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I won't be bullied by extreme Brexiteers

Column by Nick Boles, MP for Grantham

Who do I serve? Is it you the residents of Grantham, Stamford, Bourne and the villages and farms in between? Is it the members of the local Conservative association and those elected to its executive and branches? Is it Theresa May, the Prime Minister, and her Chief Whip? Some of them are demanding loyalty, insisting that I fall in with their way of thinking. The Prime Minister and the Chief Whip demand that I support the Government as it prepares for a “no deal” Brexit. The chairman and officers of my local association demand that I submit to the views of the most extreme Brexiteers in our party, many of whom are former members of UKIP and only joined the Conservative Party in the last few months. Well I won’t do it. I won’t be bullied. Not even when some pathetic inadequate sitting on his sofa in his underpants posts a message on my website calling me a traitor and telling me I should ‘prepare to die’. (Been there, done that, got the T-shirt).

My loyalty - my only loyalty - is to the people I was elected to represent in Parliament. Conservatives and those who voted for other parties or didn’t vote at all. Leavers, Remainers and those who didn’t take part in the referendum. Those who are in their dotage, or at death’s door and those who are too young to vote.

My duty is to think hard about what is in their best interests, to check that I can pursue it in good conscience, and then vote accordingly. I am always happy to listen to the Prime Minister and the Chief Whip, and consider their requests. I am always ready to engage with members of the local Conservative association and hear their views on Brexit or anything else.Most of the time we will probably agree.

But when we don’t, and when I think your interests demand that I break with my party, my Prime Minister or members of my local association, then that is exactly what I will do. I did it twice this week. And I stand ready to do it again.

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