Thursday, February 08, 2007
Yesterday's City Conservative Forum
At lunchtime yesterday I attended the City Conservative Forum. This is a monthly meeting where a Conservative MP comes across to the City to speak about a topical issue or issues close to their heart.
The speaker was meant to be Shailesh Vara MP, Shadow Leader of the House, but unfortunately he was asked to debate about the House of Lords Reform in the Commons. Luckily, James Gray MP came in his place. James was previously the Shadow Defence Minister and clearly the military is an issue close to his heart. However, James focused yesterday on the current Labour leadership crisis and I have to say I found him an interesting and friendly speaker.
During the Q&A after his talk, we discussed many issues relevant to Islington, as well as many other London boroughs. For example, we talked about methods to encourage individuals to return to employment, eg the Welfare to Work schemes, as well as the dreadful state of education in many parts of the country. This subject was very important to me as Islington is one of the worst-performing boroughs in the country for education. Quite rightly, Mr. Gray reinforced the Party's line on increased setting and streaming across the education sector, allowing children to learn within a group of their own abilities.
It wasn't until afterwards that I realised he was recently in a lot of recent press coverage. But he seems very passionate about the Conservative Party and has been reselected by the Party Association in North Wiltshire.