Key conference role for Essex Tory

PLAYING a starring role at the Conservative Party conference will be Essex county councillor Steve Castle, who is this year's chairman.It's one of the highest honours which can be bestowed on a member of the voluntary wing of the party, and Mr Castle has been involved in the months of planning which goes into the staging of the annual conference.

By Graham Dines

PLAYING a starring role at the Conservative Party conference will be Essex county councillor Steve Castle, who is this year's chairman.

It's one of the highest honours which can be bestowed on a member of the voluntary wing of the party, and Mr Castle has been involved in the months of planning which goes into the staging of the annual conference.

Although not chairing every session of the four day event, he'll be in charge for the opening civic reception and the closing afternoon when David Cameron will be making his first speech as party leader.


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Mr Castle, who is 42, has been a member of the ruling board of the Conservative Party for four years. “This year's conference will be special for us. We are now ahead in the opinion polls and David Cameron has given us the confidence to go on the next General Election and win it.”

At the end of the conference, he will be presented with the traditional hand bell, but he says he has no intention of ringing it - unlike Lord Hailsham who, unwisely as it turned out, rang the traditional gift to announce he was ready, willing and able to succeed Harold Macmillan as Conservative leader in 1963.

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Mr Castle was the Tory parliamentary candidate in Ipswich in 1997. He is Essex county council's portfolio holder for education, sport, and the Thames Gateway, and takes the lead role in the region for preparations for the 2012 Olympic Games.

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