David Cameron has said that there will be a referendum on our relationship with the European Union before the end of 2017. The Party Board has decided that the Conservative Party will not take an official position for one side or the other at the referendum and will not register as a participant in the campaign.
The Board has decided that no Party resources must be made available to either campaign or any third party participants in the campaign. Staff employed by Associations may campaign for either side in their own spare time and it will be the responsibility of the officers of West Berkshire Conservatives to ensure that between now and the end of the referendum staff continue to carry out their normal tasks in their normal working hours. Staff who wish to involve themselves more fully in the campaign must request unpaid leave of absence and have it approved by the Association officers. CCHQ will generally allow its staff to take unpaid leave of absence if they wish to work for one of the campaigns.
As any organisation campaigning on either side of the debate will be third parties, the Party Board demands that no information or data held by Associations shall be given to any campaigning organisation in any form. This applies to lists of helpers, members, officers and supporters whether held on computer in any form or on paper lists. This is not only to abide by the Party Board decision but also to comply with the Data Protection Act. Individual members of the Party may, of course, take part in the forthcoming campaign but they may only do so as individuals and must not suggest that they represent the Party nor must they make use of any party resource to which they have access.
Associations may wish to hold members’ meetings about the referendum to which both sides of the argument should be put but they must not hold public meetings.