Grantham MP under fire for trying to 'frustrate' re-adoption process
The chairman of Grantham & Stamford Conservatives has hit out at local MP Nick Boles for trying to ‘frustrate’ his ‘re-adoption’ process.
Association chairman Philip Sagar told the Journal today that tonight the executive will pass a recommendation for the MP to tell them within 21 days whether or not he wishes to stand again.
Neighbouring constituencies, he continued, have already gone through the process and finalising a candidate was “a matter of good housekeeping".
Asked whether he supported the rebel MP, Mr Sagar responded: “I’m getting more annoyed by the day, especially if the Times is to be believed, that he intends to frustrate people.”
“We want to know now, not when it suits him. On balance, no (I do not support him).”
However, Mr Sagar said it was still too soon to tell which way the reselection process will go for the rebel MP.
“It’s not over for him. It’s all got a bit messy. A lot has been said. I’m trying to reflect the views of the members.”
Tonight, the association’s ruling executive looks set to pass a motion ordering the MP to tell them of his future intentions within 21 days.
However, Mr Boles has reportedly said he won’t tell his party whether he intends to stand again or not.
The Sunday Times reported Mr Boles saying yesterday: “I have no intention of telling them now my plans for an election which is not due to be run until 2022.
“I will make up my mind when I’m fit and ready and certainly well in advance of the 2022 election, but not before.”
Boles told the newspaper he has no idea how that will go down with his local party and predicted it would be the Conservative Party centrally that would have to decide whether to support his timetable or that of his association.
The MP added: “It’s obviously an attempt to give the association an opportunity to vote against my reselection and I’m not intending to give them the pleasure.”
During Friday’s night’s public meeting in Stamford, Mr Boles appeared to offer an olive branch to his association, saying his critics were not ‘extremists’ but ‘loyal patriots.’ Such a move, plus a confident performance, appears to have gained him support.
Mr Sagar continued: “Other members told me they support him based on Friday’s meeting. One guy who wanted to deselect him, he has changed his mind. He (Mr Boles) was on good form on Friday, not like when he was addressing association members and he was defensive and aggressive.”
Mr Sagar added he still doubts Mr Boles himself knows whether he will stand again or not.
“We are not looking for a pleasure (of deselection). We are wanting to know where we stand. Members are upset about his actions in not supporting the government. But there are people I know on the executive who support him. That’s good. That’s how it should be.”
The Grantham Journal sought comment from Mr Boles.