to the annual conference of the Conservative Councillors’ Association at Broughton in North Lincolnshire.
The Conservative Councillors’ Association (CCA) is made up of almost every local councillor in the UK elected as a Conservative Party Candidate. The CCA exists to provide a strong and unified voice for all Conservative councillors both within the Party and in the wider community, it supports councillors in their important role and provides them with the tools to both work effectively on behalf of local residents and to campaign successfully as Conservatives.
The CCA’s Conservative Local Government Conference is a two-day conference for councillors from across the country to come together and discuss policy ideas, network and get motivated ahead of the May elections. The Conference took place between 24th and 25th February 2017 at the Forest Pines Hotel, Ermine Street, Broughton.
The conference opened with a welcome by CCA Chairman Cllr. Rory Love who introduced an address by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid MP, who spoke on a range of issues facing local government and suggested that a second phase of devolution deals may be able to come forward in the future.
In the afternoon the conference gave a standing ovation to welcome the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP who had arrived directly from a victory rally in Copeland following the by-election success the night before, she said:
“Copeland is a seat that Labour describe as their ‘core-vote country’, it has returned Labour MPs without exception since the 1930s, it is a seat they thought they would win this time, and where they expected to increase their majority. It is true to say that the result is a devastating blow for them and proof that Labour are out of touch with the concerns of ordinary working people.”
Turning to the local elections in May she said:
“Last year, Labour’s deputy leader warned of entryism in Labour by the far left. This year, even the Stalinists in Momentum are complaining about being infiltrated by the Trotskyites.
“But for those of us who remember what Militant did to Liverpool, it doesn’t matter what term you use – we can’t allow Labour to get a foothold back in local government and let them do for local communities what they did to our country.”
Following the address there was an open question and answer session for about fifteen minutes. After the Prime Minister’s departure there was a question and answer session with Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid MP, Marcus Jones MP (Minister of State for Local Government) and Lord Porter of Spalding (Chairman of the Local Government Association)
Cllr. Giles McNeill, who has attended the conference for the first time, as part of a delegation from APSE, was chairing two workshops on ‘Housing the nation’, following the Local Government question and answer session. The speaker panel included Ms Mo Baines, Head of Communication and Coordination from APSE and Mr. Rob Bailey, an APSE Principle Advisor. The workshops focused on how councils can be part of the solution to delivering the homes the country needs, generating an income stream from such activity, the role of local authority housing companies and delivering new homes for sale or rent. All delegates who participated received a copy of APSE’s latest research on housing. Cllr. McNeill commented:
“Firstly, it was very pleasing that the first workshop was at capacity, which just goes to show the appetite there is amongst Conservative councillors to recognise this issue and find solutions. We had some good discussions on how we can get Britain building the homes we need; and how local council must play a role in that. It was very pleasing to be stopped after the workshops concluded to be thanked and told how good and useful delegates had found the sessions.”
After the workshops the CCA’s AGM was held and that concluded the day’s formal proceedings.
In the evening TogetherSure and Barratt Developments kindly sponsored the evening’s Drinks Reception and Dinner respectively. The guest speaker was the Home Secretary, the Rt. Hon. Amber Rudd MP, who provided an insight into her role and the part that local government play in supporting her to make sure the UK is safe from crime, secure from threats and in tackling issues around immigration. Cllr. McNeill said:
“It was a very good speech from the Home Secretary, at sometimes humours and other deeply serious. I was pleased to spend a little time with her chatting about crime in West Lindsey and issues around immigration and security; she was very generous with her time and engaging on these local concerns. ”