Ed McGuinness – Why I am standing for CPF Director

This is a sightly different style of article than I would normally write on policy or Issues but when the Young Conservative Network gave me the opportunity to address the future of our Party I could not refuse.

I am standing for Director of the Conservative Policy Forum which is the grass roots, idea generating machine for our Party. It takes the amazing ideas of our members, you, and feeds them into the highest levels of government to shape our policies, laws and future manifestos.

The key word here being future. And this is particularly apt for the Young Conservative Network, because you are the future of our Party and having your say in shaping our Party for the future is the top priority.

So you might be thinking who is Ed is and what makes him capable of leading the CPF and representing my views? Well, I grew up in Belfast, went to University in Scotland and then joined the Army for six years where I fought in Afghanistan and represented our country across the Far East, Africa and America. After this I joined a major bank in London and now work on a fast-paced trading floor – making investment decisions and strategies.

When I left the Army I joined the Conservatives deep in Corbyn territory in Islington and was elected Chairman in 2018, serving for two years through the tough pre-Brexit period and the 2019 General Election. Whilst I had led teams in the Army in tough environments, Association leadership was a fantastic new experience. The volunteers and members were outstanding in their dedication and passion for our Party. They also had exceptional ideas for the future direction of our Party; often ahead of government on certain aspects such as climate change, crime and education.

Policy-wise some of you may have read the early versions of the China Research Group newsletter put together by myself in the nascent days of the group which I helped prominent parliamentarians establish, and, more recently, the CF Armed Forces Policy Pamphlet – a collection of short essay distributed to Parliamentarians and Ministers to spark debate.

These two things, leadership and policy, combined ignited my passion to represent the views of our members on gritty policy ideas so we have better, election winning policies for the future and that is why I want to lead the CPF.

So what are my ideas? Well firstly, I am not the owner of good ideas. I have some, but you all have lots more. So I am running a survey through which it would be great to hear your feedback. However, I have three main focal points:

1) Always members first – from my Association leadership days I know the members make the

Party so they must and should be heard because there are a wealth of good ideas. So I will keep and expand the hybrid (online / in-person) nature of CPF to allow more people to engage and we will set up an online DropBox for policy discussion ideas for the future so you can shape what we talk about, not just what CPF decides.

2) We must expand diversity – We are all Conservatives, but we are a membership of immense breadth and policy talent shaped by a multitude of backgrounds. Under my leadership CPF will produce a How to guide for policy and ask future policy makers to get stuck in at the grass roots. We will further expand our reach into Conservative Friends groups to ensure we cater to special interests too, who often have a detailed grasp of issues interesting to government.

3) Expand our reach – We are a national Party, likely the only true national Party left and we need a policy platform which represents our members’ views across all four nations of the United Kingdom. The Union is one of my passions and work to secure its future must rest with every layer of our Party. So quite simply, I will use my networks to expand the CPF across our four nations so as we have a wide a reach as possible.

Very soon, National Convention members will have the opportunity to vote for the Director of the CPF. This is a hugely important role leading a great organisation. I want to make that organisation even greater using my leadership skills, policy passion and ideas for expanding our reach, increasing diversity and making sure members are first and foremost.

Feel free to reach out to me at any time and I hope you will support me for Director of the CPF.