On 21 July 2016 West Ham Conservatives were delighted to receive James Cleverly MP for a well-attended dinner at Pepenero Ristorante & Pizzeria, a few minutes' walk from Canning Town station.
James is a new-intake Conservative MP, representing the Essex seat of Braintree. Prior to entering Parliament, James was a member of the London Assembly for Bexley and Bromley from 2008-2016 and led the Conservative group for two years.
Born in London, James reached the rank of Major in the British Army, and is still a reservist in the 1st (UK) Armoured Division. Although he has only been an MP for just over a year, James has become a vocal and popular member of the backbenches, and most recently campaigned for Vote Leave during the referendum campaign, during which he highlighted the terrible effect of the Common Agricultural Policy on African farmers.
After a very enjoyable buffet dinner, James gave a good speech about his experiences, having started his political career in an inner London borough (Lewisham) like ours and knowing the challenges all too well.
James said at the end of the night, "It's fantastic to see so many Conservatives in such a traditionally tough area and it fills me with hope for the future."