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Monday, August 06, 2007

Tories in revolt - again

Just when David Cameron thought he had survived the worst of the storm over his various misjudgements in the Ealing Southall by-election, a fresh one starts up. This time it is Yorkshire Tories who are telling him to shape up or they will ship out.

Today's Daily Mirror tells us that the Tory leader was given a mauling by angry grassroots party members in Yorkshire. They warned him that they will form their own breakaway northern party if he does not shape up. The paper reports that Cameron was said to have been so shaken by the ferocity of the verbal assaults during the get-together with local activists that he could not finish his lunch.

The summit meeting in Leeds was supposed to be a charm offensive to allow Cameron to soothe

But a source who was there said: "There was blood on the walls in no time - and most of it was his. He turned white because everyone was laying into him.

"People got very angry with him. I don't think he enjoyed the meal. By the time we got to dessert, he'd had enough. The dish was put in front of everyone but he just said, 'I don't want one'. To be honest, he looked a bit sick by then. He was given a right good kicking. Some people were so upset with his performance they refused to shake his hand.

"But whether or not we got through to him is a different matter."

The Mirror says that the meeting took place with 22 activists at Bertie's French restaurant last week. It included constituency chairmen and prospective MPs and was called by Cameron after he was warned about the discontent among northern Tories. He was told the party in Yorkshire is on the verge of meltdown, with members leaving in droves. In West Yorkshire alone, 250 party loyalists out of a total of 500 are refusing to renew their membership. Some of those present said they were ready to form a breakaway party if Cameron were to be defeated at the next election but refused to quit.
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