17 May Statement – Special General Meeting
The Chairman of Bracknell Conservative Association today informed me, and other members of our Association that, after receiving a petition, he has had to call a “Special General Meeting” to discuss whether the Association has confidence in me as “Conservative Member of Parliament for the Constituency of Bracknell.”
Over half the signatories joined the Association since a campaign was begun to undermine me in August last year.
My response is:
“I regret that this vote has been called – in reality it’s an unpleasant sideshow with zero practical effect because nothing happens as a result. I’m the Conservative MP for Bracknell now and I’ll still be the Conservative MP for Bracknell afterwards.
“It is part of a broader, coordinated campaign by wealthy individuals and organisations in this country and around the world to manipulate democracy for their own ends. For many months I have warned of this malign influence. Well-funded advertising campaigns have explicitly encouraged people to join the Conservative Party in order to get rid of elected Members of Parliament who do not share their narrow view on the type of Brexit this country should adopt.
“Such entryism has never been a feature of Conservative politics in this country. I’m sad that it appears we are vulnerable to the sort of public manipulation that I believe also influenced the outcome of the EU referendum.
“This entryism is helping to make sure that elements of the current membership are increasingly out of touch with the views of the electorate. And it is helping to create a climate of fear and intimidation. If these elements prevail, we can be sure that the public won’t choose a Conservative Government again.
“At its root, this meeting is an attempt to intimidate me and change my stance on the most important issue this country has faced for over 70 years. I will not attend a meeting that is only intended to damage me and the Party. Those who support me should not feel obliged to attend either. We should not play into the hands of a narrow group that seeks to destroy the Conservative Party from within. Intimidation will not work on me.
“Most people will look at this spectacle – members of an MP’s own Party playing political games – with confusion and dismay. But I am not the first dedicated and loyal Conservative MP to be targeted in this way, and I am sure I will not be the last.
“The people and organisations behind these campaigns don’t have deliverable or desirable solutions to the complex challenges our country faces, such as climate change, the sustainability of our health and welfare systems and the threat of extremism. They do not offer a realistic, positive and meaningful future for our country in the 21st century.
“We need to act against this threat to our democracy. I appeal to every Bracknell constituent who wants to promote decent, honourable politics to make your voice heard – join the Conservative Party locally, support me and help to secure a better future for us all.”
Notes to editors:
1. Under Conservative Party rules, a petition signed by 10% or 50 Association members (whichever is higher) requires the Chairman of the Association to call an SGM
2. The Special General Meeting to debate this motion will be held on 1 June at a hotel in the neighbouring Windsor Constituency.