Stanley Johnson slams 'stitch up' over Boris comeback
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The emails have gone in less than 24 hours after 65 Conservative constituency chairs on the National Convention, which helps decide party rules, were contacted by campaigners wanting to Bring Back Boris. So far, it is understood that at least 10 chairs have written to Peter Booth who heads up the convention demanding that they be convened to allow a motion to be passed for members to have a vote on Mr Johnson as leader. It follows 15,000 members signing a petition calling for a vote to keep the Prime Minister as leader.
The campaign, led by former party treasurer Lord Cruddas, has continued to gather momentum since he launched his petition last week.
The Tory peer, one of the wealthiest men in Britain, today wrote to the chief executive of the party Darren Mott offering to pay for the leadership election and a ballot on keeping Mr Johnson in full if the party agreed to it.
The revelation that the ballots for the leadership contest between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have been delayed after intelligence chiefs at GCHQ warned of a cyber-attack had led to calls for the contest to be suspended to allow time for a rule change to give members a vote on keeping Mr Johnson.
But failing that campaigners are using the party’s constitution in a bid to change the rules or force one through the courts.
Significantly, 10,000 signatures from members are enough to trigger a rule change in the Conservative Party and Lord Cruddas has given Tory chiefs until Friday to respond or face legal action.
But now the National Convention, which can also trigger a rule change, has taken up cudgels against the MPs who forced Mr Johnson out.
In an email from one of the chairs seen by Express.co.uk, Mr Booth is asked to convene a meeting of the convention immediately.
The chair, whose name Express.co.uk has agreed not to reveal, wrote: “As a member of the National Convention I am writing to you to request that you convene a meeting of the National Convention urgently so that the following motion is put:
“‘The National Convention strongly recommends to the party board of the Conservative and Unionist Party that it rejects the resignation of Boris Johnson as party leader and further requires the Constitutional College to be convened to amend schedule 2 of the Conservative Party constitution to require the party leader to automatically be added to the ballot pack sent to party members, as a separate confirmatory ballot, for any further leadership contest.
“‘This National Convention recommends to the Constitutional College that such an amendment be made forthwith so that party members of the volunteer run Conservative and Unionist Party will have the final say of our party leader now and in the future.’”
The revolution in the Conservative Party comes after senior Tory MPs suggested that members should not even get a choice of the final two.
But the coup against the Prime Minister appears to have been the tipping point among the 160,000 membership over increasing anger at the way that power has been centralised with MPs and at Conservative headquarters (CCHQ).
Thousands of them voted for Mr Johnson when he was in the final two in 2019 against Jeremy Hunt and then as Prime Minister he won an enormous mandate from 14 million voters in the election.
Just three years later after the row surrounding Partygate MPs forced him out but against the will of the majority of the membership.
A Yougov poll this week of members showed that 58 percent would still choose Mr Johnson over the two leadership contenders, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss.
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Lord Cruddas this week told Express.co.uk the petition had started about Boris but now was about reform of the party as a whole making it democratically accountable to its members.
He has been particualrly critical of the 1922 Committee, chaired by Sir Graham Brady, which represents Tory MPs, sets the leadership rules and was the mechanism used to oust Mr Johnson.
Tonight, he warned: “There is mass discontent within the grassroots members of the Conservative Party, because of the way they have been disenfranchised by a small cabal of MPs who think they can do what they want without referral to members.
“Members are demanding change on how the party is run. They want powers to be removed from the 1922 committee and for the board to be more representative of the members instead of the Parliamentary Party.
“Change is needed and removing Boris for no valid reason will not go without consequences for the board and the 1922 committee. Members are very angry, and they want change and a chance to vote for Boris. Defy them at your peril.”
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