Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Grieve Faces Backlash From Party Faithful

Press Release:

                                  GRIEVE FACES BACKLASH FROM PARTY FAITHFUL
Tory rebel Dominic Grieve is facing a massive backlash and potential de-selection from angry Conservative members in his "safe" seat in Beaconsfield.
Grieve,  the former attorney general,  left many party supporters outraged by his comments to fellow MP’s that he “ …never felt more ashamed to be a member of the Conservative Party or to be asked to lend her (The Prime Minister) support.”
Now after growing discontent from many of his constituents, enough signatures have been raised to force the local association to call for a vote of confidence in the MP at the annual general meeting – ironically on March 29 when the UK was meant to be leaving the European Community.
Local party member Ernie Cochrane said: “We are ashamed to be represented by someone who we feel has been duplicitous, disloyal and not representing our interests.”
The 100 strong group calls itself the Bccademocracy and their mood is best summed up by former European Healthcare finance director, Richard Jenkins who said: “We respect Grieve’s opinion on Europe, whilst disagreeing vehemently with his unfounded predictions of gloom over leaving.
“It is the fact that he stood on a platform to support the government and respect the referendum result. He then voted to trigger Article 50, but all his subsequent actions have been directed to obstructing Brexit and making things difficult for Theresa May and the Conservative government.”
Bruce Goodwin has been frustrated by Grieve’s constant media appearances, whilst allegedly ignoring and not engaging with his constituents.
Another local constituent Catherine Francoise wants to challenge why he has kept secret the minutes of a taxpayer-funded trip to Brussels to meet the EU’s Brexit chief negotiator Michel Barnier last year, with Chuka Umunna and Anna Soubry. She is also concerned the minutes of last year's Beaconsfield AGM did not reflect the heated opposition to Grieve.
Many believe local chairman Santokh Chhokar is not listening to the groundswell of local opinion and he has been accused of attempting to ignore the discontent and also tried to claim that John Strafford, a former local chairman and member for forty years was not entitled to bring the vote of ‘ confidence’ in the MP.
Grieve believes that 'entryism’ has taken place in the local party, but only former UKIP candidate for Beaconsfield Jon Conway is the sole activist from another party to join the local Tories.
Conway said: “I’m hardly a tidal wave of one ‘entryist’ and it’s ironic he persuaded me to believe his pledges to honour the referendum, but is now ashamed of the party he convinced me to rejoin.
“I am hearing time and again, it is not because of his extreme views on the EU, it is because he has gone back on his word and been disloyal to the party and the Prime Minister, that people don’t want him as their MP. I hope he does the honourable thing and resigns.”
Tory member and businesswoman Beryl Dite feels Theresa May should be respected for trying her best. She says: “Grieve is the rebel, not us, we support our party leader and PM, we represent the 17 million who voted to Leave. No-one voted for him to disrupt and delay the way he has.”

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Conservative Party – Dirty Tricks or Cock-Up Update 2

Conservative Party – Dirty Tricks or Cock-Up Update 2
          On 27th February I submitted a motion to the Chairman of “No Confidence in Dominic Grieve MP” for the Annual General Meeting of Beaconsfield Constituency Conservative Association.
On 2nd March I raised with the Agent of the Association that I had received no notification of the renewal of my membership subscription from CCHQ.
On 4th March I was told the motion was rejected because my membership of the Party had lapsed.   On being told this, that day, I and my wife Caroline went to the BCCA office and each of us gave a cheque for £25 in payment of our subscriptions.   I had not received any Notification of Renewal, or Reminder, from the BCCA office, but I had been told in April 2018 that in future CCHQ would be contacting me regarding renewal.
            Today 13th March 2019 I received a letter from Natalie Crosby-Jones, Head of Membership at CCHQ.     Her letter was dated March 2019.   She writes:
Dear Mr Strafford,
Thank you for the support you’ve provided to the Conservatives in the past year.   As a Member, you are a crucial part of our Party, and we are grateful for all the work that you’ve done for us.
She goes on to say that my membership is now overdue and would I renew it today.   Having received the letter I checked my Bank statements to see whether my cheque for £25 had been banked.   It had not.   It is ironic that when I became Chairman of BCCA, one of the first things I had to do was to dismiss the then Agent for incompetence. Top of the list of incompetence was not banking cheques expeditiously.   How standards fall!
If, as per Ms Natalie Crosby-Jones I am still a Member, then why was my motion rejected and who took that decision?
The question now is: Do I cancel my cheque to BCCA and issue a new cheque to CCHQ as requested, or do I wait and see what happens?   You tell me!   I have never known such a shambolic state of affairs, or could it be “Dirty Tricks” to stop the motion going on the Agenda?

