Monday, January 28, 2019

Update 2 - Party Members - Basildon Conservatives response

The following email has been sent to Jason Mcquade:

Good afternoon Jason,
 Ref my previous email regarding the suspension of yourself from the Federation , and in line with the original letter this is to advise you
That our next executive meeting will be held on Saturday 9th February at 1400 hrs at the below address and where we will be considering your future membership .
Reasons for Suspension.
 Previous communication has clearly shown you do not support Elected candidates of the conservative party.
 This item will be chaired by an independent Chairman . If you would like to attend , please could you let me know in advance of this meeting.
Please could you also make me aware in advance of the meeting if you intend to bring legal representation of any kind.

The Basildon and Thurrock Conservative Federation have fallen at the first fence.   The "GUIDELINES FOR THE SUSPENSION AND EXPULSION OF MEMBERS OF THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY" state the following in bold type:

It is particularly important to remember that both the letter to the individual and the notice calling the meeting must include a statement setting out full details of the charges.   The statement must be specific, it is not sufficient to simply ask a member to "explain his/her conduct".   The charges shall be the basis of the hearing and will not be added to at any time after the notice has been served.

Quite clearly Basildon have not set out in any detail the charges that have been made, so even if the meeting goes ahead and the motion is passed, there is no doubt that it will be chucked out on appeal.  Why doesn't Basildon and Thurrock drop this ludicrous charge, apologise to Jason, and get on with campaigning for the Conservative Party. 

There is one further point, if every member of the Party had their membership cancelled because they did not support some elected candidates there would be thousands eliminated from membership.   I am afraid that at this moment in time there are quite a number of Conservative MPs who have forgotten or ignored the manifesto on which they were elected, and in such circumstances their members have withdrawn their support.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Update 1 Party Members - Jackie Doyle-Price MP

Jackie Doyle-Price has responded to the blog and makes some important points.   Her email is as follows:

Your blog has been brought to my attention and an article which appears to suggest that a member of my association has been suspended after writing to me.
I can assure you that any correspondence between my constituents and myself has nothing to do with the association.  Indeed it would be quite improper for me to share any correspondence and I utterly resent the suggestion that I would behave in such a way.
It is generally a good idea to check out the facts before putting pen to paper.  There are always two sides to every story.
In so far as your article accuses me of improper behaviour I politely ask that you remove it.
Jackie Doyle-Price

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Does the Tory Party not want any members?

Party Members
            I have recently become quite disturbed about the number of Party members who have been suspended from membership.   This often appears to apply to people who were formerly members of UKIP, but not in all cases.   I know of at least one constituency where the Agent openly boasts about how he is stopping UKIP members from joining the Conservative Party.
            I highlight a particular case which has been brought to my attention.   Jason Mcquade is a member of the Basildon and Thurrock Conservative Association.   On November 17th 2018 he emailed the following letter to his member of parliament:
Hi Jackie,
with the recent developments over the Brexit deal and our current prime ministers handling of this I have no choice but to add my voice to the growing number wanting a change in PM and to see the Brexit we voted for.
The deal offered is not Brexit, it gives all the power to the EU on when and if we even leave forever closing the door to a truly global Britain.
It is a betrayal of the 17.5 million Brexit voters and a betrayal of the majority of Thurrock that simply cannot be allowed to happen.
Our prime minster shows no sign of listening, simply saying it’s her way or no way and this is not true. The mood in parliament and the country is clear this deal must go.
We have seen members of the EU over the last 48 hours gloating about their win on this and demanding more from us on tax control, fishing and defence.
Spain is again talking about taking joint sovereignty of Gibraltar which is again a betrayal of British people, yes they voted heavy for remain for clearly understandable reasons but they have shown more respect for the vote then many within the remain side have done.
On defence it says that the EU will have use of our forces but our government and commanders will have no say in such use. This is yet another betrayal of our armed services that has been harmed greatly since Blair's days.
A look at the ministerial code and law of the land suggests that May has broken both on Brexit and defence.
Jackie we have had our differences, I hope we can both agree they are in the past and we all need to work towards a better future, a future that Brexit will give us. The deal is not Brexit. We know you have the ear of May, you have recently come out in support of leave, I urge you to use this and help us stop this sell out and if she will not listen as I fear will be the case resign from cabinet on the principle you represent one of the biggest leave majorities in the UK.

Kind regards
Jason Mcquade

That day 17th November the Association Management team met and determined that Jason’s membership be suspended and on 1st December Jason was notified by email.    See the following:
Good afternoon Jason,

