Karen Allen

I fought South Shields at the May 2010 General Election for the Conservatives, gaining a 6.4% swing which was a 4% vote increase. The Conservatives polled 7,886 up from 5,207 in 2005. I was born in the North East and grew up in South Shields. I currently live in London and am employed as a Director at Lloyd's Broker Howden International.

Friday, September 29, 2006

New CF Branch for Harlow

As you may have read in Mark Clarke’s Manifesto the main target of the Exec this year is to set up and enhance CF branches in marginal seats. Claire Palmer is responsible for the overseeing of the Marginal Seats Initiative, whereby members of the Exec have been allocated constituencies. I was keen to work with Harlow. Robert Halfon missed being elected by only 97 votes in 2005. We need to get Rob selected in 2009 and by re-establishing the CF branch we will assist in this goal. [There was a small CF branch functioning in Harlow until a year ago when the Chairman moved out of the area to start University and the branch stopped being active].

Last night Claire and I attended the local Association meeting we’d been invited to by Chairman, Graham Smith. We outlined what we wanted to do and reached out to members who had family and friends, who might be interested in becoming involved, as well as asking for any input and suggestions to our proposals. It’s our target to organise the first event in Harlow by December. We hope to gather as many people as possible from the local area aged under 30. We’ll be marketing and using local contacts to publicise the event.

We will do a second event in the New Year, by which time we hope to have identified local people who can continue to run the branch. The Exec will be a phone call away for the third event, but we hope to have a team in place to organise this event and events going forward.

We were very pleased to be so welcomed in Harlow last night and we are looking forward to working there in the coming year.

Monday, September 25, 2006

CF Social Action Day at Conference

St Mary's Church in Bournemouth has been lying dormant for the last ten years. The local community is in vital need of more resources and the Party has taken on the challenge of bringing the centre back to life for the use of the local community.

Monday afternoon (2nd October) is CF's designated afternoon at the Project. During the course of the week David Cameron and members of the Shadow Cabinet will all be helping out.

Hope to see you there on Monday. If you want to come along please register with James Cutts: jamescutts2000@aol.com.

Don't forget to bring some old clothes you don't mind getting dirty or paint on!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Second NME Meeting

Although we are not even in office yet (we will be from October 1st) we have already had our second Exec meeting which was held at the sprightly hour of 9am on Saturday. Our Chairman Mark Clarke, further to individual meetings with us during the previous week, rolled out our Plan for the year, including our individual goals. It was encouraging to see that the targets outlined for us as a team and individually, were all within our reach and absolutely achievable.

At 11am our Area Chairmen arrived, hailing from Devon to Durham. Members of the Exec joined their Training Day which included brainstorming teams to discuss goals for next year and how we can all work better together. After lunch there was more discussion and a media training session.

Clearly many of the good Chairmen were gluttons for punishment as it wasn’t too difficult to persuade them to jump on the train and head over to Battersea to leaflet for James Cleverly in Battersea. I thought it was a great way to finish off the day; an excellent team building exercise, rounded off by a few drinks!

Tory Tribes

An interesting article in the Independent Review today; The Cameroons are Coming! It included a good piece on Munish Chopra and I got a mention in the Tory Tribes, alongside Rishi Saha, Zoe Aylward, Andrew Stephenson, Mark Clarke, Suella Fernandes, Claire Palmer and Simon Jones.

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article1639228.ece

James Cleverly for Battersea

As a former resident of Lewisham East, I have known James for a few years and had helped him campaign when he was our PPC for the General Election. Naturally I was only too happy to help him in his bid for Battersea, where he down to the final four. There was a great turnout of CF Area Chairmen and members of the Exec (ten of us in total) who seemed quite happy to leaflet Battersea in the Saturday sunshine. We covered a lot of ground and I hope more people will be encouraged to go to the Open Primary, which being hosted by Michael Portillo on Wednesday.

I think Open Primaries are an excellent idea. Many people we met in the street were very interested in the process and as I understand over 350 tickets for Wednesday have gone already.

http://jamescleverly.blogspot.com/2006/09/out-and-about-in-sunshine.html

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Result!

Thank you to everyone who supported me in my campaign. I came first place in the ballot, which I was delighted by.

It was a nervy evenings for many at last night's count. The last three places on the NME were closely contended and there was a recount for three candidates. I was really disappointed that Jonathan Ash-Edwards failed to be re-elected. He did an excellent job last year and will be missed on this year's Exec. I hope he will stay involved, which I am sure he will.

The Chairman result was extremely close, much closer than many of us had expected. Mark Clarke shone through however and was elected.

It was another disappointment however when Munish Chopra was not elected as Chairman for London North West. It goes to show you really can't take any result for granted. I truly thought Munish's election was a certainty, alas it was not to be. I know he will stay involved with Cities and Westminster where he's done an excellent job and I am hoping to work with him on some events this year.

The new NME all met today for a Training Session at CCHQ. There's a lot to do next year and I am glad we are starting to lay some foundations now, so when we offically take up office on October 1st, 2006 we can get stuck straight in.

I once again thank all of you who voted for me. We're right at the beginning now and I know we all have high hopes for what we can get done next year.


Details of the full results:

http://conservativehome.blogs.com/cfdiary/2006/09/election_result.html

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Hustings

It was a disappointing turn out at Friday's London Hustings. There were about 40-50 people there, although this time 8 of the 10 candidates made it. The proceedings were well chaired by Conor Burns and he very effectively handled what was a disgraceful performance by Andrew Young. I didn't want to get into slagging off other candidiates, but Mr Young unfortunately behaved very badly and cast a shadow over the rest of the evening, I was really disappointed in him as I had previously held him with regard.

There were good performances from Mark, Claire and Jonathan and the audience certainly seemed entertained by several of the other candidates. I think most people seem to have voted already but of those who hadn't I am sure Friday served as a suitably defining moment.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Cities of London and Westminster Branch

I dropped by the Duke of York last night for a quick drink after the Cities of London & Westminster meeting had finished. Munish has done a great job this year and I hope he gets elected to London West this year. He deserves it.

There were several people I spoke to who were new to CF or had just moved to London and were attending their first meet with their new branch (of course there were plenty of old faces there too). I thought it was really encouraging. I hoping next year I'll be able to organise some Networking events in the City and Docklands. It's so important to get new people through the doors and then of course to keep them interested.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Manchester Hustings

CF hadn’t held a Northern Hustings before. I was very pleased the decision was made to have a Hustings outside of London, as there are many members who cannot make it down to London to meet the candidates and ask any questions face to face.

The first session consisted of Claire Palmer, Jonathan Ash-Edwards, Christian Walker and me (not forgetting Andre Walker on behalf of Matthew Richardson and Clare Hilley on behalf of Ranil) giving a 90 second speech, which was followed by questions. It was a shame not all NME candidates were able to make it to Manchester, but at least voters were able to meet all of the candidates for Chairman who put their proposals to us in the second session.

There was a decent turnout at the event and the evening was thoroughly enjoyable, rounded off by a good curry! The following morning a few of us did some leafleting in Moston, Oldham which is a target ward.