EXCLUSIVE: James Morton wants to Lead Tory Youth into 2015.

This week tbg caught up with James Morton, who is currently South East Regional Chairman as well as Surrey Area Chairman, to talk about his future plans within the Tory Youth wing and the wider Conservative Party.

Morton talks about his battle for selection to face the local Surrey Lib Dem Leader in County Council elections, his views on gay marriage and reveals to tbg who he is backing for Conservative Future Chairman.

tbg hears that you are hoping to run in the County Council elections later this year. Where do you want to stand, and how far along the selection process are you?

"The division is Dorking Hills which is one of the biggest patch in Surrey. If selected I would be running against the current leader of the Liberal Democrats in County Hall, Hazel Watson. I’m fairly confident of my chances against her due to my experience fighting Lib Dems when I was in the South West on a Parliamentary level and on a local level.

"I’ve had my interview with the executive and this weekend I will give a presentation to and be asked questions by members. The other applicants hoping to be selected include a current local councillor and an ex- County councillor; there is certainly competition there!"

Do you think being a young candidate is an advantage?

"Many may perceive that because I’m young I may be inexperienced. However, I have held numerous positions both in Conservative Future and the Conservative Party including sitting on Regional Party Boards both in the South East and the South West, and being a member of the Surrey, Devon and Cornwall Area Executives.

"Being young also means I have no baggage. I’ve got a clean slate; no record of office unlike the current and former councillors who I am hoping to be selected over. There is little that Watson could throw at me besides personal attacks. My family have a local business, I drink in the local pubs and was brought up within a 4 mile radius of the division – I know the locality perhaps better than Watson herself."

You are also standing again in the upcoming South East regional CF election. What do you feel have been your greatest achievements in this position to date? And what do you hope to achieve if re-elected?

"When I started in this position in December 2011 we had 53 branches across 51 constituencies and we now have 62; we had only 4 elected or appointed area chairmen and we now have 7 proactive area chairmen who all sit on area executives whereas we only had one sitting on an executive in December 2011.

"We also held no regional events or campaign days and had zero funds at regional level. Even by June 2012 we had held 2 regional events and 1 regional campaign day, as well as having money in a regional bank account. With any organisation at a regional level, there has to be close team work and the area Chairmen were not always on top of their game, none of the area chairmen from December 2011 were still in post by December 2012. We have a great team now which I really enjoy working with.

"Conservative Future is now fully entrenched in the region. We have turned it from a defunct, disreputable, thorn in the side of the Party to something that I am proud of: we are functional, holding events at all levels, bringing in new members and fit for purpose.

"However, the job’s not finished. By 2015 South East Conservative Future needs to be a serious campaigning force which will turn seats, particularly in Sussex and Hampshire. We achieved this in the South West in 2010. My regional management team can and will deliver this in the South East."

What’s your take on Cameron’s Europe speech this week?

JM: "It is right to give Britons the choice. A third of Parliament’s time is taken up debating and passing European law – this is fundamentally wrong. The status quo is not an option. Renegotiation is paramount but it needs to ensure we can keep European business in London and the wider UK.

I believe that we are stronger within the EU and that Europe is stronger with us in it. It’s now down to Cameron to deliver his promise.

What’s your view on gay marriage?

"It’s dangerous for politicians to get involved with religion. That said, I believe that religions should be able to have the freedom of choice and not constrained by legislation; this includes preventing gay marriage in any faith. It is right that there should be the ability for any faith to marry gay couples.

"However, an elected politician should not be deciding whether that ability should be there. With the Queen as Head of the Faiths, and signing every law, is this not a moral dilemma for her?

"It needs to be made clear that faiths don't have to marry gay couples but they can should they decide to. It has got to be down to individual faiths to decide and it is wrong for politicians to take that decision away from the leaders and practising members of that faith. We are just facilitating the path for faiths to decide.

"The people who oppose gay marriage shouldn’t be annoyed with politicians paving the way for the opportunity but instead be focussing their anger with the leaders of their faith if they were to allow it."

Are you backing anyone for any of the CF National Executive positions?

"Matt Robinson. He gets the way CF and the Party work. It’s also really clear that he is anti - negative campaigning; there has been no finger pointing directed at him. He’s got the utmost integrity. I’ve worked with him for the past year and I’ve never disagreed with him. He is the right pair of hands to lead CF for the next year as he has a unique perspective.

"Bare in mind that this is coming from the person who lost by 1 vote to him in the election for Regional College Chair!

"I am also backing Sarah-Jane Sewell and Rob Manning for the two Deputy Chair positions as well as Ben Corbridge for Best Practice Officer, I genuinely think that they are the right people."

Would you consider running for National Chairman?

"I’m only 24 so I’ve got 6 years left in CF to run. I will not rule out the opportunity of leading CF into 2015 General Election, in fact I would love to. However I will only run if a chairman is stepping down or if I think the person re-running has not done a good enough job.

"I intend on re-running for Regional College Chairman, I understand that I am one of the few regional chairmen who are running for a second term so I hope I stand a good chance based on my experience."