Letter of Resignation


To the Party Board of the Conservative Party, Conservative Party members and Conservative Future Members,

It is almost four years since I joined the Conservative Party. I was inspired to join by my dear friend Daniel, who had been a member of the Conservative Party since he was 12, and my former headmaster Tim Clark who had been a Conservative Parliamentary candidate standing against David Blunkett in 2005. Having studied the decline in party memberships in my A­level politics class, I found myself increasingly captivated by party politics as someone who had always been ‘political’ albeit in a non­partisan sense. At 17 years of age, I nailed my colours to the mast and joined the Conservative Party as the party I felt was best aligned to my values of rewarding hard work and embodying pride in our country and its traditions and values.

Shortly after receiving my membership card, I sat down on Facebook to search for Conservative Future groups. Plenty popped up and I joined as many as I could find. Everything looked so exciting and I soon formed friendships with fellow Lincolnshirians Thomas Ashton, Laura Goodliffe and James Hopkins who to this day I still call trusted friends. I will never be able to thank them enough for all that they have helped me with. Beyond social media, I soon got involved in my local association and branches, sitting on the executive, organising social action events and helping with campaigning. I soon rose up through the Conservative Future ranks after creating a successful rural branch in south Lincolnshire, then to the Lincolnshire area executive, and then on to the East Midlands regional executive in under four months.

It came to November of that year, just 9 months after I had joined the party that the national Conservative Future elections came to fruition. I felt I could bring something to the table, bringing in a fresh insight that I had acquired from time spent with leading in other organisations such as the Fairtrade Foundation and The Caravan Club amongst others. After rushing through my nomination an hour before close with Thomas Ashton and James Poland, I pursued a hard social media campaign. A month later I won with 66% for the vote. I was rather pleased that this was more votes than that of the newly elected National Chairman!

By and large, I have enjoyed my tenure and was honoured to be re­elected for a second term last year. I have campaigned for some fantastic candidates, organised events across the country and always sought to offer whatever support I can to members. By virtue of being a student my financial situation has meant my means have been limited and thus sometimes seen me restricted in my ability to travel as much as I would have liked, but I was pleased to get the chance to campaign in Newark and Portsmouth in the last two months alone.

Crucially, I have always tried to behave with the utmost integrity and honesty as well as being there to listen to those in need of help and guidance. To this day, I have not conducted a single negative attack on an opponent and of this record, I am very proud.

During my time on the National Executive, I have received some support that I shall never forget. In particular, I would like to thank my home association for giving me the platform and the unfaltering support to succeed and for the patrons club for their generosity. As Ben Howlett’s Deputy, I was able to flourish and as a team we achieved a great deal and I would like to thank him for helping me to grow as well as helping me to get opportunities I could never have dreamed of before. After all, how many people of this age can say they have dined and slept in Windsor Castle?!

Additionally, I cannot express enough gratitude for the support of the Conservative Party activists and elected members. John Hayes of my home constituency has been consistently supportive and I shall forever remain grateful for the support and guidance he has offered. I would also mention Chris Kelly, Rob Halfon and Rebecca Harris as having been particularly supportive. Rebecca always listened to me and helped me as well as offering frank advice and I think it is incredibly important for other young female party activists to have the guidance and support of a female member of parliament. I would also like to give huge thanks to Emma McClarkin MEP in the East Midlands who never failed to help my local social action projects, Dr Syed Kamall MEP, for listening and giving fantastic opportunities as well as Marina Yannakoudakis for being so welcoming and warm in her dealings with me. There are many more people who I need to thank, but I will thank them individually in person.

It is, however, with a mixture of relief and regret, that I must tender my resignation thirty one and a half months since the day I was elected to the position of Conservative Future National Deputy Chairman Membership. The next 10 months are incredibly important for me personally given that I am about to commence my third and final year of university, and I need to dedicate my time to my studies as well as seeking gainful employment after.

I am left concerned that a widely suggested candidate for national chairman has apparently been promoted using the Conservative Party’s Team2015 mailing lists and the Conservative Party social media accounts. I do not believe such conduct is in the spirit of democracy that our party has always stood for and I am not prepared to appear to condone this by remaining in office.

Furthermore, I worry for anyone else who wishes to run in what should be a fair democratic process. I myself have been besmirched in the most abhorrent fashion, and I have little doubt that other opponents would be subject to similar treatment from those who seemingly act with impunity. I can only hold my head high knowing that they are untrue (which I can only assume to be the reason they always opt to remain anonymous) as well as the fact I have never stooped to such depths myself. I do not leave a bitter person, although it does sadden me that such conduct is seemingly embraced by others.

I will naturally continue to support the Conservative Party in its endeavour to win a parliamentary majority in 2015 and in particular I look forward to working at a local level in my new home of Croydon to help secure the re­election of Gavin Barwell.

I do, however, wonder if I would have been quite as eager to get involved if I had seen the human bear baiting that takes place on social media now, as a seventeen year old searching for Conservative events on Facebook in 2011.

Yours Sincerely,

Sarah­Jane Sewell

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