Tory grassroots group launches campaign to oust ‘wet’ MPs

Lord Cruddas
The Conservative Post website, backed by Lord Cruddas, is calling on Tory members in the constituencies of 10 MPs to demand a vote on reselection - Julian Simmonds

Tory grassroots activists have launched a campaign to oust “wet” MPs and move the party to the Right.

Conservative Post, a wesbite linked to Lord Cruddas, a Tory donor who has given £3 million to the party and is a Boris Johnson backer, is urging supporters to write to their local associations in a bid to get rid of “liberal centrist” MPs.

It has listed 10 MPs it sees as “dripping wets” – those who oppose Thatcherite policies such as reducing the size of the state and cutting taxes.

Victoria Atkins, the Health Secretary, and Alicia Kearns and Caroline Nokes, who chair select committees, are on the list, which also includes Laura Trott, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Tobias Elwood, the former defence select committee chairman, Alan Mak, the business minister, Bim Afolami, Roger Gale, Simon Hoare and Alberto Costa.

The Conservative Post website, backed by Lord Cruddas, is calling on Tory members in the constituencies of the 10 MPs to write to their local association to demand a vote on reselection.

It points out that it only needs a tenth of all members to write in for a meeting to be called, and includes a copy and paste letter for them to use.

Claire Bullivant, the founder and editor of Conservative Post, said: “It’s time to get our Conservative Party back on track with proper Conservative MPs who have conservative values.

“For too long, it appears a few shadowy people in CCHQ [Tory headquarters] and the Conservative Party’s candidates’ department have been weeding out actual centre-Right conservatives and pushing liberal centrists.

“I personally know of some brilliant Conservatives who have put themselves forward as candidates, only to be rejected in favour of dripping wets.”

The phrase originated near the start of Margaret Thatcher’s premiership, where those who opposed her monetarist policies and crackdown on union power were denigrated as “wets”.

Ms Bullivant added: “Poll after poll shows Britain is crying out for conservatism. It’s time to start flexing our muscles and steering our party back to proper conservatism. We want MPs who promote proper conservative values – free speech, free markets, free people, low taxes, small government, Brexit and Britain.

“If the MPs aren’t performing, then the members will sack them. It’s time to save our party and our country.”

Ms Bullivant is also the chief executive of the Conservative Democratic Organisation, set up in the wake of Mr Johnson’s departure. Lord Cruddas is the organisation’s president.

An article on Conservative Post said: “If you are a Conservative Party member, you have more power than they want you to know about.

“Did you know? If 10 per cent of an association’s membership send in a letter of no confidence about their MP, we can start deselecting those Conservative MPs who aren’t actually being conservative.

“So, for example, an association with 150 members would only need 15 letters of no confidence to go in to call for a special general meeting.

“It doesn’t matter if your local parliamentary candidate has already been selected: a special general meeting has the power to change its mind.”

The website said the 10 MPs listed were those that “members have told us” they wanted to see deselected first, adding: “If you are a member of one of these associations, please send in your letter now.”