Is Lord Tebbit about to be suspended or expelled from the Conservative Party?
His Grace asked:
Are you suggesting that the loyal Conservatives of Somerton and Frome re-adopt Annunziata Rees-Mogg in defiance of CCHQ, who have just removed her from the 'Approved List'? Are you proposing that they volunteer for certain ‘support status’? Are you suggesting that they reject the next ‘clone dummy’ candidate CCHQ decides to impose? Having been party chairman, how do you think Baroness Warsi might react to your suggestion?The Noble Lord has responded upon his blog:
Sally Roberts questioned what I would have said to ‘entryism’ when I was Party Chairman. Well, I always did and still do encourage Conservatives to join the Conservative Party and to fight for conservative policies and to select and elect Conservative Members of the Commons. Of course, in my day local Conservative Associations were autonomous bodies over which I did not have control, whereas today they are more like branches of the central Party, a point well made by Cranmer.This is both refreshingly forthright and very interesting indeed, not least because Lord Tebbit - who takes the Party Whip on the House of Lords and is a card-carrying member of the Conservative Party - is suggesting that local Conservative associations should threaten to run independent Conservative candidates against those imposed centrally. Of course, CCHQ will insist that they never impose anyone, but the facts of history rather negate such an assertion. Lord Tebbit urges this rebellion knowing full well that in the past it has led to associations being threatened with 'support status' (ie, 'taken over' by CCHQ) and, in one case, a whole association being dismissed for expressing support for an 'un-approved' candidate.
My message is that local Conservatives should control constituency associations and insist on selecting Conservative candidates who they like, not Central Office nominees. It could be called the Big Society politics. As Wuffothe Wonderdog says, Central Office might not like it, but faced with Conservatives willing to run independent Conservative candidates against imposed ones, they would probably think again.
Lord Tebbit has clarified that 'local Conservatives should control constituency associations and insist on selecting Conservative candidates who they like, not Central Office nominees'. This can only be achieved by rejecting 'Central Office clone dummies', as he calls them. There are those who will view this as a direct challenge to the authority of the Conservative Party Board, which is omnipotent on all matters relating to the conduct of members.
Shedule 7, article 3.5 of the Conservative Party’s constitution states:
‘The Officers of the Association may move before the Executive Council the suspension or termination of membership of the Association of any member whose declared opinions or conduct shall, in their judgement, be inconsistent with the objects or financial well-being of the Association or be likely to bring the Party into disrepute. Similarly, the Officers may move the refusal of membership of the Association for the same reasons. Following such a motion, the Executive Council may by a majority vote suspend, terminate or refuse membership for the same reason.’By exhorting Conservative Party members to reject CCHQ-approved candidates in favour of independents, Lord Tebbit is indeed declaring opinions and conducting himself in a manner that is inconsistent with the objects (and financial well-being) of his local association and the Conservative Party nationally.
Is CCHQ about to suspend or terminate Lord Tebbit's membership of the Conservative Party?