Notes from a successful annual Cumbria Conservative Association conference.

Barrow and Furness association delegates joined colleagues from around the county - and beyond - for the annual Cumbria Conservatives conference.

Held at Rheged, the conference was well-attended, with delegates interested to hear insights on the Brexit process (and, of course, beyond) from Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry and from prisons minister and Penrith and the Border MP, Rory Stewart, who gave spirited support of the Prime Minister's position on the negotiations.

Fleur Butler, national deputy chairman of the Conservative Women's Organisation, gave a rousing talk on women in politics. The granddaughter of the celebrated former Conservative Foreign Secretary Rab Butler, Fleur is no stranger to politics, having spent many years as a parliamentary candidate - and now mentors new women through the parliamentary assessment board process.

"We need more women to come forward to stand as MPs for the Conservative Party," Fleur told the conference, urging more to step up the plate.

 She said: "It takes women an average of two years to decide to apply to become a parliamentary candidate - while men take about two hours!

"There are many women out there who would make great MPs; they just need the confidence to decide to go for it.

"A new pride in the idea of Conservative feminism can reassert our right-wing women as brilliant role models for modern women. Margaret Thatcher is one of our best icons of feminism - she broke through the glass ceiling. We need to reclaim our heroines and encourage more women to stand as candidates."

With help from Fleur and the CWO, I will be organising a street event in the constituency in the new year, encouraging more women in the area to take up the #AskHerToStand challenge.