Conservative MPs Must Feel The Political Consequences Of Supporting Remain

Ann Sheridan Resignation Letter - Julian Smith

Conservative MPs who contravened the will of party members in order to support the prime minister’s tawdry, deceitful Remain campaign should rightly be afraid for their positions

Hopefully this will be the first of many  dominoes to fall – Ann Sheridan, local activist and committee member for Skipton and Ripon Conservatives, is no longer willing to support her turncoat Tory MP, Julian Smith, who ditched his avowed euroscepticism to slavishly support the prime minister’s Remain campaign.

Sheridan writes:

I do not think it would be right for me to hold a position in the Association of an MP for whom I cannot vote, cannot campaign and cannot support. Julian is absolutely entitled [to] support Remain, he is not entitled to claim that he is a eurosceptic when he is not. He is not entitled to tweet support of George Osborne’s ‘revenge’ budget, which had no chance of passing through the House of Commons, and was simply an attempt to beat and bully the British public into line.

However, the final straw was his retweeting of the deplorable ‘remain’ poster this evening. Effectively saying that many Conservatives are unkind and intolerant simply because they desire accountable democratic government. Julian is an excellent constituency MP but in this campaign he’s acted as a poodle for the worst elements in the Conservative Leadership.

If there is one thing I’ve learned from over the past weeks it is that excessive loyalty to party leaderships is corrosive to faith in democratic politics. Julian epitomises this slavish loyalty and I am not prepared to support him any longer. I could certainly never vote for him again.


If this sentiment is widespread among Conservative constituency activists – and personally speaking, I sincerely hope that it it – then the inferno poised to consume the Conservative Party will be even greater than many had previously anticipated. Good. MPs who either ran for selection or cultivated their subsequent reputations as staunch eurosceptics should be made to suffer the consequences for betraying their constituents on such a fundamental matter as Britain’s future governance and democracy. And while it does not presently seem likely, if a wave of de-selections were to take place (as advocated by Momentum within the Labour Party) then this blog would loudly cheer on the process.

Back in 2010, I supported Rob Halfon‘s campaign to unseat the Labour minister Bill Rammell in my hometown of Harlow, Essex. I now sincerely wish that I had not bothered. Halfon’s timid, tremulous and utterly pessimistic argument for staying in the European Union (“I am voting to stay in the European Union because I am frightened by an uncertain world”) is utterly repulsive, the worst of all reasons for Britain to remain in the EU. It betrays a staggering lack of confidence in the country and people which Halfon represents to the degree that his undeniably good work as a constituency MP is utterly negated.

One of the reasons that there is such a “toxic” political atmosphere in the country at the moment directed at our poor old elites is that the main political parties present a stubborn consensus of opinion which is far from settled in the country. Most MPs in nearly all parties are pro-EU, and all parties have been complicit in handing ever more powers and competencies from Westminster to Brussels, hollowing out our own government.

It is bad enough that the Labour Party supports this process of democratic decay – and in fact there are many reasons why principled left-wingers should support Brexit. But it is even worse that so many MPs from the so-called Conservative Party are also cheerleaders for a supranational government of Europe which actively hollows out and undermines the very institutions, traditions and democracy which conservatives are supposed to value.

The decision by so many Conservative MPs to support the Remain campaign has rightly enraged many small-c conservatives, this blog included. It is a show-stopper, a deal-breaker, something which conservatives of principle cannot forgive, forget or move past on 24 June. For whichever way the referendum goes, the fact will remain that over half the Conservative parliamentary caucus – including the prime minister and his despicable chancellor – may as well belong to the Labour Party, for all the good they are doing in power.

Something needs to change – and realistically this can only take the form of real conservatives abandoning the Tory Party en masse, or forcing these ideology-free careerists from their positions and replacing them with people of principle. And since starting a new political party almost never works, most of us choose the latter option. Conservative MPs who betrayed their principles and their constituents to support keeping Britain in the EU should therefore be rightly afraid for their positions. Because hopefully Ann Sheridan’s public denunciation of her own MP will only be the beginning of a grassroots backlash to mirror the turmoil that will soon engulf Westminster.

