EXCLUSIVE: James Baird Set to Run Against Dickinson For South East CF Chairman.

James Baird (center)

SURREY AREA Conservative Future (CF) Chairman James Baird has announced this morning that he will seek election to the South East regional CF chairmanship, taking the fight to Dickinson & Team Paterson, exclusively on TBG.

Speaking exclusively to TBG, James said - "I had calls from a few friends within hours of the announcement going out, asking me to stand for the South East regional chairmanship. Having given it some thought over the last week, I came to the conclusion that if those people think I am the right man for the job, I should give other members the chance to decide whether they feel the same.

"As Surrey area chairman, I’m already working with several other areas in the South East on some joint events, and innovative ways to make our respective areas flourish. All of these ideas and events could easily be scaled up to cover the whole of the region."

Baird has apparently already attracted endorsements from a number of local members. Runnymede & Weybridge CF member Harry Wilkinson, a keen #RoadTrip2015 activist, said - "Surrey CF has undoubtedly gone from strength to strength thanks to James Baird’s tireless work as area chairman, who would certainly apply the same resolve to the position of South East regional CF chairman. The South East needs someone with a proven campaigning record in the run up to the crucial election in 2015 and in James Baird we have just the man to lead from the front."

James has certainly got the campaign experience to back up his bid, having first joined the party in 2004 whilst at university, in the run up to the 2005 general election, where he was a key activist on Ben Wallace’s campaign in Lancaster & the Wyre (pre-boundary changes), and helped Ben to achieve a 4,652 vote swing to take the seat from the Labour incumbent.

Surrey sources tell TBG that James has been active campaigning locally in Surrey, working on campaigns at all three levels of local government (County, Borough / District, and Parish Councils). He was also involved in Sam Gyimah’s parliamentary campaign in 2010, and campaigned hard for Boris’ re-election in 2012. He also campaigned actively in the European elections in both 2009 and this year when he was also a local candidate, losing narrowly to UKIP by 57 votes but pushing the incumbent Lib Dem into third place.

One CF'er told TBG - "With a history like his, it’s easy to see why it isn’t only CF members who have been vocal in their support of James."

Wider party Surrey area deputy chairman, and South East MEP candidate from this year’s elections, Graham Knight said, "James brings a brand of enthusiasm, commitment and intelligence to CF that’s encouraging. His ambition and strategic thinking points the way towards the future of our Party."

When TBG asked about his manifesto, Baird said - "I have a number of ideas for the region, centred around increasing membership, and making sure that all members know what’s going on. In such a critical year, we all need to do as much campaigning as we can, to ensure we have a Conservative majority when we wake up on Friday 8th May next year. But good campaigning means we need to keep things fun as well, so I would also be organising a number of region-wide social events."

Asked when he will publish his manifesto, James replied - “I’m still confirming that a couple of my ideas are viable, so watch this space for more news!"