EXCLUSIVE: Figures reveal CCHQ’s concern about Tory AssociationsPosted on March 3, 2011
While the collapse of the Lib Dem campaigning machine is the focus for many politicos at this weekend’s Conservative Spring Forum, there are some rumblings around about the Conservatives’ own operation in some parts of the country.
This morning there was a closed meeting of the Party’s National Convention at which the matter was discussed.
A source who was at the meeting has exclusively passed me some of the most alarming information that came up. Apparently Andrew Feldman reported on a study CCHQ has carried out into the effectiveness of local Conservative Associations.
In a “mystery shopper” exercise, CCHQ wrote to over 300 associations under the guise of being a person who wanted to join up, and asking how to do so.
Over half of the letters received no response at all, which is bad enough. Weirdly, a handful who wrote back saying the applicant would need to pass a membership interview before they could join the Conservatives. Most worryingly, though, around 10% wrote back to the pretend applicant saying they were “closed to new members”.
This is obviously a cause for serious concern. Party membership has been falling across the board, and in the current political climate the Conservatives should be welcoming supporters with open arms.
CCHQ was clever to carry out this study – the question is what will or can they now do to fix the problem without falling out with their network of associations?