Tory party members promised say

By Alex Stevenson

Grassroots Conservatives have been promised an increased role in the development of party policy.

Chairman Sayeeda Warsi, kicked off the first autumn Tory conference with the party in power for 14 years by announcing the reintroduction of the Conservative Policy Forum.

Tensions within the Tory party about the compromises being made by ministers with their Liberal Democrat coalition partners have already sparked concern.

With the policies agreed in the coalition’s programme for government slowly being completed the Conservatives want to establish a framework capable of maintaining the party’s strong voice.

The Lib Dems achieve this by giving their delegates a strong voice at the party conference. Denied this opportunity, Tory party members are instead being offered the chance to contribute to the policy-making process individually, in groups, through MPs and within the new forum.

“Our party has always been at its best when we develop policy together,” Baroness Warsi said.

“We want to harness the talents of all of our members to help identify the future challenges that Britain will face.

“And that’s why, conference, today I can announce that our reinvigorated Conservative Policy Forum is back up and running and that we will now be reaching out to hear your views.”

The Tory party conference continues until Wednesday in Birmingham.