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Grassroots activists' bid to oust Theresa May branded 'deplorable' by Norfolk chairman

PUBLISHED: 16:36 23 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:24 23 April 2019

Margaret Farrow, Great Yarmouth Conservative Association chairman. Picture: Ian Burt

Margaret Farrow, Great Yarmouth Conservative Association chairman. Picture: Ian Burt

Senior Tory activists who signed a petition to oust Theresa May have been branded "deplorable" by one Norfolk party chairman.

Prime Minister Theresa May at the European Council in Brussels where European Union leaders are meeting to discuss Brexit. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA WirePrime Minister Theresa May at the European Council in Brussels where European Union leaders are meeting to discuss Brexit. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Margaret Farrow, who heads up the Great Yarmouth Conservative Association, said she was “quite disgusted” when she heard 70 of her grassroots counterparts across the country had signed a petition calling for an emergency meeting of party bosses in a new bid to force out prime minister Mrs May.

The petition, which needed 65 signatures if a meeting was to be called, blames Mrs May for Brexit being twice delayed.

But Mrs Farrow said: “We've been given a job to do - and Great Yarmouth voted over 70pc to come out of the EU - and I believe Theresa May has done her best. If the Europeans will not give her a better deal, she can't do that much about it.”

Mrs Farrow said it was not a party political situation and added: “We are a democratic country, I believe that we can stand on our own two feet and get by. We're a very strong national group but people like these ones who are going against Theresa May when she's in a position to do what she's set out to do, it's deplorable.”

And she said she was not convinced there was anyone able to do a better job.

She said: “I believe the Europeans like her and accepted her, and she's gone as far as she can go [with them].”

Greg Peck, chairman of the Broadland Conservative Association, said his group did not sign the petition, but he admitted there were a lot of strong views.

He said: “That was the decision of the executive so obviously when we asked there are various different views, some very very strongly held views, but we're a democratic association.

“I don't want to undermine her but on the other hand I think there are very strong feelings.

“I think the problem we've got at the moment is the whole country is divided.”

He added that his personal view was that he was “not happy with the whole situation”.

He said: “It's a disaster.”

If the extraordinary general meeting of the National Conservative Convention goes ahead, a non-binding vote is expected to be held which would - if it showed a lack of confidence - put pressure on the 1922 Committee of Conservative MPs to find a way of forcibly removing the prime minister from office.

It comes as the 18 Tory MPs who make up the executive of the backbench 1922 Committee held an emergency meeting to see if they could change party rules and force another vote of confidence in Mrs May.

She survived a vote in December but both the anti-May MPs and associations represented on the petition want to scrap the rule which prevents a second confidence vote within a year.

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