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By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
THE 20th AGM of the Majorcan Branch of Conservatives Abroad is going to be held this morning.
But, not only will it be the branch's first Annual General Meeting since the Conservative Party returned to power, albeit in coalition with the LibDems, more importantly it is going to mark the end of an era.

Today, Peter Newey, who has been at the helm of the branch as either Chairman or President, for the past decade, will step down from the committee paving the way for Gay Niblett to take over as Chairman.

Niblett, who has lived on Majorca for over 40 years, told the Bulletin this week that he and the branch want this morning to be about Peter and thanking him for all the extremely hard and dedicated work he has done over the past year. “WE'RE GOING TO MISS HIM” “The Annual Convention of Conservatives Abroad which was held here in Majorca really was the pinnacle of all that Peter has worked for and achieved over the past years. “He just never stopped and we're going to miss him. “It's ironic, no sooner than we return to power, Peter has to step down from the committee,” Niblett added.
But, the in-coming chairman also praised Newey for the high caliber of guest speakers he has brought to the island including the former party Chairman Eric Pickles who launched the Conservative Party's international election campaign in Majorca in March last year. “And, apart from all this, Peter's a great guy and I think everyone will want to thank him on Thursday,” Niblett added. Peter Newey, who arrived in Majorca with a wealth of political experience under his belt said yesterday that he has no regrets over stepping down in accordance with the party statutes.

Prior to moving to the island, Newey was the Constituency Chairman for Sutton Coldfield where the now Lord Norman Fowler was the Conservative Member of Parliament.

Fowler not only served as Chairman of the party but was also a key member of the Thatcher government responsible for a number of Secretary of State portfolios. “Ten years is a long time and I don't want to overstay my welcome. “But, I will remain a very active member of the branch. I will always be on the end of the phone if any of the new comers on the committee need any help or advice and I will be doing my best to support the social and fund raising events,” he told the Bulletin on the eve of his stepping down yesterday. “IT HASN'T BEEN EASY” “It hasn't been easy and it will not be easy for the new committee because being in power will bring new challenges and problems,” he added.
Peter also admitted that when he first took over, two years after the late and great Donald Gaffney stepped down after an 11-year stint as Chairman “I had two very big shoes to fill and numerous problems to resolve which had arisen during the two-year interim between me taking over after Gaffney's departure. “But, with the excellent support of the committee I believe I am handing over a branch which is in good solid shape, financially it is sound and the membership numbers are not looking bad,” he added.

And, while he believes that Conservatives Abroad here in Majorca need some fresh blood, he is confident that the fresh blood Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy, Nick Clegg, have brought to the new coalition government in the UK was desperately needed and is going to work. “These guys are fresh with no political prejudices and apart from them wanting the coalition to work, the country wants it to work and I am sure it will. “I'm not in favour of coalitions but I think we've entered into a new and exciting time in British politics when it was all so stale and exhausted,” Newey added.