Lord Cruddas on why he stopped donating to the Conservative Party
A major conference of Conservative grassroots rebels has opened with a call for a change of the party’s constitution to end the power of MPs to stage a coup against a sitting leader.
Lord Cruddas opened the Conservative Democratic Organisation (CDO) conference in Bournemouth with a condemnation of the way Boris Johnson was removed by a group of around 60 Tory MPs.
He also hit out at the coup which saw Liz Truss ushered out of governent in just 49 days and then replaced by Rishi Sunak who never received a mandate from the party membership.
Lord Cruddas said: “Fewer than 60 Conservative MPs decided to ignore 14 million voters and force the resignation of our sitting Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“This was done un-democratically with systematic resignations, collusion, secret meetings and plotting behind the back of our elected leader, by Conservative MPs, including some of the 1922 committee, who were complicit in this shameful and appalling behaviour.”
The peer, who was a party treasurer, helped found the CDO with former MEP David Campbell Bannerman and Conservative Post editor Claire Bullivant to restore democracy in the Conservative Party.
The three helped spearhead a campaign to try to change party rules to allow members to have a vote on whether a leader should go.
Lord Cruddas told the Tory activists: “We knew from the responses to our campaign that members wanted their say having worked so hard to get Boris elected.
“It was not an unreasonable request after our stunning landslide victory in 2019 the biggest since 1987.
“But our request was denied by CCHQ, the board, and the 1922 committee who all had the power to change the leadership campaign, to give members a voice, within the rules of the Conservative Party constitution.”
He accused the party leadership of trying to “silence members”.
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He said: “Whatever way you look at it the constructive removal of our sitting Prime Minister was an abuse of power and members were powerless to do anything about it.
“We were powerless because the power and control of the Conservative Party is centralised through CCHQ, the CPP and the 1922 committee.
“And that lack of members power is why we are here today and why the Conservative Democratic Organisation was created.”
Reflecting a lot of the anger in the hall over the recent disastrous local election results, Lord Cruddas said that Conservative MPs must “never be allowed again” to remove a sitting Prime Minister.
He also raised fears that the Rishi Sunak government is reversing pledges in the 2019 manifesto and moving away from Conservative values.
The peer said: “Are we seeing the reversal of the 2019 manifesto, by moving us closer to the European Union, via the Windsor Framework? Which directly breaches the 2019 manifesto.
“Are we being moved to be a centre left party or social democratic party of higher taxes, aligned with the European Union by delaying the repeal of retained EU laws, keeping us inside the ECHR and not securing our borders.
“These are left-wing policies that the Labour Party stand for and that won them only 30 per cent of General Elections over the last 100 years.”
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