On March 29th 2023, the newly elected Chair of the European Movement UK, Mike Galsworthy hosted a special members meeting. During the meeting Mike outlined his vision for the future of the European Movement UK, of our wider pro-European movement, and of politics in the UK.
Mike opened the meeting by giving a quick update on everything he did during his first week as chair, this included:
Assisting in the recruitment of over 500 new members, which in turn helped us increase the movement to over 18,000 members.
Using his mass twitter following to help increase EMUK twitter from 130k to 140k followers.
Encouraging supporters of the movement to give over £5,000 to our Crowdfunder through his fundraising efforts.
Lining up interviews with The New European and POLITICO in an attempt to increase EMUKs reach in the press.
Chairing his first meeting as Chair, a mere couple of hours after the announcement was made on Wednesday 22nd March.
Meeting with Anne Bird CEO of EMUK for a handover meeting on Friday 24th March to get all the information he needs to serve members of EMUK.
Meeting with EMUK staff on Monday 27th March and answering their questions on his plans for the future of the movement;
And chairing his first executive committee meeting on Tuesday 28th March.
After outlining his first week as Chair, Mike went on to stress the cross-party nature of the European Movement and what he is doing, specifically with Conservative Europeans, to work on making sure everyone feels safe and heard in the movement. This includes speaking with Dominic Grieve and gaining knowledge and expertise from him.
Mike was then quick to bring up both Patience Wheatcroft and Tom Brake, his competitors for the position of chair, and informed all members that he will work to make sure they are involved in the movement in the future, as promised during his speech in the hustings.
Once Mike discussed his first week as chair and his short-term plans for EMUK he went on to briefly highlight the success of local branch Leeds for Europe and their petition ‘urging the Government to hold a Public Enquiry into the impact of Brexit’ which has now exceeded over 135,000 petition signatures. It is a flagship example of what all local groups can do to bring attention and in turn grow the movement.
After Mike outlined his vision for the future of the European Movement and congratulated Leeds for Europe on their efforts, members joined him for a Q&A session.
Some of the questions are included here:
Rhiannon Barrar – Wales for Europe Director and National Council member
Q: When we reach campaigning for a General Election, what will the EMUK stance be about endorsing candidates or not? We’re cross-party and I want to know before what the recommendation is
A: There are risks going through a General Election given our cross-party nature. But there are also opportunities. I want to tap into the National Council to help set up a business plan for what EMUK can do for the next General Election.
But my thoughts are that this will include putting together a risk register from our own knowledge of the risks to EMUK and a list of opportunities during an election period. For the most part, it’s not a good idea to pick individuals to back due to cross-party nature. But we do want to go into an election with a good cohesive field and come back out again. So, in short, I will speak to the National Council and Exec to get their thoughts on this too.
Jon Hill – Branch chair of Cotswolds for Europe
Q: When we come up to General Election, surely the strategy should be to remove this Conservative Government, not alienate all Conservatives. If this government is reelected, we’re in a bad place. What sort of conversations will we have to have with moderate Conservatives to transform the party?
A: It is fundamental to get the Conservatives back to their Churchill origins, which includes the empowerment of citizens, empowerment of trade, security of the continent, so during the next general election, a lot of power lies with the activists themselves.
During a General Election, it is questionable how much EMUK can direct activities on what to do in each constituency. However, I would encourage you to trust your judgement and to dissipate into your constituencies and pick up relations with local parties and work on that basis.
When the General Election kicks off, Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, etc. will unload their war chests and have lots of activists. Trying to go toe to toe with major parties during a General Election is debatable, so we need to try and set up the right conditions before the General Election happens so we can get the results we want at the end. In the meantime, we need to get a plan ready on how we will tackle the next General Election, which to me includes working all together as a cohesive team rather than jumping to conclusions.
Scott Daniells - EMUK Staff Member
Q: Membership has quadrupled in size since I become a member. What’s the opportunity to seize on that passion of growth:
A: I want to get the membership to the size where it's an engine behind communities all over the country. Where we’re big enough to have the resources to help out local groups with finances, promotions, local events, responsiveness.
I really feel like I can build a membership here and I know EM is supporting me. I want us to have enough juice in the tank to have regional managers like we have in Wales and Scotland. People in our team that connect regionally and that means having a person that really gets what they’re about in each area. Working on a regional level, getting events going, cross fertilizing. l want enough size and power to be able to do that level of work which will be unique.
For those members who missed the meeting you can watch the full Q&A here.
And if you have any burning questions for Mike, feel free to send them over to [email protected]
Ultimately, the meeting was an opportunity for Mike to meet EMUK members and demonstrate his dedication and accessibility to all involved in the movement.
Mike guaranteed that this would not be the only opportunity to speak with him, in fact he wants to host many more meetings/ webinars of this sort where members can come to him directly with their questions.
In the meantime, he urged everyone who wants to get more involved with the movement to:
Donate to EMUKs Crowdfunder
Get your friends and family to join the movement
Sign the Leeds for Europe government petition
Watch the full meeting here