Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 7, 2018

Misuse Of Party Funds? Surely Not!

On Tuesday, on Conservative Home it was reported that Conservative activists across the country are flatly refusing to deliver the CCHQ-supplied stock of leaflets and postcards aimed at encouraging voters to lobby Tory MPs in favour of the Prime Minister’s EU deal, on grounds of concern at the harm done by attempts to deploy the Party’s resources on an issue where the majority of members are at odds with the leadership.

It seems that a letter, signed by 32 senior Conservative activists, which urges an “immediate” end to what it terms “this misuse of Party funds” in support of “what amounts to a propaganda campaign to get MPs to back the proposed deal”. The letter is addressed to Andrew Sharpe, the Chairman of the National Conservative Convention – the representative body of the voluntary Conservative Party, which will hold its next meeting tomorrow.

Echoing the site’s warning that the current approach threatens to undermine fundraising efforts and harm grassroots morale, the letter reminds Sharpe that “We know that you understand how vital party funds are. Every quiz, every lunch, every race night brings precious contributions which members are happy to give to help our Party succeed in elections. These funds should not be used on divisive issues where the majority of members strongly object to a flawed agenda”.

The list of signatories includes 29 Conservative Association chairmen, and features officers elected by grassroots members in constituencies across the country. Among those who have put their names to it are the chairman of the Croydon Federation, encompassing the former constituency of Gavin Barwell, currently the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, and the chairmen of several target and marginal seats, including Carlisle, City of Chester, Peterborough, Halifax and Workington.

It is very unusual for senior activists such as Association chairmen to take such a step, and the presence of these 32 names on the below letter hints at a much wider level of discontent among the rank and file of the voluntary Party. Such concern among those charged with leading the front line effort to defend and gain crucial seats at the next election ought to ring alarm bells at CCHQ.

Here is the full text of the letter “Dear Andrew, we are appalled that Associations have recently been receiving promotional literature for distribution to members of the public urging them to lobby MPs to back the Prime Minister’s proposed Withdrawal Agreement with the EU. You will be well aware how controversial this proposed agreement is. Polls show Conservative MPs, Party members and the British public strongly opposed.

“Many people are concerned that the UK will pay £39 billion without any legally binding guarantees that a UK/EU trade deal will be secured. Trade deals with global partners will extremely difficult if not impossible to negotiate.

“Under the backstop, the UK will be unable to leave the customs union without EU agreement and will be forced to accept EU laws and regulations over which we will have no say, and which may not be in our best interests. This ‘backstop’ arrangement will be used as leverage to extract a future trade deal that benefits the EU not the UK, with the EU27 able to utilise their vetoes to extract more and more concessions.

“These concessions are likely to involve key areas such as access to our coastal waters and fishing quotas, Gibraltar and immigration. We will effectively be held to ransom. Given these widespread concerns I am sure you understand why it is questionable at best that Party Members’ funds are now being used to front what amounts to a propaganda campaign to get MPs to back the proposed deal.

“We know that you understand how vital party funds are. Every quiz, every lunch, every race night brings precious contributions which members are happy to give to help our Party succeed in elections. These funds should not be used on divisive issues where the majority of members strongly object to a flawed agenda.

“Whether we voted Leave or Remain, or agree with the Prime Minister’s deal or disagree, never should Party funds or Party-funded CCHQ staff be used to lobby against our duly elected Members of Parliament.

“We urge you to make representations at the highest level to convey members concern at this misuse of Party funds and to ensure this activity is stopped with immediate effect and that there will be no future repetition”.
Yours sincerely,

Includes locals Rob Bailey – Chairman of City of Chester Conservative Association [Former West Lancashire Cllr]; Harry Bliss – President of Southport Conservative Association; Cllr Susie Charles – Chairman of Lancaster and Fleetwood Conservative Association

Where’s Wally ? No West Lancashire Conservative Association input? Letter not signed? No concern over local funds being misused? Perhaps they haven’t got any? Time to have fish and chips again at Briars Hall!


Responses

  1. Perhaps West Lancs Conservatives will deliver these leaflets and dutifully do what they are told by their Head Office, though they seem to deliver precious little other literature.

    • Well they did drop “Dear Alan” and “Dear Patricia” litter/letters through my door recently. They included begging for donations…perhaps that’s why the leaflets might now arrive too? They keep my shredder busy.


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