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Friday 7 September 2018

Leave.EU founder Arron Banks’ op-ed in the Sunday Times last week ushered in a stream of articles about so-called Conservative Party entryism by Ukip voters. Not entryism, says Banks but a consolidation of the Right after the Tory leadership has abandoned the base and led the party astray in recent decades. Meanwhile, Tory Remainers – principally Anna Soubry – kept the story going by panicking to the press and the Tory leadership.

The new Blue Wave movement, supported by Leave.EU, will be ever-present in the media over the coming weeks and months. Please find below a copy of the Sunday Times’ spread covering the campaign’s success, together with a compendium of abridged press clippings and links to the articles in full – a very encouraging read for any Brexiteer.



Sunday Times, Sunday 26 August 2018. By Felix Forbes, Eddie Spence & Joe Campbell

More than half of grassroots Tory parties have been flooded with new members – many to oppose Theresa May’s plans for Brexit – according to a survey of constituency bosses by The Sunday Times.

A clear majority of seats held by cabinet ministers have seen an influx of Eurosceptic members, with the biggest rises in areas represented by “remain” supporters or those backing the prime minister’s Chequers plan, which hard-liners believe is a sell-out to Brussels.

This newspaper approached 275 constituency parties. Of the 75 that responded, 42 said they had seen recent increases in membership, with many noting a change since the Chequers agreement, in which May secured cabinet support for a plan that meant Britain would continue to accept EU rules on goods. Membership had been in decline, roughly halving since 2002.

The survey came as Arron Banks, the businessman who helped fund the “leave” campaign, revealed he would launch a Blue Wave drive this week to get Eurosceptic voters to join the Tories to block the deal and oust May. Conservative Party rules mean anyone who has been a member for more than three months can vote in a leadership contest.

Banks has revealed that he thinks 4,000 leave voters have joined the Tories at his instigation in recent weeks, with 3,000 beginning the process last weekend alone. Banks had his own application rejected last week. But in an article for this newspaper he calls on Eurosceptics to sign up so they can install Boris Johnson or Jacob Rees-Mogg as leader. He even claims Nigel Farage could rejoin the Conservatives.

May and 11 other cabinet attendees saw an increase in membership in their local parties. Only two of the 12 voted to leave the EU. An increase of 40 members in Michael Gove’s Surrey Heath seat could signal that his backing for Chequers is locally unpopular. Damian Hinds, the education secretary, has seen 42 members join his East Hampshire association in the past six weeks. The Northern Ireland secretary, Karen Bradley, a May loyalist, has gained 60 members of her Staffordshire Moorlands constituency since March. The association of Sajid Javid, the home secretary, and that of David Lidington, May’s deputy, have also seen increases.

Sam Gyimah, the universities minister, who supported remain, has seen an increase of 75 in his East Surrey constituency, and the Devizes association of the energy minister, Claire Perry, has grown by 20 members, a 10% increase. The Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt, who has canvassed opinion on a second referendum among constituents in North East Bedfordshire, has seen a 10% rise.

Several association chairmen and chairwomen said the last time a similar rise in membership was recorded was during the referendum or following the resignation of David Cameron.

“I suspect it’s about the leadership,” said the East Hampshire chairman, Anthony Marten. Increases were likely “where the MPs were for remain but constituencies voted to leave”, said the Telford association chairwoman, Nicola Lowery. Another chairman added: “I think you know why.”

Stephen Dorrell, the former cabinet minister and head of the pro-EU European Movement, warned that Banks’s campaign “must not be allowed to succeed”. He said: “I welcome the fact that he has been denied membership of the party; his approach would turn a great national party into a single- issue pressure group with no more moral authority than the rump of Ukip he used to support. The declining base of membership and support for the Conservative Party is a threat to the future of Conservative values; I appeal to all those who share my commitment to an open, liberal, and tolerant Conservatism to join the Conservative Party in order to resist the threat of takeover by a narrow, nationalist clique.”


Sunday Times, Sunday 26 August 2018. By Arron Banks

The best way to secure Brexit and our country’s future is via the Conservative Party. It is in government and, for now, calls the shots. To that end I am urging the 90,000 members of my Brexit campaign Leave.EU, and the 1.4m who follow us on social media, to join the Conservatives and have a say.