Friday, March 8, 2019

Conservative Party - Dirty Tricks or Cock - Up - Update

Conservative Party – Dirty Tricks or Cock-up – Update  

1)      I am told by a journalist who made inquiries about my status, that both Caroline and I are now “continuous members” and will be able to vote at the Annual General Meeting on March 29th.   That is the good news.   The bad news is that we have not yet received receipts for our membership subscriptions or any emails either from the Local Association or CCHQ.   Will we be updated with what we have missed?   The following second notice has now gone out to Association members.   Guess what?   I have not received it!

"Second email

From: Beaconsfield Constituency Conservative Association
Sent: 08 March 2019 15:22
Subject: Official notice of the BCCA AGM
Correction:  Members whose subscriptions lapse before 29th March are NOT eligible to vote unless they renew between now and the 29th.  But if they do renew then their eligibility is confirmed.
Philip Dumville

It is obvious that there is a greater than normal interest from members to attend this meeting.
My advice to you is:-
Plan to arrive early  - the car park will fill up
Bring your current membership card.  Those of you who paid Jan-July 2018 will have received a card from Disraeli House. Those who paid August 2018 - March 2019 will have received a card from Party HQ.
There will be lists at the door identifying current members for checking but if there is a late last minute rush of arrivals, then there will be queues.
Philip Dumville

It is now clear that the action taken against me was a sordid move to stop me putting a motion to the Constituency AGM.   However, the pressure was such that we have got a motion on the Agenda and I hope all Constituency Party members will oppose it.

2)      Last week the Party Chairman (Brandon Lewis) was quoted in the Daily Mail saying that there had been an increase in the number of members paying £25.00.   He refused to give the total number of members.   I understand that members who were paying their subscription by standing order are now being treated as non members if the standing order was less than £25.00.   Constituency Associations are being asked to contact these members to change their standing orders and increase them.   You can guess what may happen – a further loss of members?

3)      Jackson Ng, one of the Deputy Chairmen of the Beaconsfield Constituency Conservative Association, telephoned me to say that he was not consulted and there was no discussion by the officers of the action to be taken against me (see original report).   He was just told it was happening.   In that case who issued the orders?

4)      I am assured by a procedural expert that the President of the Association could refuse to take my proposed amendments as they negate the motion.   In which case we need to think again as to what amendments to put or just to oppose the motion.   Any comments will be welcome.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Conservative Party - Dirty Tricks or Cock-Up. You Decide?

Conservative Party – Dirty Tricks or Cock-up – You Decide?

At the request of the Chairman of the Beaconsfield Constituency Conservative Association (Santokh Chhokar) I had a meeting with him on Wednesday 27th February 2019.   At that meeting I gave him the following letter duly signed and dated:
“To: Chairman, Beaconsfield Constituency Conservative Association
      Secretary, Executive Council, Beaconsfield Constituency Conservative Association  
                        Disraeli House, 12 Aylesbury End, Beaconsfield, HP9 1LW,
Dear Sirs
                                  Annual General Meeting 29th March 2019
Motion for debate: proposed by John E. Strafford and seconded by Jo Sommer:
“The Beaconsfield Constituency Conservative Association has no confidence in the Rt. Hon Dominic Grieve, Q.C., M.P. as the Conservative Member of Parliament for the Constituency of Beaconsfield and should not select him as the Conservative Party Parliamentary Candidate for the next General Election and the Association should immediately start the process of selecting a new Conservative Parliamentary Candidate.
Yours Faithfully
…………………………                                             ………………………
John E. Strafford                                                          Jo Sommer
Could you please acknowledge receipt of the motion, and confirm that it will be put onto the Agenda for the meeting?   Many thanks”.
The following evening, 28th February, at the Bucks Supper Club I spoke to Santokh and he confirmed to me that the officers had discussed my letter and there would be a motion on the Agenda of the AGM.
On Saturday 2nd March I met the Agent and Secretary of the Beaconsfield Constituency Conservative Association (Philip Dumville) and expressed my concern that I did not appear to be getting any emails from CCHQ or indeed from the Constituency Association and in particular I had had no renewal notice for my membership subscription.   The Agent promised to look into this.
On Monday 4th March I received the following email from the Agent Philip Dumville with copies to all the Association Officers:
“Hi John
Further to our conversation on Saturday – you are right – your subscription has not been paid and VoteSource records you as lapsed. 
As a result the motion you sent last week to the Chairman is not valid and is rejected.
Please check your email inbox and spam.  Both you and Caroline should have had separate emails from CCHQ Membership department requesting renewal and giving you membership code numbers to access your record.
Philip “

