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.

AGENDA

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 johnstrafford@btinternet.com  
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.

14 comments:

  1. No doubt about it, dirty tricks.

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  2. are you surprised honesty and integrity are no longer required to become an mp just dishonesty and self advancement what ever the cost to us plebs as long as they line their own pockets

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  3. CCHQ has a track record of distancing the grassroots from the decision making process wherever possible. They've parachuted in candidates 9n spurious grounds & only a strong local association chaiman & officers (With the full backing of members) resist it.
    Along with a gradual shift to liberal Conservatism, the central party has become distant from the association's.
    Only a paradigm shift back to Centre Right politics will bring the central party, MP's & constituency associations back together; at present the centre is embarrassed by the footsoldiers!

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  4. MIKE CLITHEROW - What a Rip Off John. Dirty Tricks Big Time!!! These people have no honour twisting the rules to suit themselves. They well know you are a long term hard working member. They are simply saying "how dare you challange the establishment" we will get you. I have not been chased for this years m/ship fee yet I have been invited to the Manchester Conferance which I accepted paid for my ticket and issued a pass code etc. But according to what you have been told I am not a member.

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  5. Prepare to be out of government for many years. I've been appalled at the undemocratic behaviour of our politicians.

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    1. Couldnt agree more.ive cancelled my membership.may is a disgrace.destroyed the party

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    2. Agree. I am shocked to the core at this lack of democracy and sheer arrogance.

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  6. Possibly cock up as I had to call CCHQ twice in order to get my membership renewed, as no code had arrived - after one was promised - and they said they had been experiencing problems with the system.

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  7. Caroline StraffordMarch 5, 2019 at 12:15 PM

    First comment - surely this shows that the new Party membership procedure is not working. Second comment - we never received details of our Beaconsfield Town Branch AGM details, but have now got them and are attending on 15th March. (3) I do not understand why BCCA is supposed to support its MP continually voting against a Manifesto commitment and a Three Line Whip.

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  8. Difficult one Caroline. Beaconsfield as a matter of concern should be contacting all members who have not renewed. Not sure why this has not happened.

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  9. "If the Conservative Party believes in democracy.... "
    I think we all know the answer to that.
    Oh and by the way, this is an interesting read;
    https://batsby.blogspot.com/2019/03/duplicitous-leaders.html?m=1

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  10. Beyond shocking. And here is a backbench MP conducting UK foreign policy and from his constituency.

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  11. I fear that we are indeed witnessing the destruction of the party. All is in shambles, and seven million British citizens are watching keenly.

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