Dominic Grieve loses confidence vote over Brexit debate
Conservative MP and prominent remainer Dominic Grieve has suffered a vote of no confidence after a “rowdy” Brexit discussion in his Beaconsfield constituency on Friday.
Grieve lost the vote 182 to 131 at Beaconsfield’s Conservative association’s annual general meeting.
The association’s chair Jackson NG said that the vote followed a “robust discussion” on Brexit, where Grieve had “failed to retain” the association’s confidence in him as an MP.
Grieve, a former attorney general, has been a loud proponent of a second referendum and an advocate for greater parliamentary control over Brexit. On March 23rd he addressed the estimated one million protesters at the People’s Vote demonstration.
There has been a public show of cross-party support for Grieve by MPs on Twitter.
Former Conservative MP and member of newly formed Change UK, Anna Soubry, has described the vote as “disgraceful.” She tweeted: “More evidence that the uncompromising dogmatic right is running the Conservatives.”
Former Minister Alistair Burt asked: “Where on earth are we heading with situations like this?”
Labour MP Stella Creasy has praised Grieve’s experience, capability, and principles “despite disagree[ing] on many things.”
Former chancellor George Osbourne has said: “The Tory Leadership can stop any deselection if it wants – we frequently did.”
Current Conservative party chairman Brandon Lewis has also offered his support for Grieve and says the vote has no formal standing.
In the immediate term Grieve remains in his seat, but a meeting by the association is to take place “as soon as possible” to discuss his future standing.
Grieve has himself criticised the vote, describing it as an “orchestrated and organised campaign”, even accusing his former UKIP opponent Jon Conway of “insurgency”.
Grieve said: “There is clear evidence that there was an orchestrated campaign by my UKIP opponent in 2017, who has since joined the association.”
Conway has denied the accusations, telling Sky News: “I’m one person of 183 people who voted no confidence in Dominic last night.”
Conway described himself as part of “the majority”: “[Grieve’s] the rebel, not us.”
Beaconsfield resident and chairman of the Campaign for Conservative Democracy John Stafford has stated: “[Grieve’s] has betrayed the people of Beaconsfield and the nation.”
Grieve has expressed that he has no intention of standing down, but would need to achieve re-selection by the local association to stand in the next general election.
The vote is a heavy indication of the further internal fraction and division facing Britain’s major political parties as the Brexit debate continues.