And those Conservative MPs who served as loyal cheerleaders for the EU from Day 1, or who ditched their previous euroscepticism either through failure of courage or craven desire to curry favour with David Cameron and George Osborne, might then be made to feel the political consequences of their actions by their local constituency associations.

In fact, this blog’s aspiration for the future political and ministerial careers of those Tory MPs like Julian Smith and Rob Halfon is perfectly captured in Job 38:11:

“Hitherto thou shalt come, and shalt go no further.”


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5 thoughts on “Conservative MPs Must Feel The Political Consequences Of Supporting Remain

  1. judi lotere June 21, 2016 / 8:48 PM

    It’s fantastic that you are getting thoughts from this piece of writing as well as from our
    argument made here.


  2. June 21, 2016 / 9:40 AM

    Samuel, once again your blog has really hit the spot (although, as a Labour leftie, I was somewhat surprised that you are a small-c conservative! However, I find I am mostly in agreement with you concerning turncoats like Varsi. She, and other politicians like her, should get their come-uppance if the vote is to leave . The Tory party is already in serious disarray and will have to sort out their mess come 24 June. What really disturbs me today is listening to various discussions about whether this government would actually support the leave vote in the HoC, if that is the result. It would appear that if the vote is close, ie 49% – 51% in favour of leave, then they can choose not to back it by legal endorsement in the Commons and Lords. Someone said, MP’s are our representatives, not our delegates. What is the legal difference between the two? I don’t know. (I think I’ve just worked out the difference – a delegate to a conference is mandated by his/her organisation to put forward a certain view, whilst a representative has to put the view of ALL their constituents, those of differing views within the same organisation).

    This is why I like the name, Semi-Partisan politics – we are most certainly a broad church.


    • Douglas Carter June 21, 2016 / 9:53 AM

      When you place your vote, the system we have in place recognises solely one value of it – the identity of the Candidate themselves. It holds no obligation to party or to policy or manifesto promise. Those aspects can be discarded, redefined or supplanted on an infinitely pliable basis.

      Upon a ‘leave’ vote, none of these MPs can be legally held to honour the actual result returned by the electorate. It’s also worth noting that no substantive promise has been made by Parliament collectively to recognise a Leave vote. You may have heard variants of phrases which sound like they would – but they come with disqualifying caveats. (Classic one, for example, being ‘…well, as far as I’m concerned….’. That spins on the definition of ‘I’ – the specific individual. The hidden definition being ‘Me – private citizen’ and not ‘Me – Constituency MP’)

      As individual MPs they have the legal support to refuse to endorse the result. They can resign their party whip and vote against. They can point to an arcane paragraph in their Constituency Electoral Manifesto which might say something like ‘I promise this Constituency that I will remain committed to EU membership’. Upon a ‘Leave’ vote that candidate may then say to the Constituency voters – ‘Now I’m confused, you sent me to Parliament to ensure we remained inside the EU and now you’re telling me something different. So I’m going to hold a By-Election to sort out the confusion’.

      Whilst it would be extremely unwise of Parliament to act in this way – against the electorate – don’t rule out how obstinate, arrogant, vain and self-destructive our MPs of this ilk are. It’s also a commonplace for Parliament to act in defiance of any form of reasonable decent democratic cultural terms.

      In immediate terms up to – say – Sunday next, there is no evidence available in any respect that the decision returned by the electorate in the event of a Leave vote would initiate anything other than a massive Civil War in the Conservative Party, and a Constitutional crisis between electorate and Parliament. A punitive General Election held soon is more likely than Parliament actually engaging in a process to withdraw from the EU.


  3. harrydowling June 20, 2016 / 2:49 PM

    If the Conservative Party cannot be cleansed of its careerist, elitist elements and its cosy relationship with the antidemocratic establishment, then a new party must be formed to take its place.


    • Samuel Hooper June 20, 2016 / 3:08 PM

      I agree, and thanks for commenting. But since starting a new political party is much harder (unless it is formed by breakaway MPs from an existing party, giving it an immediate parliamentary presence) I think we should focus first on improving the calibre of the Conservative Party’s parliamentary caucus through deselections etc.


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