Grassroots Tories Cutting Up Membership Cards in Anger

Theresa May’s decision to “cook up” a deal with a Marxist her Government previously described as a threat to national security has not been going down well with grassroots Tories. At all.

There’s been a spate of membership cards being cut up – although of course this doesn’t officially cancel their membership. The Chairman of Canterbury Association has emailed his local members slamming May’s approach as “unedifying, infuriating and destructive in equal measure”:

A pertinent reminder for angry Tories considering giving their memberships the chop that there is a leadership election just round the corner…

Moment Boles Quits Tories

Nick Boles told a shocked House of Commons he was quitting the Tories – seemingly because he was upset that the Government whipped hard against his amendment and in favour of their own policy and manifesto. Funny that…

Huw Merriman can be heard urging Boles not to go. Naturally the SNP applaud…

House of Commons indicative round II results were as follows:

(C) Customs Union AYES: 273 NOES: 276
(D) Common Market 2.0 AYES: 261 NOES: 282
(E) Confirmatory Public Vote AYES: 280 NOES: 292
(G) Parliamentary Supremacy AYES: 191 NOES: 292

And the winner was… May’s deal as per Friday with 286 votes in favour…

Grieve Loses Local Support After Breaking His Word

Dominic Grieve, Beaconsfield’s current Tory MP, lost a local constituency association confidence motion by 182 to 131 against him. The Beaconsfield Conservative Association chairman says that, “He remains our Conservative MP but I will be speaking as soon as possible to my fellow officers and the Executive Council.” A vote of no confidence is not a deselection.

Grieve is a decent man, we all agree, courageous even. To ignore your supporters and act against their wishes has consequences in a democracy. Deselections are always unpleasant, without them or at least the threat of them, MPs would be completely untethered from their supporters. MPs of all parties often arrogantly detest their activist members, who generally tend to be politically further away from the mainstream and their own ordinary voters. This tension is always there, sometimes the link snaps. This is such a time.

Grieve’s arrogance was that he thought he could shift from promising his members – in writing – that he would respect the outcome of the referendum, to leading the efforts to thwart Brexit, without cost. Breaking your word to voters, particularly the ones who get out the vote for you, is risky.

George Osborne tweeted this morning that Dominic Grieve had been “deselected”, going on to say “The Tory leadership can stop any deselection if it wants – we frequently did. CCHQ should suspend the local party. Otherwise we are heading for a huge, historic split in the Tory Party.” As a matter of fact Osborne has got it wrong, Grieve has not been deselected – yet. It is a bit rich Osborne, who has been campaigning to get rid of the leader of the Conservative Party since 2017, now calling for party unity. It is also more than galling when a Tory grandee says the little people who deliver leaflets, raise funds, vote for the party should be ignored and steam-rollered. Assuming of course that Osborne is still even a Conservative Party member…

UPDATE: Some groups like Leave.EU have been trying to claim the credit for Grieve’s deselection – local members strongly dispute the idea that they had anything to do with it, although Guido understands that the grassroots Campaign for Conservative Democracy was involved. A local Tory source tells Guido:

“Last night was a case of local members, most of whom have been members for years, finally getting organised and rising up. It has nothing to do with so-called “blue wave entryism” which isn’t even a thing. We’ve seen no real rise in membership numbers at all to suggest it could have any sort of impact.

“The principal reason Beaconsfield members voted against Grieve was that they felt he had been dishonest with them; promising at his last re-selection meeting to honour the referendum result, and then doing everything he could to thwart it. It’s his duplicity which has led to this motion passing.”

Cox on Spanking & “A Little Buttock Fondling”

The PM might feel that she took a bit of a spanking from the Attorney General this morning. Which reminds Guido of an amusing anecdote. Back in 2000 defending Robin Peverett, (66), the former headmaster of Dulwich Prep Cranbrook, his barrister Geoffrey Cox said “What’s a little buttock fondling after all? It was all such a long time ago”.

This sort of thing happened all the time in my school. It was a different era when headmasters considered themselves Gods, like barristers,” he added, dismissing a reporter who posed questions afterwards as someone who “went to a little comp somewhere.” Old school Tory…

Brandon Lewis Writes to All Senior Tory Party Activists Following Suspensions

Following the suspension of 14 Tory members yesterday over Islamophobic and racist remarks, Tory Chairman Brandon Lewis has written to the party’s most senior activists to “re-affirm my commitment that discrimination, intimidating behaviour or abuse of any kind has absolutely no place in our organisation”. The letter has gone to everyone at the most senior level of the voluntary party – Regional Chairmen, Area Chairmen, Association Chairman and Conservative Group Leaders. Swift action from the Tories…

Conservatives’ Hardline Email to 14 Suspended Members

Guido has obtained a copy of the email sent directly to the 14 Tory members who have been suspended today by Conservative Party Chairman Brandon Lewis’s office to for posting Islamophobic or racist comments online.

The suspended members are informed in no uncertain terms that they “may not participate in any Party events” and are “not entitled to represent the Conservative Party in any way” or “attend or participate in any events carried out in the name of the Party”. Summary justice undoubtedly, the Tories nevertheless showing Labour how to deal swiftly and unequivocally with racism…

Gyimah Loyalists Fire Back at No Confidence Plotters

The battle between plotters and loyalists in Sam Gyimah’s East Surrey Conservative Association is heating up – loyalists are hitting back against the claims that Gyimah doesn’t spend time in the constituency. Now sources close to the Association Chair have accused the plotters of leaking “falsehoods” to the media and not having the “courage” to challenge Sam to his face, telling Guido:

“This group have leaked falsehoods to the media, anonymously. They have submitted their motion, in secret, without the knowledge of their association. They did not have the courage to do so to Sam’s face on the multiple occasions he has appeared before us to explain his actions. They are not representative of the association.”


Sam Gyimah Plays Down No Confidence Bid

Sam Gyimah has played down the local no confidence bid revealed by Guido on Friday night, telling the Today Programme:

“There’s no deselection procedure, there was some news at the weekend… there’s a letter of no confidence that was handed to my association chairman, it’s signed by four people… I think one of them is a lapsed member of the Association…

Local sources are disputing this, they insist that the letter had five signatories, none of whom were lapsed members. All were members of the Executive, including two local Councillors (one district and one county) and a former Association Treasurer. These are well-established members of the local Party, not fringe members or new members…

The number of signatories to the letter is not of any significance in itself – only two were required to put the motion on the agenda for the AGM. The only number that counts is the number of votes for the no confidence motion later this month…

ConHome’s Mark Wallace reported how frosty the mood was towards Gyimah at the Executive meeting on Friday night, with Gyimah reportedly looking “visibly concerned”. Gyimah himself took a conciliatory tone in response to Guido’s initial report. Interestingly, Brandon Lewis has promised that CCHQ will step in to block the deselection of any Tory MP, provided they back the PM’s deal. Gyimah unequivocally told Today just now that he wouldn’t be supporting it…

No Confidence Bid Launched Against Sam Gyimah

Guido has learned a significant group of senior East Surrey Conservatives have launched a no confidence bid against MP Sam Gyimah tonight. Following a Special Executive Meeting in Limpsfield tonight where Gyimah was summoned to account for recent actions, members were left dissatisfied with his explanation and have decided to give formal notice to the Association Chairman that a motion of no confidence will be brought against Gyimah. It will be voted on at the East Surrey AGM at the end of March…

Local members have been unhappy with Gyimah for some time, they say he is seldom seen at events in the constituency. One local member said Gyimah “treats us a vote source, not a community he wants to play a part in.” He is so rarely spotted that activists have taken to nicknaming him “Where’s Sam?”…

Local members are particularly aggrieved as they feel Gyimah was not honest with them about his resignation to support a second referendum. Gyimah first emailed his local party on 1st December to explain his resignation, with the email making no mention at all of his shift to Remain, despite him having endorsed a second referendum the same day. It was so ambiguously worded that many local members initially thought he had resigned to join the ERG…

After multiple complaints to the local Chair that Gyimah was telling members one thing while doing another in Westminster, Gyimah was asked to email members again on 14th January and the 28th, where he still failed to come clean about his support for a second referendum and even claimed that he had still not made his mind up about which Brexit option he was supporting:

“With so much in flux and events changing on a daily basis, I am yet to make a final decision on the different approaches being discussed in the media. My criteria for evaluating the options as we go forward are: I will support a deal that takes us out of the EU, that does not damage our interests, protects business (on which so many livelihoods in East Surrey depend), and is potentially negotiable with the EU…

“…I have said that if parliament were unable to resolve the deadlock, then as a last resort, I will support giving the people a final say in a Second Referendum.”

This was the final straw for many members, anyone who reads the news was well aware that Gyimah was already a fully signed-up member of the second referendum brigade – he even launched the hapless ‘Right to Vote’ campaign alongside Phillip Lee on 17th January. Even this week he has still been telling local activists entirely contradictory things about his position. That frustration has now bubbled up to the surface, now it looks like Gyimah will have to face a ‘People’s Vote’ of his own…

UPDATE: Senior sources in the East Surrey Association have played down the significance of the no confidence bid, while there is unhappiness at his support for a second referendum they say that the Association as a whole is still generally supportive of Gyimah. The extent of that support will be revealed later this month…

Caroline Spelman’s Association Trying to Rush Through Reselection on the Quiet

Caroline Spelman has not been especially popular with grassroots Tories following her decision to add her name to the Cooper-Letwin Bill seeking to delay Brexit, despite insisting less than two weeks earlier that she was “clear that I want to see no further delay to the country leaving the EU”. Funnily enough trying to take power away from your own party’s government and hand it to an unaccountable group of cross-party MPs isn’t a popular move with your activists…

Under the Conservative Party Constitution, sitting Conservative MPs have to be formally re-adopted by their local Associations before each election, although the rules are slightly vague around the precise procedural details. Normally this is a formality but with many long-standing Tory members angry and upset with the actions of some of their MPs on Brexit they have become more contentious events

Guido has got wind that senior members of Spelman’s Meriden Association are trying to sneak through her reselection on the quiet to avoid any objections from local members. Local sources say that pro-Spelman members of the local Association Executive have been working to put together a quorum on the sly for a meeting tomorrow lunchtime in order to rush Spelman’s reselection through without alerting the general membership. Surely local members should at least be given the chance to have their say?

Tories Raised Five Times More Than Labour Did Last Quarter

In the last quarter of 2018, the Conservative Party out-raised the Labour Party by almost six million pounds, with Labour raising just £1,606,597, compared to the Conservatives’ £7,396,361. Although, as the official opposition, Labour bagged an extra £2,131,978 in taxpayers’ money as well, taking their Q4 haul to almost £4 million. Could Labour’s anti-Semitism scandals and dire poll performance be beginning to hit them in the pocket..?

CCHQ Appoint Youth Vice-Chairman Who is Closer to Retiring than Graduating

Strange appointment of a Tory Vice-Chairman for Youth, Nigel Huddleston, who is 48 years-old and therefore closer to retirement age than his graduation. Usually the appointment goes to a younger MP, even stranger is that he is a divisive factional figure. He is on the wet side of the party, a patron of the TRG and an anti-Brexit campaigner. The youth wing of the party is very keen on Brexit and most young members would lean towards the free market rather than the Blairite end of the spectrum. An altogether bemusing throw-back appointment when right-of-centre millenials are attracted to the exciting and dynamic politics of the future…

Tories Restricting Party Members’ Attendance at Spring Forum

Frustrated Tory activists have been left bemused to discover that the Conservative Party has deemed them not welcome at the party’s Spring Forum this year. Emails have been going out to members informing them that only the party’s National Convention has been invited to attend the annual gathering in February. The Spring Forum has always been a popular get-together in committed activists’ calendars, they are very disappointed to be left out…

The National Convention is a select group of party activists limited to Association Chairmen and area and regional officers, rank-and-file activists have been told that they must get express permission from their Association Chairman if they wish to attend. Looks suspiciously like CCHQ trying to cover off the threat a large-scale grassroots insurrection of party members just one month before the UK is due to leave the EU…

UPDATE: CCHQ insist that party members aren’t being barred from Spring Forum, they are just being asked to agree attendance with their local Chairmen to help “manage capacity”

Penny Mordaunt Backs May, Slams ‘Unhelpful’ Mogg

It looks like we can take Penny Mordaunt off resignation watch. The Portsmouth North MP has given the scoop to her local Portsmouth paper The News, telling them May would deliver on a Brexit that would ‘work for the nation’.

Of the ERG-led no confidence push, ‘That was not helpful,’ she said.