Most Brexiteers agree that Theresa May’s Chequers plan is a total betrayal of Conservative values. We have since received floods of small donations and thousands have joined our call to get involved. Let’s help unseat Mrs May, and help install a true Brexiteer such as Boris Johnson or Jacob Rees-Mogg to the top job.

This plan has been called “entryism” by some, in a nod to the hard-left Momentum movement, which has made inroads into the Labour Party. I reject this comparison. Our idea is to safeguard Britain for a generation, not divide it.

…There has been much talk lately of a People’s Vote. This is just a sour grapes campaign run by anti-democrats who don’t seem to understand that we had a referendum in 2016 in which a clear majority voted for Brexit.

One useful by-product of this bogus operation, however, is that it is likely to split the left-wing vote. A breakaway party could form, consisting of 50 or so moderate Labour MPs and 10-odd Conservative “remain” fanatics. such as Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve. This would massively increase the likelihood of the Tories winning a landslide election victory again.

A grassroots rebellion in the Tory party is possible. In the right conditions a new leader can be swept to power, and sanity can prevail. Our aim is to unite the right.

Arron Banks is a co-founder of the Leave.EU campaign. Click here to read the article in full.

Front page of the Times, Wednesday 29 August 2018. By Francis Elliott & Matt Chorley

Pro-EU MPs targeted by Brexit activists. Robert Halfon, the Tory chairman of the education select committee, today hit back at his colleagues for not welcoming the rise in numbers after years of decline. Writing on Twitter, he said that this demand was “utter nonsense”, adding that the party should be “delighted and welcoming new members whatever their Brexit views”.

“The essence of [Anna] Soubry’s view is that if any of the 17 million who voted for #Brexit join the Tories that is somehow extremist ‘infiltration’. That is bonkers.

“If they are so worried about Leave organisations asking members to join Conservatives why not get members from the other side? Increased Conservative membership is not a problem but a good thing.”

…A Conservative MP told The Times yesterday that their local party membership had grown from 170 to 221 in three months. Two Tories reported increases of 10 per cent in the past fortnight and 30 per cent in the past three months. The Conservatives’ last recorded membership total was 124,000.

Click here to read the article in full.

The Sun, Wednesday 29 August 2018. By John Abiona and Tom Newton Dunn.

Tory chiefs have tried to calm panicky MPs who fear Ukip infiltrators are joining the party in droves to elect a hard Brexiteer new leader. Remain supporting Tory MPs on Wednesday warned anti-EU party members are behind big spikes of up to 30 per cent in some local branches.

But senior Tory officials on Wednesday claimed that it was actually their own big summer recruitment drive that sparked the spike.

But the reassurance bid was undermined when it also emerged on Wednesday night that Tory bosses have written to all local party branches to warn them to be extra vigilant.

One Tory MP claimed around 20 new members had joined locally, saying: “I would like to see the party really get to grips with the issue and not just to dismiss our concerns”.

Click here to read the article in full.

The Times lead editorial, Wednesday 29 August 2018.

Moderates who fear that former Ukip members are infiltrating the Conservative Party have only themselves to blame if they do not fight back.

Freedom in a democracy entails more than voting. It can also be expressed by joining and influencing political parties, as large numbers of socialists and Eurosceptics have shown.

…Tory rules confer voting rights on new members after three months. MPs narrow a shortlist of leadership contenders down to two, the membership decides who will enter No 10. Many of these members are suspected of regarding Theresa May’s Chequers proposals as a betrayal of Brexit.

And at a constituency level they are likely to make life difficult for Remain-voting Conservatives such as Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston. As we report today, some pro-European Tory MPs now fear deselection before the next election.

Ms Soubry is worried that her local party association lacks the resources to screen membership applicants seeking only, in her view, to make trouble.

A healthier response from Remainers and moderate Eurosceptics would be to mimic the strategy of those they call entryists…

…Arron Banks regards a Conservative leadership contest before Brexit as inevitable. He does so on the basis that even if Mrs May can persuade Brussels of the merits of her Chequers plan she has no parliamentary majority for it. Should she lose the “meaningful vote” her position would be untenable.

Click here to read the article in full.

