Pro-Brexit campaign group launches bid to deselect Philip Hammond and Amber Rudd
A pro-Brexit campaign group has launched a bid to have Philip Hammond and Amber Rudd deselected as MPs.
Leave.EU, which is chaired and bankrolled by Arron Banks, announced it would write to every home in the Cabinet pair's constituencies to urge people to sign up to their local Conservative association and try to oust them.
Mr Banks, a close ally of former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, said the Chancellor and Home Secretary – both of whom supported last year’s Remain campaign – were part of a “cabal of Westminster MPs” trying to delay the UK’s departure from the European Union.
Mr Hammond has been at the forefront of calls for a lengthy transition phase after the UK formally leaves the EU at the end of March 2019, while Ms Rudd has also been touted as a leading advocate of a so-called "soft Brexit".
“Besides making way for a Cabinet aligned and committed to British independence, their removal will open up the prospect of true blue Brexit MPs representing local constituents once again,” a statement from Leave.EU read.
“A letter will soon be dispatched to every single voter in both constituencies, making the case for this fifth column in the Tory Cabinet to be removed by the only means available to grassroots Conservatives.”
In the letter to be sent to Mr Hammond’s Runnymede and Weybridge constituents, Mr Banks called on Tory voters to join the local party and table a vote of no confidence at an extraordinary general meeting.
“Whether you voted Remain or Leave, Philip Hammond’s actions in dividing the Cabinet are damaging the prospects of a successful Brexit, encouraging the EU to play games with the whole process,” Mr Banks added.
“Unfortunately, we have a political class lacking the self-confidence and ability to stand up for the UK and her people that Brexit should inspire.”
Leave.EU said it did not intend to manage the whole process of deselection, but was “applying the first shove before it gathers its own momentum”.
Ms Rudd narrowly held on to her Hastings & Rye seat in June’s general election, with Labour coming within a few hundred votes of replacing her.
Mr Hammond, meanwhile, holds a majority of more than 18,000 in his Surrey constituency.
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe