Flood of hard Brexiteers aims to change face of Tory party
Cabinet ministers who voted ‘remain’ have seen Eurosceptic membership increase in their constituencies
More than half of grassroots Tory parties have been flooded with new members — many to oppose Theresa May’s plans for Brexit — according to a survey of constituency bosses by The Sunday Times.
A clear majority of seats held by cabinet ministers have seen an influx of Eurosceptic members, with the biggest rises in areas represented by “remain” supporters or those backing the prime minister’s Chequers plan, which hard-liners believe is a sell-out to Brussels.
This newspaper approached 275 constituency parties. Of the 75 that responded, 42 said they had seen recent increases in membership, with many noting a change since the Chequers agreement, in which May secured cabinet support for a plan that meant Britain would continue to accept EU rules on goods. Membership had been in decline, roughly halving since 2002.
Tory membership is growing — and it’s scaring the party’s MPs to death
When you talk to a Conservative MP about the transformation of the Labour Party, they often sound as if they were discussing a death in the family. The tone is especially funereal if the MP in question happens to be from the party’s liberal wing.
This is not just because of their fear that Jeremy Corbyn will win the next election, or because of the friendships they formed with Corbyn-sceptic Labour MPs during the referendum campaign, but because they have no doubt that something similar could happen to them.
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