The Telegraph, Wednesday 29 August 2018. By Anna Mikhailova & Asa Bennett

The Conservative Party has told local associations to be wary of new members amid a backlash from Tory MPs who described fears of entryism as “bonkers”

…A memo from the Conservative party’s campaign headquarters to local associations was then disclosed, encouraging them to refuse membership to people “whose declared opinions or conduct shall, in [the association’s] judgement, be inconsistent with the objects or financial well-being of the association, or likely to bring the party into disrepute.”

Daniel Kawczynski, the Conservative MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham in Shropshire, said: “We have accepted former Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors and even MPs who campaigned against us in past so what’s the difference? We must have a transparent policy on this…”

Click here to read the article in full.

Daily Mail, Thursday 30 August 2018

Local Tory associations were last night placed on guard against efforts by Ukip supporters to infiltrate the party. Ukip donor Arron Banks has been banned from joining the Tory Party.

Banks was banned from joining the Tory Party after urging Ukip supporters to sign up to ‘unseat May’ and replace her with a leader ‘like Boris Johnson or Jacob Rees-Mogg’.

…Theresa May said the party had been right to ban Mr Banks from joining ‘because he is somebody who has actively campaigned against the Conservative Party’.

A Tory source last night said the memo, drawn up by the party’s head of membership Natalie Crosby-Jones, had been ‘selectively’ leaked.

Click here to read the article in full.

The Express, Thursday 30 August 2018. By David Maddox

Anna Soubry has been ridiculed after she claimed the Conservative Party has been “infiltrated” by Brexit supporters. Senior Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg pointed out that it is believed Ms Soubry had once belonged to the SDP, before it merged with the Liberals to form the EU-backing Lib Dems.

Defending the surge in membership from former Ukip members, he said: “The Tory party has often welcomed converts from other parties, even one or two who flirted with or even joined the SDP. This is not infiltration but the normal flow of political opinion.”

Former Ukip candidate George Eustice is a Tory MP and fishing minister.

…Another Tory MP said: “We seem to have allowed a lot of people to join up who used to be in Left-wing parties…” Chris Grayling and Greg Clark were in the SDP and Liz Truss was a Lib Dem.

Click here to read the article in full.

The Times,Thursday August 30 2018. By Francis Elliott and Matt Chorley

Conservative Party Campaign Headquarters has urged local party bosses to vet applicants carefully amid more Tory infighting over claims of Ukip entryism.

Pro-EU Conservative MPs have reported large spikes in applications to join their local parties after Arron Banks, the former Ukip donor, called for the targeting of “Remain fanatics”.

Officially CCHQ refuses to accept that the party is falling victim to an orchestrated entryist campaign. However, in a leaked email to association chiefs it reminds them of their right to reject those “whose declared opinions or conduct shall…be inconsistent” with party objectives or “likely to bring the party into disrepute”.

…Arron Banks’s main objective appears to be to influence a Conservative leadership election which gives grassroots members the final decision, he has called for the targeting of MPs. Tory MPs must be readopted by local parties as candidates before each election.

Click here to read the article in full.

Thursday, 6 September 2018. By Paul Goodman

Last month, Boris Johnson topped the poll with 29 per cent of the vote, and Sajid Javid was second with 19 per cent. This month, the former Foreign Secretary consolidates his position to take 35 per cent, and Javid drifts down a bit to 15 per cent.

Johnson’s resignation – plus his seniority, relative youth, the recognition factor and his Eurosceptic record – has given him the freedom to speak out and lent wings to his potential candidacy.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, that stern and unbending critic of Chequers, has been squeezed to ten per cent.  Michael Gove, that pragmatic backer of it, is down to six per cent. As recently as July, the Environment Secretary was second on 17 per cent.

For the moment at least, committed Brexiteers are increasingly lining up behind Johnson, and Javid’s cause stands out among Party members who don’t want the ex-Foreign Secretary, and are searching for an energetic and capable Minister to back.

Which throws a question back into the laps of Conservative MPs. Would they really try to stop his name going to the members in the event of a leadership election?

And there’s a question for his supporters, too.  Do they try to force a confidence ballot in the Prime Minister while their man’s ratings are high?

Click here to read the article in full.