Pro-Brexit campaign group calls for deselection of Norfolks MPs - but associations back them
Archant © 2014
A pro-Brexit campaign group has called for the deselection of two Norfolk MPs.
Leave.EU, which was co-founded by Arron Banks and was investigated by the Electoral Commission for electoral spending, is campaigning for MPs they deem to be “traitors” to be kicked out by members of local Conservatives Associations.
And two of those listed were Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman and Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis - who both voted remain in the EU referendum in 2016.
Andy Wigmore, from Leave.EU, said the two areas were two of the largest supporting leave seats, with 61pc and 72pc voting out respectively. He said: “The voters knew what they were voting for. It is therefore highly regrettable that, despite grassroots Conservatives being overwhelmingly in favour of a clean break from Brussels, both of these elected representatives voted in favour of Theresa May’s disastrous deal - a deal which keeps us tied to the mechanisms of the European Union and hands over £39bn with absolutely nothing guaranteed in return.”
However Mr Freeman said: “I 100pc respect the EU referendum and voted for the Brexit Withdrawal Bill. But the hardline no deal Brexiteers are now infiltrating local Conservative Associations to get MPs like me and Brandon Lewis - who voted remain - in 2016 deselected.”
He added he was now working to avoid a no deal situation and called on leading Conservative Brexiteers such as Jacob Rees-Mogg to condemn the Leave.EU campaign.
Mr Wigmore said Leave.EU had been “inundated with calls from our supporters who are in uproar over the total disregard politicians like George Freeman and Brandon Lewis have had for the result of the referendum”.
However Jamie Athill, chairman of the Mid Norfolk Conservatives, said he had not received any letters from Leave.EU or Conservative members - and they had reselected Mr Freeman as their prospective parliamentary candidate in the event of an election.
He said: “If Leave.EU wrote to me and I’m the chairman, I would not pay any attention. If a million members of the Mid Norfolk Conservatives wrote to me I would have to pay attention. But no one has written to me and said I want to revisit this decision.”
While Barry Coleman, president of Great Yarmouth Conservative Association said the bid was “completely ridiculous”. He said: “I’ve not had any letters. They should put more effort into fighting the likes of Dominic Grieve. We’re completely 100pc behind Brandon, he’s worked extremely hard.”