Friday 8 February 2019
Conservative Campaign Headquarters are desperate. The launch last week of our AGM drive within our wider deselection campaign received a sensational response. No confidence motions against sitting pro-Remain MPs have been filling local association letterboxes across the land.
Knowing that if allowed onto the agenda, the majority of these motions would pass at general meetings taking place this month, CCHQ is using every underhand tactic to reject proposals. The party machine is exposing its despotic hierarchy, which is completely misaligned with the grassroots.
In Dominic Grieve’s Beaconsfield seat, John Strafford, chairman of the grassroots Campaign for Conservative Democracy, had his motion rejected on the grounds his membership had lapsed. Mr Strafford had not been sent a renewal notice in January as he has for each of the past 56 years. In sneakily and not so subtly neglecting to ask him to pay his annual fees, CCHQ timed out Strafford’s membership, rendering his no-confidence motion void.
Industrious deselection campaigners in Bracknell, Eurofanatic Philip Lee’s constituency, have discovered that the Party Director General has drafted suspicious new guidance, issued to association chairman trying to find a way of invalidating no-confidence motions.
The new rules have given collaborating local party chairmen all the excuse they need to reject letters sent in over the past two weeks. Any motion tabled later than 21 days before the annual meeting will not make it onto the agenda we’re now told. Bizarre, since the Party constitution states notice of annual general meetings must also be given at least 21 days prior.
How on earth are members supposed to get their motions in if they don’t know when the annual meeting is even happening? Under the guidance, as soon as they’re informed, it’s automatically too late to add items to the agenda. This is the type of political engineering comrade Stalin would have been proud of. Red stars all round.
The isolated upper echelons can only stem the tide for so long. We’ve received thousands of emails from outraged activists agitating for their anti-Brexit MPs to be shoved out. They have the party constitution on their side. It cannot be subverted by new made-up rules and is very clear on how to call a special general meeting via a petition of 50 signatures – usually less – in order to table a motion of no confidence. We encourage you to find out more on our deselection page.
Nevertheless, AGMs still represent an immense opportunity to humiliate CCHQ’s accomplices. Comically, the Beaconsfield association has allowed a motion “expressing its full confidence in the Rt. Hon. Dominic Grieve QC MP” to make its way onto the agenda. Strafford suggests the motion be moved to replace “its full” with “no”.
So if you’re a Tory Party Member sick to the teeth with your MP’s obstructionist antics, get down to your upcoming general meeting (find dates and locations here) and pile on the pressure. It will also be a great opportunity to get momentum going behind a deselection campaign via an SGM.
As always, we’re looking for participants. Remember, you need to have been a member of the Conservative Party for at least three months in a seat represented by a pro Remain Conservative MP. If those two criteria apply to you and you haven’t volunteered already, drop us an email, we’d love to hear from you.