Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Tory think tank launched in Gibraltar

John Major visit likely in 2006


Jonathan Scott - Conservative Councillor for Dewsbury South in Huddersfield
'Conservative Vision’, a pro-Tory, independent, centre-right think tank based in Yorkshire has been launched on the Rock by Jonathan Scott, a Conservative Councillor for Dewsbury South in Huddersfield.


ex British Conservative Prime Minister John Major
Among the public relations activities the group wants to organise locally to promote awareness of its existence, is a visit by the ex British Conservative Prime Minister John Major.

Conservative Vision is backed by former party leader William Hague and other national and European Tory MP’s.

Speaking to the Chronicle yesterday Mr Scott said the Conservative Party, on the back of three successive electoral defeats, was engaged in a broad discussion “of what we are, what we stand for, and what we want to be.”

He said the party was traditionally seen as a southern, London and Home Counties political force but it wanted to break down that perception. “We want to reconnect with other people,” he said.

As a starting point it wants to establish links with expatriates from the Yorkshire region working abroad, to encourage their involvement and attract their support.

Mr Scott also called on anyone from Yorkshire living in Gibraltar and interested in the think-tank, to contact them through their website. He said:

"We want to see if there is support in Gibraltar to organise events such as dinners and receptions with speakers from politics and business in key areas around the world that have large expatriate communities.”

The visit to the Rock will be followed by trips to southern Spain, the US and Australia where there are significant concentrations of ex-pats from the region.

The think-tank has been devised as a mechanism to review party policies, come up with ideas and put forward proposals and policy initiatives that can be adopted by a future Tory Government.

This includes a reassessment of key issues like healthcare, taxation, Britain in Europe, welfare reform and law and order.

“Our aim is to be an influential and respected voice that can formulate bold, new and radical ideas that are innovative and imaginative. We want to fill a gap that currently does not exist,” he declared.

Mr Scott said the think-tank wants to provide a strong voice for the region, for independent individuals who sympathise with the Conservative Party and for business people.

The think tank will also look at key areas such as British foreign policy in relation to the future of Gibraltar, the Falklands and other dependent territories.

Mr Scott said:

“As regards Gibraltar, we support the status quo and the right for Gibraltar to remain governed in the way they wish.”

He returns to UK at the end of the week.

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