NE Cambs Tories decide against debating motion critical of their MP and Brexit secretary Steve Barclay claiming it would be 'political suicide' to do so

PUBLISHED: 17:33 25 January 2019

MP and Brexit minister Steve Barclay has been spared the possibility of embarassment after his consituency party refused to debate criticial of his stance on Brexit.  Picture: JOHN ELWORTHY

MP and Brexit minister Steve Barclay has been spared the possibility of embarassment after his consituency party refused to debate criticial of his stance on Brexit. Picture: JOHN ELWORTHY

Archant

A motion critical of MP and Brexit secretary Steve Barclay that was to have been debated this weekend by his NE Cambs constituency executive has been pulled after party workers concluded it would be ‘political suicide’.

Several hours after officials were phoned by the minister after the motion became public, the executive committee pulled the plug on any debate.

The committee has told Tory Party members in the Fens that the motion – put forward by a Chatteris member – had not followed the rules of the association and so therefore was unconstitutional.

The minister’s executive committee was being called upon to vote on an emergency motion claiming “no deal is better than a bad deal’ and that the UK must leave Europe on March 31 no matter the consequences.

The strongly worded motion claimed “several” Tory Party members had lost confidence in Mr Barclay as he “pursues support of a bad deal which is not in line with the constituency determination to leave the EU”.

The motion had been filed by a Chatteris branch member of the NE Cambs Conservative Association and initially it had been agreed it could be discussed at an executive committee on Sunday.

It needed two thirds of those present and who are entitled to vote agree to allow the motion as urgent business then the executive will debate and vote on it.

However I understand that the party activist had jumped the gun by not submitting the motion through his Chatteris branch chairman – as required by the rule book -and instead had sent it direct to the party’s executive committee.

The motion had wanted support for the following:

* That the policy of “No deal is better than a bad deal” is right and that Theresa May’s deal is a bad deal which in its current form leaves us beholden to the EU

*That the NE Cambs association has reservations about the actions of Stephen Barclay as he pursues support of a bad deal which is not in line with the constituency determination to leave the EU, (indeed several members said that they had lost confidence in him and several saw no value in voting if Parliament ignored constituency views)

*As a strong negotiating tool, the Government should maintain the policy of leaving the EU with no deal and withholding the £39 billion payment completely or until an appropriate deal is made

*Expresses absolute disgust with those MPs within and beyond the Cabinet who fail to support the commitment of the 2016 referendum and the 2017 manifesto to leave the EU and believe that they should have the whip withdrawn

The meeting, taking place in Wisbech on Sunday evening, had been called to discuss selection of candidates for the forthcoming local elections. That will still go ahead.

No-one within the NE Cambs association would comment on reports that Mr Barclay had phoned officials on Thursday night after news of the motion was leaked.

However the official conceded that it would be “political suicide” for internal divisions on Brexit to surface ahead of next week’s crucial votes in Parliament.

In a recent interview with the BBC, Mr Barclay said he hoped to remain in post even if Britain were to leave the EU on March without a deal. He said he would be on hand to help oversee the process.

Questioned directly as to whether he would stay even if Britain left without a deal, he replied: “Yes, I would because I need to manage the risk, we as the government would need to manage those risks.”

He added: “But no one wants a no deal scenario because it would be disruptiv

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