CCHQ has rejected Steven Woolfe’s application to join the Conservative Party. Prior to joining UKIP in 2010, Woolfe had served as a Tory councillor in North Wales.
Woolfe is well liked in Tory circles, Guido suspects members will not take kindly to this decision, especially after CCHQ welcomed the defection of UKIP MEP Amjad Bashir with open arms in 2015. The Tories have fewer members than the SNP, can they really afford to be turning former members away like this?
Guido understands that Woolfe’s association with Arron Banks’ ‘Blue Wave’ movement was CCHQ’s main sticking point with his application. The phrase “Conservative Grassroots Mutiny” in their promotional material did not go down well…
UPDATE: A Conservative spokesman has confirmed: “Steven Woolfe’s application for membership of the Conservative Party has not been accepted.”
UPDATE: A frustrated Steven Woolfe tells Guido that he is “bemused” by the situation, particularly given the Tories’ efforts in the past to win back moderate UKIP supporters. He is still waiting to hear back from CCHQ as to why he has been rejected. Woolfe remains one of the best-connected eurosceptic British MEPs in Brussels – does it make sense for the Tories to be spurning his offer of support?