Adam Afriyie
MP for Windsor
Conservatives are social reformers

As a long-standing advocate of social mobility I was cheered by the message at this years’ conference.

The Prime Minister laid out the moral mission for Conservatives over the next Parliament in his keynote address.

The message was clear and unequivocal: if you want something done about the challenges facing society, then the Conservatives are the only party for you.

As Conservatives, we are determined to tackle the complex social and economic issues of our time. Whether it’s housing, prisons, family stability, the care system or social mobility, we need to get to work, even if other politicians and political parties are reluctant to express their views through fear of being exposed as out of kilter with the sentiments of modern Britain.

The Conservative party has a proud heritage of social reformers from Disraeli’s “One Nation” conservatism to Macmillan’s housebuilding and Thatcher’s reshaping of the economy. We have a strong tradition of reforming and strengthening society. It should be no different today.

Conservatives for Britain will get the best deal for Britain in Europe

ConforBrit logoI am proud to be a supporter of Conservatives for Britain, a group set up to push for fundamental reform of Britain’s relationship with the European Union.

Conservatives for Britain will assess whether renegotiation achieves fundamental reform of our EU membership. If the EU refuses to change and provide a sustainable future for its member states, then we will recommend that Britain becomes an outward-looking, globally focussed nation that trades with Europe and the rest of the world from outside of the European Union.

The changes that we need are:

  • Border control. As the crisis in the Mediterranean and at Calais is showing, EU policy is causing chaos. Britain needs to manage immigration in a sustainable way that benefits British citizens and aspiring migrants who want to contribute to our country.
  • Free trade. We should have the ability to make trade deals with friendly nations all around the globe to bring prices down and boost British exports.
  • Less regulation. The EU has imposed a Kafkaesque system of incomprehensible regulations that kill small businesses, to the benefit of multinational corporations and their swish legal teams. Regulations must be cut and only apply to those businesses exporting to EU countries.
  • Parliamentary sovereignty. The European Commission remains distant and is appointed by back door deals, where political elites club together to benefit themselves. British law laid down by a sovereign Parliament, made up of accountable politicians, must remain the law of the land.
  • An end to “ever closer union”. The British public wants a friendly, trading relationship with our European partners, not to hand over political powers to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. We need to act in our national interest, opting out of more integration.

The EU, as it stands, is broken. It’s too protectionist, bureaucratic and undemocratic. It needs to allow its member states more freedom to trade as they choose, a democratic process of holding decision-makers to account and assurances that Britain will not be dragged down the rabbit hole of further integration.

If you agree that the EU needs serious reform, then sign up to Conservatives for Britain to join a wide movement of activists, supporters and representatives who are working hard to get the best deal for Britain.

Sign up here. Follow Conservatives for Britain on Twitter here.

800 Years on: Magna Carta remains a proud Windsor legacy

Magna CartaOn a summer’s day in June 1215, after days of negotiation, the royal imprimatur was applied to a document that would underpin the history of democratic evolution across the globe.

It was sealed in at Ankerwycke which is today part of the Windsor constituency and took the form of a typically British document, the result of compromise and competing demands, free from hasty radicalism but which nevertheless formed the foundations of the free society we live in to this day.

The rule of law, trial by a jury of peers, a limit on executive power and protection from imprisonment without trial were all first laid down on that day in 1215. And these guarantees were not easily won.

The European Arrest Warrant

Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many UK citizens were subject to a European arrest warrant in 2013-14.

And to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many European Arrest Warrant requests levied against British citizens have been refused in (a) 2011-12, (b) 2012-13 and (c) 2013-14.

Karen Bradley (Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime): In 2013-14, the National Crime Agency received 7,881 arrest warrants from other EU Member States, of which 132 (or 1.67%) were issued in respect of UK nationals.

In the financial year 2013-14, ten Arrest Warrants from Member States for British nationals were refused by the courts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Information is not held for the financial years 2011-12 and 2012-13.

Financial year 2013-14
Final court decisions on Arrest Warrants issued by Member States for the surrender of British Nationals 46
Arrest Warrants for British nationals that were refused by the court 10
Arrest Warrant for British nationals refused as a proportion of total of final court decisions. 22%

Of the total number of surrenders from England, Wales and Northern Ireland between April 2009 and March 2014, over 95% (4,855 of 5,072) of people surrendered were foreign nationals and just over 4.3% (217 of 5,072) were British nationals. By way of comparison, in non-Arrest Warrant cases over a similar period 40% of those extradited have been British nationals.

“Jobs for the boys” is making this Government too big

It’s time to fulfil the promise of smaller government – and temporary ministers can help.

In our 2010 manifesto we were committed to reducing the size of government. And yet, three years on, it only seems to be growing in size and expanding in reach.  To me, this expansion is deeply worrying and rather perplexing.

Starting at the top, there are currently 31 people who attend Cabinet on a regular basis. Having spent more than 20 years starting and growing businesses, I cannot ever recall chairing a company board meeting with more than a handful of directors and executives in the room.  Any more people and it simply wouldn’t work; it wouldn’t be effective.  In my time as a Governor of the Museum of London, we would seldom have more than a dozen or so active participants in a board meeting; even in some of the world’s largest companies you’d be unlikely to see more than 15 people.

Of course the government is not a private business. But there is no doubt that the infrastructure that governs us is growing. According to a report by the Public Administration Select Committee, in 1900 there were 60 ministers, by 1950 this had increased to 81, and by January 2010 the figure was 119. The number of ministers below Cabinet rank increased much more substantially, from 41 in 1900 to 96 in 2010. And remember, there is now devolved government in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, so logically the figures should have dropped – but no, they’ve just kept on going up.