Needless to say I have not received any emails from CCHQ and neither has my wife, Caroline.   On a matter so important why did they not use recorded delivery?   Why would I raise the question with the Agent if I had received any emails?
I have been a member of the Conservative Party for 56 years, 46 years with the Beaconsfield Constituency Conservative Association.   I was Chairman of the Association for five years.   Traditionally all membership subscriptions became due on 1st January each year and we took great pride as an Association in getting the renewal notices out by 2nd January.    Reminders were sent out on the 1st of February to those who had not paid.   I always waited for the reminder and paid in February.   It was clearly understood that members had three months in which to renew their subscriptions.   I paid my subscription last year on 5th February to BCCA, although I did not get a receipt for it until 4th April 2018, i.e. just after the three months expired, so they presumably did a mass mailing when they knew which members had renewed.   On 24th April 2018 I received an email newsletter from BCCA which said “Later this year CCHQ will start to collect all subscriptions centrally” so I was waiting for them to send me a notice telling me what I had to do.   It never came.
On 4th March 2019 BCCA sent out to its members (not including me) the Notice of Annual General Meeting as follows:
Notice of Annual General Meeting

Members are cordially invited to the Annual General Meeting of Beaconsfield Constituency Conservative Association to be held on Friday 29th March 2019 in the Bulstrode Suite, The Bull Hotel, Gerrards Cross at 8.00 pm.


1.       President – The Rt Hon The Earl Howe - welcome and opening remarks
2.       Minutes of 2018 AGM
3.       To receive and adopt the statement of Accounts for the year ended 31st December 2018
4.       To receive and adopt the Chairman’s Annual Report.
5.       Election of Officers for 2019/20
6.       Appointment of Reporting Accountants
7.       Presentations for 2018
8.       Address by Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP
9.       Motion for debate:
“That the Beaconsfield Constituency Conservative Association expresses its full confidence in the Rt. Hon. Dominic Grieve QC MP as the Member of Parliament for Beaconsfield.”

I am told that the motion has been proposed and seconded by two Vice Presidents of the Association.
Incidentally, today I signed in as a Party member to the CCHQ web site and paid for my registration for the Party Conference.   The money was accepted!

Dirty Tricks or Cock-Up.   You Decide?

What Now
1)      Today, March 4th I went to the offices of BCCA and paid my £25.00 membership subscription as also did my wife Caroline.   However, as a “new” member I am not allowed to vote or to propose or second any motion for three months.   This of course does not prevent me from attending or speaking at the Annual General Meeting.
2)      As there is a motion on the Agenda we can move an amendment to it.   I suggest the motion is amended as follows:
Delete “its full” and insert “no”
Add after “for Beaconsfield” “and should not select him as the Conservative Party Parliamentary Candidate for the next General Election and the Association should immediately start the process of selecting a new Conservative Parliamentary Candidate”.
The amended motion to now read as follows:
“That the Beaconsfield Constituency Conservative Association expresses no confidence in the Rt. Hon. Dominic Grieve QC MP as the Member of Parliament for Beaconsfield and should not select him as the Conservative Party Parliamentary Candidate for the next General Election and the Association should immediately start the process of selecting a new Conservative Parliamentary Candidate”.
Please note: Amendments to a motion have to be taken first, before the motion is put.
3)      Could all members of the Beaconsfield Constituency Conservative Association who agree with the above motion write to me and let me know if they will be attending the Annual General Meeting.   My email address is  
4)      Write to the Constituency Chairman Santokh Chhokar and Party Chairman, Brandon Lewis and complain at this cavalier treatment of the membership.
If the Conservative Party believes in democracy it must allow the members of the Party to determine who their candidate should be for a General Election.   This is an issue of principle.   It is time for Party members to stand up and fight for it.   If we lose the Party is finished.