Right-wing coup at Tory branch 'easy'
Monday 07 February 1994
Rhona Hammond, agent for the North Colchester Conservative Association, backed a Sunday Express report that new members had been drafted into the Mistley branch from outside the area and some had given false addresses.
Sir Norman Fowler, party chairman, has ordered an inquiry into claims that the branch has fallen under the control of former National Front members and other right-wing extremists.
Sir Norman said he wanted to find out how the branch might have come to be controlled by people 'not remotely typical or representative of the Conservative Party'. He suspects 'dirty tricks'.
Mistley's call for the Prime Minister's resignation led to media claims that Essex Man had turned against Mr Major.
'To be a branch member you have to either live in the area or have a connection with it,' said Ms Hammond yesterday. 'Some gave false addresses and some claimed connection on the grounds that they helped the local MP's election campaign but we don't think they did.' Ms Hammond said the Colchester association had been concerned about Mistley since last April, when it split from neighbouring Manningtree. Since the split, the Mistley branch had demonstrated at events organised by Anne McIntosh, the local MEP.
When the association tried to oust members who had given false addresses, the members threatened legal action. 'We could not afford court action and so we backed off,' Ms Hammond said.
At last week's meeting, only 14 of Mistley's 51 members turned up for the annual meeting, where the call for the Prime Minister's resignation was passed 12 to 2. Ms Hammond attends all branch annual meetings.
'I tried to tell them it was a waste of their time,' she said. 'It is MPs who decide who the leader is. Since the meeting we have had letters from other members of the Mistley branch, who were not at the AGM, dissociating themselves from the vote.'
Comparing the case to Militant's infiltration of the Labour Party, she said Sir Norman wanted 'to nip it in the bud'.
A Conservative Central Office official said it was suspected that the branch had been taken over by people with views more akin to the British National Party than the Conservative Party.
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 4 The top 50 cities for young people to live in
General Election 2015: Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind as he casts a line to the disaffected of Grimsby
Oxygen-starved 'dead zones' with no marine life up to 100-miles long discovered in the Atlantic Ocean
The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
Russian warships accused of 'chasing away' Swedish vessel to prevent Baltic States from achieving energy independence
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...
£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...