On Friday 2 February 2018, the Staplehurst Branch of MWCA held a fabulous drinks and canapés party with guest speaker Rt Hon Damian Green MP for Ashford.  Damian spoke to us all for 10-15 minutes then took a Q&A session which went on for a good 20 minutes.  He was charming, eloquent and provided us with knowledgable and helpful answers.  We were all comforted by his traditional Conservative values and beliefs.

The event was well attended, in fact full to capacity.  We had capped it at 40 guests though we managed to squeeze in 45.  Our Staplehurst Councillors, Louise Brice and John Perry generously supplied the champagne and the evening ran smoothly.  The entrance fee and usual raffle and prize draw helped keep us afloat until the next event.  Watch this space.




but in a nutshell:

The MWCA are so proud of our own amazing general election results which saw Helen Grant gain the largest ever majority in this seat, just short of 18,000 back in June (Kent Messenger photo)

Why did she do so much better than Conservatives in many other districts? The way she supports her constituents and does her job in Parliament, of course, but also the fine job we all did campaigning for her! Enough self congratulation, there’s work to do!

Helen was previously sharing her constituency office with another business, but recently took sole occupation which has allowed her team to operate there every weekday, and weekends when needed.

Who are MWCA?

As you probably know, the Association (MWCA) is made up of a Management Team, who twice yearly report to the Executive Committee and we, in turn, select our MP and our Councillors. It is therefore important to keep up good relations with all sides.

MWCA is affiliated to the West Kent Conservative Group, an umbrella which keeps us safe, tight, legal, advised and constantly on our toes.

We have a most amazing, happy, hardworking team. Let me introduce you.


Agent: Jon Botten

Campaign advisor: Andrew Kennedy



Chairman/fundraising: Me (Andrea Thorpe)

Deputy Chair Political: Alan Chell

Treasurer: Steve McLoughlin



We have an excellent, informal, communications team which includes guest appearances from all corners of MBC/KCC too! We like to keep in touch with everyone and we aim for a united front delivering a united message for the whole of Maidstone – we listen to everyone.

Most important! We are in the process of resurrecting our website. The idea being to keep it updated and informed on a regular basis. It will provide links to membership and MP’s own website. If you can’t access it just now, don’t worry, its work in progress.


Chairman: Alan Chell (Deputy Chairman Political)

Committee members: Andrea Thorpe (Chairman MWCA) John Wilson, Brian Moss, Sean Holden, Cllr John Perry (Leader of MBC Conservative Group), Ravinder Kalsi

(N.B. IT IS NOT TOO LATE TO BECOME A COUNCILLOR! – please get in touch)

All of us are committed to the Conservative Party and representing all members to the best of our ability. We are all available by email, telephone should anyone with to discuss any issues. You can use my email at the foot of this letter as a point of contact at any time.

Recent by-election – North Ward

Sadly we received the resignation of Mike Hemsley, our Conservative councillor for North ward. The situation was pounced upon by our Lib Dem friends who, rather than wait until the May local elections, predictably called an early by-election. However, we were just as prepared and an emergency selection procedure secured the hard-working and highly capable Cheryl Taylor-Maggio as our candidate. Equally hard-working and capable Alan Chell set up and ran a very professional campaign, working closely alongside the assiduous Jeff Tree. This approach was a joint agreement with West Kent, allowing them to deal with their other priorities.

We had to move fast and indeed we did, with many people turning up to help leaflet, canvass and get out the vote. Cheryl came a healthy second to the Lib Dems, with Labour in third place. The seat was taken on the back of a high general election turnout in 2015 but unfortunately local apathy returned with just 22% of people turning out to vote, producing a similar result to other town centre by-elections of late.

Call for candidates

Alongside the surprise call for the by-election we have been actively seeking candidates for the Borough Council elections in May. At the time of writing, we are well on the way to a grand election campaign for the Conservatives to regain control of the Lib-Dem held Borough Council in May. Please email me if you can help or have any desires to be a Councillor, we are flexible and can make space for any excellent contenders.

What else have we been doing?

Apart from our MP’s many local activities, what has the Association been doing? Organising social events, keeping an updated calendar, campaigning the North Ward, emailing, phoning, texting and responding to all queries on a daily basis, increasing our membership, fundraising and getting prepared for the May 2018 elections. We are all constantly in contact with each other and open to be in contact with all members at any time.

Alan Chell (Deputy Chairman Political) attended a most helpful conference in November organised by CCHQ. He gained invaluable experience in setting up social media, vote source and all other applications we use in gaining members to the party. Which is what its all about! Members and fundraising.

Social events and fundraisers

We have several social events looming and hope you are all able to attend, if not all, then some of them:

Events arranged at the time of writing:

  • Lord Digby Jones special lunch at midday, Monday 8 January, Great Danes Hotel, Ashford Road, Maidstone, ME17 1RE
  • Damian Green drinks reception, at 1830 Friday 2 February at Exhurst Manor Staplehurst, details to follow.
  • MWCA AGM, Friday 9 March, location and time TBC

We are all looking forward to meeting as many members as possible at any of the above events. To book a place contact me, or go to



Maidstone & The Weald Conservative Association

(constructive criticism always welcome, destructive comments will be diverted via my direct line to the PM)

07759 407576 mobile – available at any time except between 1902-1915 weekday nights