I was a member of the party for 50 years and have been Chairman of two associations as well as an area deputy chairman. It became very obvious that under David Cameron, chairmen and area and regional officers were ignored if what they said was not to his liking. Elected national officers seemed more concerned with their status than telling DC what members were saying. The SSM issue was a real eye opener as two thirds of the population and a much higher percentage of party members were opposed to it. It remains the case that the majority of conservative MPs are against it. What politician with any sense would drive through a policy not in any manifesto and against his party with the result that a membership of 134000 has dropped to between 80000 and 90000. Equally to tell all proper Christians, Moslems and orthodox Jews and many others, that effectively he is right and they are wrong is insultingly arrogant.

I remain a conservative but will not return to membership until a new leader appears who does not surround himself at CCHQ with London oriented advisers who seem to know nothing and care less about what party members think and feel. No amount of soothing words (combined with a refusal to insert conscience clauses in controversial legislation) can remedy this moral vacuum.

We need a party chairman who represents the party and not the PM and a recognition that members, officers and many MP’s and professional party workers are angry and frustrated. The party machine has ceased to represent members and is utterly undemocratic.

Grassroots Conservatives is an excellent way of giving voice to what conservatives around the country are concerned about. Whilst we welcome good economic news and will work hard to elect a Conservative government in 2015 we want a real change of attitude at the centre of the party.

Edmund Costelloe Former Chairman Somerton & Frome Conservative Association