THE Majorca branch of British Conservatives Abroad has a new chairman after Peter Newey's extended “tour-of duty” came to an end on Wednesday.
Newey, who will be President of the branch for the next three years, has been succeeded by Ronald Gross, a company director based in the Club de Mar in Palma. Peter Newey said yesterday that he has thoroughly enjoyed the past four years as chairman, he is the second-longest serving chairman of the Majorca branch, and that he has managed to bring about some important changes. He said that the committee has managed to consolidate membership numbers and donations to central office have risen year-on-year. “I also implemented the new party constitution introuced by William Hague,” he said.
The normal term for chairman is three years, under Hague's constitution, but as there was no suitable candidate after Newey's term expired, he served another year. However he says that an ideal candidate has come along in the form of Richard Gross. “He's a formidable character and will bring his strengths and weaknesses to the job. I think he will boost the profile of the branch,” Newey said yesterday. The past four years have seen some heavyweight Conservative guests come to the island to address members, the most recent being the Rt Hon Virginia Bottomley MP and her husband. Anne Widdecombe came to meet and speak to the branch two years ago and a number of Conservative party “grandees” and Euro MP's have visited including Philip Bushill-Matthews who writes for the Bulletin. The Branch of British Conservatives Abroad held its 15th annual general meeting at Restaurant La Vileta on Wednesday and elected a number of new commitee members and officers. “The meeting was attended by approx half of the membership and lasted only 35 minutes but in that time some major changes took place notably the election of new officers,” said Newey. A new President, a new Chairman, a new Deputy Chairman, a new Treasurer were all nominated and duly elected. Peter Newey becomes The President, Mr Ronald Gross was elected Chairman, Mrs Pat Stone was elected Deputy Chairman, Mr Lloyd Barr was elected as Treasurer taking over from Brian Skitt who like the other officers had completed three years or more in office. Brian Skitt also spoke of the rule changes which came into force last November - the most notable of which is the introduction of the new name, with the word British being added. The name is now British Conservatives Abroad and the Chairman has to be a British Subject. Other changes are largely cosmetic. The New Chairman, Ronald Gross, thanked the members for allowing him this position and spoke of his commitment to Conservative politics, and this Branch. He spoke too about how he hopes to take the Branch in a different direction and promised some hard work for the committee. He is joined on the committee by his wife Ruth, the couple live in Illetas. A number of Members of the Branch paid tribute to the outgoing Chairman, Peter Newey, for all his hard work and dedication and for uniting the Branch through difficult times. Tributes were also paid to the work of Michael and Margaret McManaman who have been committee members for over seven years holding a number of Officer positions. Newey said yesterday that, despite the general election defeats, the Branch members “are up-beat and looking forward to the new challenges ahead.” “I think there will be some big changes in the Branch here in Majorca and some big changes in the party in Britain. As president, I will be on hand to advise and be advised, but I take a back seat. Richard is now the driving force behind the Majorca Branch,” he added. Their next event is a Mid Summer Dinner in June, Details are available from Peter Newey on 971 670 840.