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.

Monday, November 27, 2006

CF Drinks Reception Tonight

Our CF Chairman, Mark Clarke, is hosting a reception for Conservative Future members this evening, prior to the Conservative Way Forward dinner.

We have five of of our National Management Executive and at least six current CF Area Chairmen who will be attended.

The reception will be held for those CF members attending the dinner in the Opal Room in the Dorchester from 6pm to 7pm when the main proceedings will begin.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

CWF Dinner with Baroness Thatcher

We were putting together two tables for the Conservative Way Forward Dinner at the Dorchester Hotel on Monday 27th November where Baroness Thatcher and Dr Liam Fox MP will attend. Due to unprecedented demand we are doing a third table and there are a few spaces left.

If you would like a ticket on a strictly first come, first served basis they are £90 for CF and £125 for non-CF. Drop me a line if you are interested.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Casino Royale, Croydon CF

I had a really good night at the CF Casino Royale evening which was held in Croydon last Friday. South London Area Chairman, Clare Hilley did a great job organising. There were over a hundred people there, including Andrew Pelling MP, Richard Ottaway MP and Syed Kamall MEP. After dinner the gaming table was wheeled out and plenty of money seemed to be getting lost which can only have been good for CF.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Harlow CF Launch & Christmas Party

As part of the CF Marginal Seat program, I have been working in Harlow with Graham Smith the Association Chairman and Robert Halfon the PPC. I am pleased to announce our first event which is being held on Thursday 30th November in Yates Wine Bar from 7-9pm.

Adams House
11-15, Eastgate
Essex CM20 1BE

The objective is to attract as many new faces as possible, but of course it would be great to see support from any Cfers who would like to come down to Harlow on the 30th. Hope to see you there.

Monday, November 13, 2006

CF Women's Training Conference, Saturday 25th November

CF are holding a Women's Training Conference on Saturday 25 November. This will be held at CCHQ, 25 Victoria Street, SW1 and speakers include blogger Iain Dale; former GMTV presenter, Esther McVey; John Major, Press Secretary, Baroness Hogg; Vice-Chairman of the Party for Women, Margot James; former policy adviser to HM The Queen and Chairman of the Candidates Association, Mary Macleod; Vice Chairman of the Party for Youth, Justine Greening MP.

To find out more and to download a booking form please visit:


Thursday, November 09, 2006

CF Christmas Party

The venue has just been booked for this year's CF Christmas Party which is on Tuesday 19th December from 6pm onwards. The Party is going to be in the Sterling Bar which is in the base of 30 St Mary Axe, EC3 (otherwise known as the Gherkin). Closest underground stations are Bank / Liverpool St.

Our Party Chairman, Francis Maude, will join us. Look forward to seeing you there. We have a whole level in the venue, so bring your friends too, the more the merrier.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Sutton CF

I was invited by Sutton’s CF Chairman, Alex Robinson to join their monthly meeting in Cheam, Surrey on Tuesday night. Alex took over running the branch a couple of years ago after the previous Chairman had moved on. The branch has seen amalgamation of members from surrounding areas which worked to successfully strengthen the group.

One of the main problems in keeping a branch running and one of the areas we have looked at in our work in marginal seats, is identifying and putting in place a Chairman succession plan. Many Chairmen form branches whilst in sixth form and the branch can struggle to keep running should the Chairman leave the area to go to University. Alex has kept the branch running whilst at University and I hope it continues to go from strength to strength. I am sure the PPC, once selected in January 2007, will be looking to them for support.

Victoria Cross Heroes: Michael Ashcroft

Lord Ashcroft has been very generous and supportive of CF and I was pleased last night to attend the launch his new book Victoria Cross Heroes at the Imperial War Museum. Lord Ashcroft has accumulated the largest collection of Victoria Crosses which boasts 146 medals.

It was quite a moving evening listening to speakers and accounts of courage. Lord Ashcroft said he was moved to see so many families of VC winners at the event. I look forward to reading my signed copy, purchased for the bargain price of £20.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Take Your Seat

I was asked to help out at the Target Seats conference which was held on Saturday 4th November. Although getting up at 6am to drive to Bedfordshire was a mean feat, it was well worth the early start. There were over 1000 delegates, including Association Chairmen, Agents, Deputy Chairmen from around 200 target seats, Area and Regional leadership, campaign directors and senior members of CCHQ and the voluntary party.

The event had been organised by Lord Ashcroft and I think all involved were highly impressed by the enthusiastic and professional vibe which was very evident throughout the day.

Speakers included, David Cameron, Francis Maude and Don Porter. Various presentations were given by other Senior Members of the Party. I found the presentation on the statistical analysis which Lord Ashcroft commissions extremely interesting. Particularly it was interesting to hear the change which has occurred in the public’s perception of the Conservative Party since December 2005.

With new campaigning systems being put in place and a focus on e-campaigning, which is expected to be huge in 2009, it’s very hopeful Associations will feel a massive benefit. Survey analysis showed we’d come since December 2005, but there is still much, much further to go. We need to continue to drive our new brand values. It’s the first time, since 1997 we believe and are actually in position to win the next General Election and the air of optimism in Bedfordshire that day was very apparent.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Nuclear Energy Debate

It was good to see another very well attended event. The Nuclear Debate held in Parliament last night, was the second Working Life Event held by the new Exec. It was good to see the faithful CFers who came along to join the debate, but also great to see so many new faces. I'm very keen to attract as many new people as possible, as we really need more members from a wider age group as well as spread of backgrounds and professions. I only managed one Insurance bod last night, which I was surprised at seeing as Nuclear Liability is quite a big topic in the market at the moment. (I would account the lack of Insurance Market interest however probably down to the fact it was a Thursday night).

Speakers for Nuclear Energy were Robert Goodwill, MP for Scarborough and Whitby and Miranda Kirschel, Nuclear Industry Association. Speakers against were Nick Hurd, MP for Ruislip-Norwood and Dr David Lowry, an Environmental Policy Consultant.

After hearing the pros and cons of Nuclear we voted on the motion and I think it’s fair to say most people were quite surprised when unanimous support for Nuclear Power was carried. The real question, in my opinion is however, what concentration should we put on Nuclear Power? Our renewables are diminishing and polluting and alternatives such as solar or wind turbines account for a small percentage of the energy produced. Nuclear Power currently accounts for 29% of our total energy production, I think most people would like to see an increased focus on using our renewables to greater efficiency (including controlling carbon emissions) as well as exploring alternatives AND utilising Nuclear Energy.