As in his business career, Colin’s political work might best be characterised as pioneering – a quality which has been recognised by David Cameron, Boris Johnson and Eric Pickles, and many of those who have worked alongside him.
Colin’s career in Conservative Party politics unfolds on two main fronts: his elected, public-facing work in local government, and his instrumental behind-the-scenes role in revitalising Tory policymaking on a national level.
The former would result in Colin’s leadership of the highest profile council in the UK: Westminster. The latter, over the course of 13 years, helped shape the foundations on which David Cameron’s modern party of government is built.
There has always been a seriousness of purpose and foresight driving Colin’s political work from its earliest days. 1997’s General Election loss exposed the toll that 18 years in government had taken upon the Tories, both as a party and in the eye of the electorate. With its MPs in the Commons decimated and the first in a string of new leaders on the opposition benches, the Conservative Party required new thinking and new blood.
He co founded Policy Exchange with Francis Maude to generate such new thinking. And it worked – recently described by The Guardian as a small-government thinktank influential with Cameronite Tories.
In 2001, Colin supported Michael Portillo’s leadership campaign. Though Portillo subsequently left frontline politics, the vision of a modern Conservative Party, and its progressive policies promoted during his campaign, in many ways laid the groundwork for David Cameron’s successful leadership bid just four years later.
‘Colin has led Westminster to record levels of public satisfaction and has broken new ground in public policy. His City Recovery programme created 3,000 new job and training opportunities after the recession hit London in 2009. His Family Recovery policies pioneered the government’s approach to helping problem families and the Tri Borough programme is leading the way to shared services’
Secretary of State
for Communities and Local Government
‘For me, Colin Barrow’s outstanding contribution to Westminster is his determination to drive up educational attainment for our pupils.’
Cllr Nickie Aiken
Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Community Protection