Stamford MP Nick Boles to air his outspoken views on Brexit at ticket-only meeting
The ticket-only meeting at St Martin’s Church in High Street St Martin’s at 7.15pm on Friday, February 8, comes ahead of the rebel MP meeting party officials on Monday to be asked if he wishes to stand again for the Conservatives in the Stamford and Grantham constituency.
Richard Cleaver, who is organising the meeting, said: “This is an open, non-partisan public meeting. It is not being organised under the auspices of any particular interest group.
“It is taking place in reaction to a complaint on Twitter that Nick only ever meets with his own party when he comes to Stamford, and should also meet the public.
“We have 107 people registered so far and registration [via Eventbrite] will remain open until the start of the meeting.”
Mr Boles, who has repeatedly voted against the Government in his efforts to prevent a no-deal Brexit, has also faced calls from many Tory party members and voters to be ‘deselected’ by the Grantham and Stamford Conservative Association.
This week, he told the Sunday Times newspaper: “If they kick me out of the Conservative Party, so be it.”
Association chairman Philip Sagar says Mr Boles will be asked if he intends to stand again, in readiness for a General Election, which commentators say may happen in June.
Mr Sagar says if Mr Boles says ‘yes’, this will go to the following executive meeting several weeks later for approval or not.
If Mr Boles fails to win approval, the matter can then be decided by a postal ballot of party members or he joins a shortlist of potential candidates, whichever the MP chooses.
Mr Sagar told party members this week: “Clearly he still has supporters but with his continuing statements he is losing that support daily if your emails to me are a measure. It is a difficult choice but returning a Conservative MP at the next election has to be the priority. I am trying very hard to reflect the members view as clearly expressed by so many of you.”
Mr Sagar issued the statement, claiming the Sunday Times incorrectly reported he no longer supported the MP. Instead, his support for the MP was now ‘doubtful.’
Mr Sagar told the Mercury: “Too much has been said. I want people to vote for a Conservative candidate. I’m not sure in my heart Nick is a Conservative anymore. We are not extreme right-wingers.
“Much as the heart would like to vote for Nick, I can’t agree with him on his current way of undermining the government.”
In the Sunday Times article, Mr Boles commented: “My association chairman wants me to bend to the will of a small number of people with hardline views rather than stand up for what I believe is in the national interest. This I will not do.”
The controversy follows Mr Boles being interviewed in the Evening Standard on Friday, where the MP spoke of having new friends in other parties, working together to prevent a no deal Brexit.
Mr Boles also told the paper he was a moderniser, a progressive and a disruptor.
The MP also claimed under Theresa May, the Tories have lurched to the Right, and in doing so is “returning to deeply Conservative, shading into reactionary instincts.”
He also said: “The first person who called us (the Conservative Party) as the nasty party was me.”
The article also quoted him as saying: “I’ve imagined leaving [the Tories] a number of times” but he’s “never looked at Labour, the Lib-Dems or SNP and been even tempted to join.”
The Mercury approached Mr Boles for comment but he said he would address the issue in his column and at the meeting.
Tonight's meeting is ticket-only and those without a ticket will not be admitted. To register for a ticket, go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/open-meeting-with-nick-boles-mp-tickets-55649566351
Police make arrest over death threats
- Bedfordshire Police say they have arrested a man following death threats targeted at Nick Boles MP.
The MP reported death threats against him on January 8, January 14 and a threat to burn his house down on January 15.
A spokesperson said: “A man from Luton was arrested on 29 January on suspicion of sending malicious communications and was taken to police custody for questioning. He was later released under investigation, and enquiries are ongoing.”
On Tuesday, Mr Boles tweeted in response to arrests concerning threats against Labour MP Yvette Cooper.
He said: “Good work by the police. I’ve been impressed how quickly they have made arrests in connection with the threats I received. It is good to know we can rely on the thin blue line.”