The attempt by so-called “man who bankrolled Brexit” Arron Banks, so wealthy he cannot afford to live in his own mansion, to infiltrate the Tory Party, along with his equally unsavoury side-kick Andy Wigmore, has turned out to be a campaign that has developed not necessarily to his advantage. But it has shown superbly how at least one Tory MP wants his party to be given every chance to self-destruct.
Andrew Bridgen. Not the sharpest tool in the box
As the Mail had to admit, “Mr Banks and Mr Wigmore tried to join the party last month through a central application process, but were rejected by the party HQ … [but] A Conservative spokesman [said]: 'Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore's applications for membership of the Conservative Party have not been accepted.’”
The Tories don't like the cut of this fellow's jib ...
But then, the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker had better news for the UKIP stalwarts yesterday. “Millionaire Brexit backer Arron Banks has had his application to join the Conservative Party accepted by a local association, the Mail can reveal … Mr Banks, who bankrolled Leave.EU, and his business partner Andy Wigmore, applied to join the North West Leicestershire association of Tory MP Andrew Bridgen.”
... and they don't like this specimen full stop
There was more. “He has also booked a table for a fundraising event in two weeks, which makes him a party donor … Last night Mr Bridgen, a prominent Brexiteer, said he welcomed them joining the Conservatives and said their applications had been accepted by his association chairman”. Bridgen clearly had no problem with the new arrivals.
Squeaky real presence behind the entryism finger up the bum time
“Addressing criticism of the move, he added: 'Are we saying that people who have been in other parties cannot join the Tories? Because that rules out members of the Cabinet’ … He pointed out that Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, Business Secretary Greg Clarke and former minister Anna Soubry were all members of the defunct SDP”.
There is a problem with that comparison, though: Banks and Wigmore are not making some kind of ideological move to a party that they feel more properly understands their views. They are indulging in entryism in an attempt to drag The Blue Team to the far right.
This is understood by CCHQ, as Sky News has reported. “Conservative officials have again acted to prevent multimillionaire ex-UKIP funder Arron Banks and his associate Andy Wigmore from joining the party … It comes after Tory MP Andrew Bridgen acted in defiance of Theresa May and party bosses by allowing the pair to join his local Conservative association”. And there was more.
“A Tory source said: ‘They can keep on applying but it has not been accepted … And a senior Tory MP told Sky News: ‘Ultimately their local membership will have to come up to CCHQ, when it does I have little doubt that the same reasons that we rejected their applications last time will still stand.’” But good of Bridgen to show his hand.
What Banks, Wigmore and the rest want to do is to foul up the Tory Party. That is what turning it into a far-right and intolerant single issue party would do. This would cause much rejoicing on the left. But it would not be good for our political system.
Andrew Bridgen is trying his damnedest to make the Tories commit suicide. As well as continuing to complain about HS2 eating his house. What a complete numpty.
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