Grassroots Plot to “Democratise” Tory Party and “Seize Control” From CCHQ

An insurgent group of grassroots Tories is launching a campaign to “democratise” the party and “seize back control” for Conservative members in Manchester next week. The “Campaign for Conservative Democracy” is aiming to wrest back influence from CCHQ, which it condemns as “autocratic” and “over-centralised” and argues has “undermined, overruled, ignored or destroyed” Conservative associations across the country. The group is demanding CCHQ listens to the policy opinions of Tory members to “help avoid the disastrous manifesto mistakes in the recent General Election”. They are seeking a directly-elected Tory party chairman “who would represent members’ views to the government”. Its founder, Brexiter Tory MEP David Campbell-Bannerman says:

“The Conservative Party has taken its core membership for granted for far too long. Local associations should be made the boss again. There has been a complete centralisation of power away from local associations and the relationship between the two has been shown to be highly unsatisfactory, undemocratic and one sided. You can’t run a party from one London office. CCHQ has often begun to resemble the remote and unaccountable European Union in structure and inclination.”

This sort of criticism of CCHQ will resonate with Tory associations. For years grassroots Tories have felt sidelined by CCHQ in terms of candidate selections, campaigning, policy and the general direction of the party. This new campaign reminds Guido of the Labour left’s similarly-named Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, which Corbyn, McDonnell and Tony Benn used for decades to lobby the Labour leadership on behalf of their left-wing grassroots. Expect Tory MPs on the right to endorse the group and use it to pile pressure on CCHQ and Theresa May…

The group is launching on Monday of conference – details here if you want to go – with a mock election for party chairman. Eyes will be rolling in CCHQ at the thought of Tory members having their say…




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Quote of the Day

Jo Swinson on Chris Rennard…

“Vince — and Tim before him — have repeatedly, publicly said Rennard is not welcome anywhere near their frontbench team, even as an adviser. I remain deeply frustrated that he was not expelled from the party through its disciplinary process. It just feels wrong, and I do not want Lord Rennard to continue as a member of the party. As far as I am concerned, he is not welcome.”

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