‘What the public want to see is their members of parliament and their members of government working hard to get the best result for their communities and their country. Everything else that is a distraction to that should cease.’

The paper reported that Mordaunt “would not be drawn on whether the PM was the right person to lead the nation through Brexit.” So not quite a wholehearted endorsement of the PM…

UPDATE: It has been pointed out that if you carefully read the report it does not actually quote her as supporting the current deal on offer.

David Davis Sells Out

Brexiteers need not panic, the former Brexit Secretary has not betrayed the Eurosceptic cause. Instead, a black-tie gala dinner at the Carlton Club hosted by the Margaret Thatcher Centre, which he is addressing, has sold out within days of tickets going on sale. Proving that the old bruiser still has box office appeal in Tory circles. Will David Davis still give his after-dinner speech if he is Prime Minister?

Tory Vice Chairman Paid £46,000 from House of Saud

As the world learned this week of the horrific torture and murder of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi – he was according to some reports alive when his torturer began cutting him up with an electric bone saw – the register of MPs’ interests was published. The new register of interests reveals that Tory MP Rehman Chishti received £46,000 from Saudi Arabia between March 2016 and January this year for advisory work with the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies. Chisti only stopped taking the lucrative £2,000-a-month payments from the Saudis when he became Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party for Communities in January. The party position comes with a £10,000 honorarium.

Guido looks forward to getting the benefit of hearing Chisti’s inside view of the Saudi regime’s behaviour when he speaks in the inevitable debates on the matter in the Commons…

UPDATE: Dozen Tories Took £85,0000 of Junkets to Riyadh in Last Year

Duddridge Writes to Brady Demanding May Goes

Minutes before Theresa May gets on stage to deliver her speech James Duddridge has publicly written an email to Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, demanding she goes. He has just told Adam Boulton that the conference has been a “disaster”, and says Theresa May’s refusal to “rip up Chequers” and Boris Johnson’s “inspirational” speech yesterday are the reasons he’s submitted a letter of no confidence in Theresa May.

“We haven’t got someone that can effectively negotiate with the European Union at the moment, the Brexit negotiations have been an absolute disaster… yet we limp on and pretend we’re all behind a leader who is not delivering.”

“We need a strong leader and we haven’t got that at the moment. Boris was inspirational, motivational and rallied the troops, rallied politicians, something you could get behind and that’s what we need, we need a leader not a chief executive, an administrator”

Tough timing for May…

Who Should Be the Next Tory Leader?

Guy News asked a wide-ranging sample of Tory conference attendees who they would like to be the next Tory leader ahead of Boris’ big speech today. While some couldn’t countenance Theresa May standing down, the biggest names were comfortably Boris and Saj. Boris still leads the pack…

Philip Lee Sows “Distrust and Disenfranchisement”

The Tory Remainer’s pin-up boy Philip Lee has been touring the “People’s Vote” fringes at Tory Conference today, preaching to the Remainer faithful about the need for a second referendum and even talking about quitting the Conservatives.

There were so few Tories at either event he would hardly notice the difference. They were less Tory fringe events than “bash the Tories” fringe events…

He’s changed his tune from 2016, when he told his constituents on his personal website:

“I have received a great deal of correspondence from constituents who have signed the petition to hold a second referendum… To willingly ignore the view of the electorate, however, would entrench divisions and accentuate the distrust and disenfranchisement which we urgently need to address. The British people have spoken. It is now the duty of all Parliamentarians to respond in the best interests of our great and good country, as we move into a future outside of the EU…”

Why does Phil now think it’s a good idea to “entrench divisions” and accentuate “distrust and disenfranchisement” today?

Jeremy Hunt Trolled by his Wife

Jeremy Hunt has revealed the moment when he first spoke to his wife after mistakenly calling telling a group of Chinese dignitaries that she was Japanese rather than Chinese:

“I was incredibly nervous. I picked up the phone to apologise to her – and the first word she said to me was “konnichiwa”, which is “hello” in Japanese.

[…] Read the rest


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Quote of the Day

Expelled Tory MP, Richard Benyon, on the short three-day Programme Motion for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill:

“Whether you had three days, three weeks or three months debating this, you would not hear one original argument that we hadn’t otherwise heard in this process…”


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