Conservative Party members are ‘the ballast of the ship’ and need to be empowered says Lord Cruddas

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Lord Cruddas, the President and Treasurer of a major new campaign is leading the charge for democracy to be restored to the Conservative Party.

The Conservative Peer has thrown his weight behind the Conservative Post’s major new campaign to empower members and steer the party’s political direction back to the centre-right.

Lord Cruddas, a former Conservative Party Treasurer who has donated more than £3.5 million to the Conservative Party, is leading the charge for the Conservative Democratic Organisation (CDO).

CDO is a new campaigning body, which is working to empower the grassroots and restore democracy in the Party.

Lord Cruddas said: “Members support is what gives the Conservative Party stability. It is like the ballast of a ship.

“Over the past forty years, any leader who held the members support enjoyed a compliant party and an unassailable position – Thatcher, Cameron and Johnson.

“By contrast, those who lost the members support faced civil wars and bitter personal attacks – Major, May and Sunak.”

The new campaign comes after Conservative MPs ousted grassroots favourite Boris Johnson as prime minister and then overthrew his successor Liz Truss, voted in by members, and installed her defeated rival Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister – this time without bothering with a ballot of party members. According to Cruddas, this is a recipe for disaster leading to a party which is “ungovernable.”

Cruddas explained: “With the members onside, the Conservative party is a successful, efficient election-winning machine. Without the members, the Conservative Party is ungovernable and self-destructive.

“If you look at all the recent voter intention polls by the CPS, Onward, etc. there is a huge number of don’t knows / won’t bother, especially among former Conservative voters.

“These are the people who feel betrayed or disengaged and who will make a difference at the next General Election. Vote turnout will be low, so grassroots engagement will matter more than in any previous election.

“To swing it, you need your core voters to be sufficiently re-engaged to actually come out and vote. It is crucial that members work hard campaigning, especially as it is likely there will be a mid-winter election in late 2024 or early 2025. It will not be a voters numbers election it will be a voter engagement election.”

Former Home Secretary Priti Patel, who is also backing the campaign agreed stating:

“Our grassroots are the heart and soul of our Party. They work tirelessly to campaign for Conservative votes, knocking on doors, delivering leaflets and fundraising locally.

“They are our greatest assets and advocates and they should never be taken for granted. Party members are committed to our values of freedom, enterprise and opportunity and we need to empower them to have more say over our policies and candidates. That will make us stronger, more successful in Government, and boost our membership numbers.”

David Campbell Bannerman, Chairman of CDO added:

“Sadly, democracy is now on life support within the Conservative Party. Members are being treated with contempt and the Party has become grossly overcentralised. We need to rebuild the Party from the ground up.

“We do not need a new party, we need a democratic Conservative Party true to its values and with the members back in charge. It is time for members to ‘take back control’. The launch of the Conservative Democratic Organisation is the start of that process. CDO can save the party and its great cause.”

Speaking about Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Lord Cruddas said:

“Unless Rishi Sunak holds members support his chances of winning the next general election are slim. Today he does not have that support because he was rejected by members as their leader.

“Conservative Democratic Organisation was created to give members more say over the running of our party. Because without the support of the party members the Conservative Party ceases to be the awesome election machine it is.

“There is a lot that can still be done especially around voter engagement, the starting point is to give the members a bigger say in the running of the party. You can do that through Conservative Democratic Organisation. It’s still all to play for, I know what needs to be done.”

Join the thousands of Conservatives fighting every day to promote a democratic party here.

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