I have worked as a volunteer for this great Party of ours all of my life, starting as a Young Conservative. It has always been in my DNA.
You will see from my CV that prior to being elected as a Vice President of the National Convention back in 2014, I held positions from Branch Chairman to Association Chairman; from Area Chairman to Regional Chairman.
I have worked within the Conservative Women's Organisation (CWO) as a Regional Chairman and sat on their national committee. I have also served as a Patron of the Conservative Foundation as well as being a member of the Association Finance Board.
I am proud of my contribution thus far but am always acutely aware that for any of this voluntary activity to be successful you need good, sound, solid teamwork. Teamwork is always key to our success and we need it more today than ever. We must put division firmly behind us in order to succeed.
But in order to establish good teamwork, you need the best team possible – at all levels of the Party. And in order to create the right team, you need members. Active members. I am so proud of the Voluntary Party and the vital part that we play in national and local elections. Without armies of people up and down the country pounding the street, knocking on doors and getting nomination papers signed, there would be no Conservative Party. And no elected Conservative representatives.
And so, membership is our Party's lifeblood and increasing our membership is vital. And never more so than following the last General Election.
CWO has been going from strength to strength with their candidate training and professional teamwork, and we will need their input and expertise even more as the months go on.
CPF has also spread their net ever wider as they continue to create better communication and teamwork throughout the UK.
Meanwhile, Emma Pidding, our former Convention Chairman always nurtured and strengthened the effectiveness of the Strategy Team via superb teamwork. And her excellent successor, Rob Semple, has most certainly carried on the excellent teamwork of Convention during his time as Chairman.
I have been privileged to have served our Party in many ways and in many roles over many years. But, as I say, I could not have achieved anything without first class teamwork.
When I was elected to join the National Convention Officer team, I made it my business to focus upon the key priorities which I outlined when seeking election and have been working on strongly ever since. But now we need more. Much more. In light of recent events, we have to strengthen the Voluntary Party like never before. Recruitment has become more vital than ever. We need more subscribing members and we need more "boots on the ground". Advances in social media make its widespread use even more critical in our campaigning. Of that, there is no question. But the responsibility for getting out in ever greater numbers and knocking on doors, delivering literature, signing up postal voters and helping with Get out the Vote comes down to us – the volunteers. We must be equal to the challenge.
The fallout from the EU referendum and the General Election caused division. Everyone accepts that. Our task now, however, is to ensure that we unify the Party once again and start working towards victory at the next General Election, whenever it comes. Without unity there can be no team work. Unity is strength. And without that strength, there will be no victory. That is not acceptable. We must unify to win. And win, we shall.