Our Principles & Values - Fundamental to our approach is a deeply Conservative philosophy as to the empowerment of disabled people - ensuring everybody has the freedoms, opportunities and support to live their lives, in the way they choose.
The CDG is an independent organisation made up of UK Conservative Party members from across the ability spectrum who want to see a more inclusive society for disabled people.
Through our activities, influencing and various networks we aim to create a bridge between the Conservative Party and the disability sector and the wider disabled community — supporting disabled people to inform policy, and promoting a better understanding of the Conservative approach to disability issues. An approach which believes in individual choice, opportunity for all, freedom and community.
Leadership - The leadership of the CDG compromises of an Executive elected every year from our membership, which meets regularly and is responsible for the overall direction of the organisation and its priorities for the year - and years - ahead. To find out more about the strong and dynamic team of people who form the Executive of the CDG, including our highly committed Parliamentary members, click here.
What We Do:
- Colloquium - Every year we hold our flagship Colloquium event with representatives from across the disability and charity sectors, Conservative Parliamentarians, local Councillors, Party members and many others on a key issue of public policy. Following the 2019 General Election the Colloquium will take place in May 2020 and will focus on the commitment made in the Conservative Party Manifesto to produce a new 'National Disability Strategy.' In 2018 the event was held in the Houses of Parliament and we focussed on the 'Power of the Purple £' with the keynote address from the then Minister for Disabled People, Health & Work - Sarah Newton MP. This was followed by two separate panel discussions consisting of distinguished representatives from the disability sector - from The Business Disability Forum (BDF), Flying Disabled and Disability Rights UK. This event was kindly sponsored by Dr Mustafa Mohammed.
The other panel consisted of Conservative Parliamentarians from both Houses, including The Rt. Hon. Maria Miller MP, Lord Shinkwin and Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, pictured in the image above. Former Vice-Chair of the Party with responsibility for Communities - Rehman Chishti MP - also addressed the event. More details can be found here.
- Annual Party Conference - In September 2018 the CDG hosted a high profile fringe event as part of an active presence at the annual Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham. Our fringe event focussed on 'How do we make society more inclusive for people with hidden disabilities?' and included a distinguished panel with representatives from across the disability sector - including Bipolar UK, Epilepsy Society and Ambitious About Autism - local government and the Minister for Disabled People, Health & Work. More information can be found here.
At the 2019 Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, the CDG hosted a fringe event on Tourism & Hospitality and asked: 'How do we make the UK the world's most accessible tourist destination for disabled people?' More information can be found here.
We are also working with the party on a number of initiatives - particularly Helen Grant MP, the former Vice-Chair of the Party for Communities - to improve the overall accessibility of the Party Conference to make it more inclusive for disabled people, both in the main conference hall and for those accessing it remotely.
The CDG also supports our colleagues in the 'Scottish Conservative Disability Group (SCDG)' - led by Jeremy Balfour MSP - and participated in the SCDG fringe event they hosted at the Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party Conference in Aberdeen in May 2019 on the theme of employment opportunities for disabled people.
We also work closely with Mark Isherwood AM, Shadow Minister for Communities & Local Government, for the Welsh Conservative Party in the National Assembly for Wales.
- Influencing Policy - The CDG also reaches out to the disability sector and its representatives and works collaboratively with our networks of members, Conservative Councillors, MPs, Peers, Ministers, MSPs, AMs and Vice-Chairs of the Party to influence the direction of party policy. The Executive of the CDG listens regularly to the views of its members and engages with the wider disability sector in the fields of campaigns and policy.
For example following the 2017 General Election the CDG made a distinctive representation to the Eric Pickles' General Election Review 2017 and as a consequence of our representation we secured a number of recommendations in relation to disability. In particular we welcomed the recommendations listed below and are working with the Conservative Party to see these - and other proposals - implemented and enhanced:
Recommendation 10 - The Manifesto should be produced in accessible formats, as soon after the main launch as possible.
Recommendation 51 - The Party should strengthen the bursary scheme available to candidates to encourage more...disabled candidates to stand for Parliament.
Recommendation 81 - The Party should consider refreshing the website... The website should be fully accessible.
During the 2019 General Election the Conservative Party produced accessible versions of the Manifesto in BSL, braille, audio and easy-read. Further information available here.
- Roundtable Events - The CDG also holds roundtable events to bring together key policy makers, representatives from the disability sector and Conservative Parliamentarians to discuss key issues. In November 2018 the CDG held a roundtable event in Parliament when we launched our report on the 'Power of the Purple £' to promote 'Purple Tuesday'. The event was hosted by our President - The Rt. Hon. Maria Miller MP - and was attended by the Minister for Disabled People, Health & Work - Sarah Newton MP - the CDG's former Parliamentary link for the Commons, and the CDG's Parliamentary link for the Lords - Lord Shinkwin. The event also included people from across the disability sector with key speakers from Scope and the Ignition Brewery & Community Tap in Lewisham, London, a social enterprise which employs people with a learning disability.
- Supporting Disabled Candidates - The CDG works to encourage and support disabled people to consider standing as candidates for the Party in local government, devolved and UK Parliamentary elections and provides advice and assistance to achieve this goal, including the promotion of the newly re-established 'Access to Elected Office Fund' - EnAble - for disabled candidates, administered on behalf of the Government by Disability Rights UK (DRUK). We are also working with some academics who have been commissioned by the Minister for Women & Equalities to look at the barriers to elected office faced by disabled people.
- Communications - The CDG communicates with its members and supporters via our members' events and a newly relaunched regular newsletter was introduced for our members and supporters in December 2018 - this includes regular updates on our latest activity and progress on our agreed priorities. Use our contact form by clicking here to sign up. We are also have a presence on social media and send regular updates from our Twitter Account @The_C_D_G
Join Us - Our membership is growing rapidly with new members from across the country and if you would like to join the organisation - which includes members from across the disability spectrum - and contribute to our success, please email us at email@example.com or download a form from the 'Get Involved' section of the CDG website.
Please note to join the CDG individuals must also be members of the UK Conservative Party and/or the Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party, and/or the Welsh Conservative Party/Plaid Geidwadol Cymru.