EXCL Antoinette Sandbach lodges official complaint over fellow Tory’s WhatsApp ‘smear’
A Tory backbencher has lodged a formal complaint with the party after a fellow MP suggested she had been drinking during a heated WhatsApp exchange.
Pro-EU MP Antoinette Sandbach took action after Brexiteer Michael Fabricant asked her: “If you’ve been drinking again, best not to be on social media – even this one. OK?”
Ms Sandbach, who had earlier criticised members of the pro-Brexit European Research Group for attacking fellow Tory MPs, responded: “Extraordinary not a single MP has condemned Michael’s comment. This is the party we have become.”
She then left the group chat.
In an interview with The House magazine, Ms Sandbach accused Mr Fabricant of “smearing" her with “completely unfounded" and "totally untrue” allegations that were "without any basis whatsoever”.
When asked if she had taken further action, she replied: “Yes, I’ve made a formal complaint to the party.”
She added: “He has apologised to me, but he hasn’t apologised for making that comment and he hasn’t retracted it. Frankly, his explanation was that he wanted to shut down debate on Brexit, but you don’t do that by smearing your colleagues.”
Tensions have been running high in Westminster as the impasse over Brexit continues.
When asked whether relations within the Conservative Party were repairable, Ms Sandbach replied: “I don’t know. It depends what happens further. Both the main parties are both split on the issue of Europe. We either have to make a decision or move on.”
She added that she struggled to see “a way forward that doesn’t split our party.”
A Conservative spokesman said: “Our complaints process is private and confidential.”
Mr Fabricant did not respond by time of publication.