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Monday, August 27, 2018

Tories fear infiltration plot as membership rises

Even after reading this a couple of times I am still struggling to get my head around the idea that Theresa May's Chequer's deal has prompted a surge in Tory part membership, albeit to try and turn the party whose incompetence is delivering a no-deal, hard Brexit, into one that is even more Eurosceptic.

The Telegraph says that the increase in Tory Party membership is triggering concerns that the party is at risk from a ‘blue Momentum-style’ takeover among supporters furious with the deal which keeps Britain closely tied to the European Union after Brexit.

They quote John Strafford, a Tory grassroots campaigner, who says that the rise in membership comes from former UK Independence Party members who are rejoining because they do not like the deal and want to vote in a leadership contest to replace Mrs May.

Apparently, Conservative Party rules mean anyone who has been a member for more than three months can vote in a leadership contest. These tactics can only benefit Boris Johnson, assuming he can get enough support from MPs to get into the final two of course:

A survey by The Sunday Times found that more than half of grassroots Tory parties have been flooded with new members, many to oppose Mrs May's plans for Brexit.

In the survey, 42 out of 75 local associations reported that they had seen increases in membership, with many noting a change since the Chequers deal was agreed by the Cabinet.

Mrs 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.

Michael Gove’s Surrey Heath constituency saw an increase of 40 members, while Damian Hinds’ East Hampshire association saw membership jump by 42.

East Hampshire chairman Anthony Marten said: “I suspect it's about the leadership.” Increases were likely “where the MPs were for Remain but constituencies voted to Leave”.

Whether this outbreak in Tory internal democracy matches that in the Labour Party, which swept Corbyn into the leadership, has yet to be seen. However, anything, such as the threat of deselection from the right, that pushes Tory MPs into a more hard line pro-Brexit position cannot be good for the country.
Are we going to have a 1930's Nationalist style future with Blackshirts wandering around with President Johson with a Trump size ego.? Ominous
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