At a meeting of the Association management team held on the 17th November 2018 it was determined that your membership of the Conservative party be suspended pending a formal expulsion proceedings.
 You will have the opportunity to be heard at the next meeting of the executive council. I will write to you in due course.
 Any member suspended from the party may not participate in any Conservative party activity including attendance at meetings and social events .
 Yours Sincerely,
 Tony Coughlin
 Chairman of Basildon and Thurrock Conservative Federation
Under the Party “Guidelines for the Suspension and Expulsion of Members of the Conservative Party” it states as follow:
  • If it is considered that an individual has breached the constitution and there is a case for an expulsion to be considered by the Executive, an association chairman may call an emergency meeting of the management team, to discuss the immediate suspension of the individual pending a hearing at an Executive.
  • If at that meeting it is decided by a majority vote that the individual is suspended, he or she must be written to within 24 hours of that meeting advising them of the suspension.   The individual must also be advised that they will have an opportunity to be heard at either the next regular meeting of the Executive or earlier if a special Executive is to be convened to deal with the matter (whichever is earlier within the following eight weeks).
You will see from the above that contrary to the “Guidelines”, Jason was not written to within the 24 hours of his suspension.   Secondly, as of today there has been no Executive at which he has been invited to be heard.
Under the “Guidelines”
  • During the time of the suspension, the individual will not be allowed to participate in any party activity or vote.
Also they state:
  • The individual concerned will be given at least fourteen days written notice of an Executive Council meeting at which he or she shall be given an opportunity to be heard and to answer the charges laid against him or her.
  • It is particularly important to remember that both the letter to the individual and the notice calling the meeting must include a statement setting out full details of the charges.   The statement must be specific, it is not sufficient to simply ask a member to “explain his/her conduct”.   The charges shall be the basis of the hearing and will not be added to at any time after the notice has been served.
None of this has been done!
What is quite clear is that the Basildon and Thurrock Conservative Federation have so far not followed these Guidelines, which does not give any confidence that the other parts of the Guidelines will be followed.
So far this case has not followed natural justice or the Conservative Party’s own Guidelines.   I hope this is an isolated case but I fear not.   Perhaps the Chairman of Basildon and Thurrock will respond and take action now!

Monday, January 7, 2019

BCCA member replies to Dominic Grieve MP's Christmas message.

Dominic Grieve MP chose to say in his Christmas message to members: “My preference remains that we should return to the electorate to consult them as to whether or not we should leave on the terms offered or give them the option of expressing a desire to remain in the EU if that is their opinion”.

A Beaconsfield Constituency Conservative Association member replies as follows:

Dominic, many thanks for your Christmas message and I wish you and your family the same and best wishes for 2019.

As you say there are some great challenges ahead this year and beyond which require sound judgment from our lawmakers. I concur that this requires constructive debate including on our future beyond the EU.

However, I sense in your words an inference that it is the other half of the debate that has to be more reasonable? And yet I am afraid that the divisiveness that you seek to address will not be healed if the result of the referendum is not respected. In fact, the resulting democratic deficit will cause irreparable fissures in not just politics but society itself.

Firstly, you talk of  respecting the original referendum but returning to the electorate on the deal?
Surely, if this were the case you would be proposing a second vote between the PM’s deal and leaving without one?

If the PM’s deal is what you and many others say it is, how can the argument be between that and Remaining? There is nothing on such a ballot paper that can possibly appeal to those who wish to Leave and if this were to happen there would quite rightly be indignation and more.

As I have mentioned before, people do not like being taken for fools. The idea that the original question was abstract is a false one; people knew full well and listened hard to the warnings.
They are also aware that we have acted as supplicants in these negotiations and that the facts have not changed, simply the will of our political class to attempt to achieve a result. You yourself admitted at the BCCA AGM this year that the NI issue had been deliberately politicised.

As we approach March 29th there are two things that need to happen. We need to ramp up preparations, belatedly, for leaving without a deal. Secondly, we need to ensure the PM’s deal, which does not deliver a departure and hobbles our negotiating position, does not pass into law in its present form.

Apart from the recent political ructions in Europe, it should be noted that as the ECB announces the end of QE at the end of the year, this is happening at a time when the Eurozone, including Germany, is showing rapid signs of a slowdown (it is more exposed to cyclical slowdown than the service based UK economy). After a monetary stimulus of €1.7trillion, the ECB has very little to show for it. PMI’s are falling hard, Unemployment, particularly amongst the young remains very high, deficit spending is rising, the number of large zombie companies is at 9% and rising, bank NPLs still represent 5.1% of total loans and banks are under capitalised. The Federal Budget that is needed to stave off a Eurozone crisis is proving impossible to deliver.

If ever there were a time to walk away in order to get a sensible deal this is it. But in any case as has been shown by no deal preparations on both sides, the worst of fears will not occur. Planes will fly point-to-point (as they always would under Open Skies). There will be reciprocity in facilitating truck movements and at passport control. The Mayor of Calais has made supporting statements. Side deals are being done to ensure EU entities have vital access to the City. And so the list will grow as we approach the deadline.

Most importantly the Irish are not planning to erect any structures at the border. As anyone who has read WTO documentation, including the recently introduced TFA, will know, a hard border is not a physical border but a line on a map for fiscal purposes.....something that already exists.

In summary, I cannot support your contention that a second referendum, between the PM’s deal and Remaining, respects the democratic process. Neither of these choices delivers on the referendum result, the manifesto or the result of the general election. The facts have not changed, only the political will and leadership to do as promised and this will not go unnoticed.
Most importantly, it will not be a route to heal the divide, it will assuredly focus it more sharply.
I therefore wish to register my strong opposition to your support for a second referendum.