Tory Party Establishment Gave False Information to BBC to Character Assassinate Bow Group Chair

Backing UKIP: Bow Group members want Tories to vote tactically.

Leaked Conservative Party e-mails have shown how Mr Cameron’s senior team closed ranks and attempted to assassinate the character of the chairman of the oldest Conservative think tank, by feeding the media false information after he suggested that Conservative voters should tactically back UKIP in certain constituencies.

Yesterday the BBC’s Andrew Neil attacked Ben Harris-Quinney for suggesting that he held an honourary role within a Conservative party group in Madrid, which Mr Neil said the Conservative party denied. Mr Harris-Quinney strongly objected.

However, Breitbart London can exclusively reveal that at the time of the interview, Mr Harris-Quinney had in fact not been formally ejected, and that, to the contrary, his status was, and still is, in dispute by the branch itself.

Following the intervention by Harris-Quinney in which the Bow Group suggested that voters  tactically, furious e-mails were sent from the Conservative Party’s national nominating officer Alan Mabbutt, demanding Mr Harris-Quinney’s removal from the Conservatives Abroad, Madrid website. But party activists backed his stance, branded the Conservative national campaign “lacklustre”, and pointed out that he could not be ejected without a formal vote on the matter.

The party insisted that, as Mr Harris-Quinney was no longer a Conservative Party member, he could not be honourary president of the Spanish group, which he helped to found. But one Bow Group insider said “Michael Portillo hasn’t been a member of the Conservative Party for years, in no way does that affect his position as patron.  Hon President is very similar.”

Panicked e-mails flew between Conservative Party HQ and the Conservatives Abroad Madrid Branch overnight, with party staffers demanding: “Please delete all communication regarding Ben [Harris-Quinney] from our website.”

But senior figures fought back robustly, maintaining that “Ben is a member of the Conservative party and Chairman of the Bow Group, as well as the founder of the Madrid branch. This request has no authority. If the branch wishes to consider expelling its founder it should at the very least meet and vote on it and not take orders from headless chickens…”

Further e-mails from Conservatives Abroad activists reveal that the orders came “from above”, with activists repeating that the “headless chickens” of “Central Office” did “not have the authority to expel him from our branch – only we do – or am I mistaken that this branch and unlike everyone I know it is run at the behest of Central Office?”

Mr Harris-Quinney was quizzed about his status on the BBC’s Daily Politics show, where it was claimed that he had been “deleted” from the website. Mr Harris-Quinney remained on the website until last night, and it is understood that Conservatives Abroad has come under intense pressure from party staff close to David Cameron.

The war of words continued during and long after the Daily Politics show yesterday, proving that the “deletion” claim was sparked by Conservative Party HQ. E-mails sent at 8pm on Tuesday maintained a firm defence of Mr Harris-Quinney, stating, “HQ’s wishes are immaterial and their support non-existent… I have spent the best part of 3 days with leaflets in my hand in my constituency (which we will lose despite it being natural Tory territory) and feel this lacklustre campaign might only be saved by the type of tactical voting as expressed by our Hon. President.”

The current chairman of Conservatives Abroad Madrid has confirmed to Breitbart London that the group plans to hold a vote on the matter, despite fierce opposition from Conservative Party headquarters. The current vice-chairman and secretary and former chairman are all understood to back Mr Harris-Quinney’s ongoing patronage.

Olaf Clayton, the Vice Chairman of Madrid Conservatives said “I was dismayed to learn of this ineptly handled attempt to force the removal of our Hon President. This was done without consultation or explanation. No regard was given as to the wishes of the Madrid membership who had unanimously appointed Ben as Hon President for life for his crucial role in establishing the branch over five years ago and who has continued to provide us with much needed and appreciated support. If the branch wishes to review its appointed and elected officers it will do so according to the rules laid out in its constitution.”
The reaction by Conservative Party headquarters is all the more extraordinary as Mr Harris-Quinney’s suggestion is not new. As far back as 2013, Conservative journalist Toby Young was attempting to create an official ‘Unite the Right’ campaign in which voters swapped their votes in order to both support their chosen party and vote tactically.

Writing in the Telegraph blogs, Mr Young said “What I’d like to see is an informal alliance between supporters of both parties whereby they agree to vote for whichever party’s candidate is best-placed to win in their constituency. That is, a jointly-organised tactical voting advisory service. This arrangement wouldn’t require the blessing of the party leaders – it would be a bottom-up initiative rather than top-down. All that’s needed would be a Unite the Right website that informed voters of both parties who the candidate is in each constituency that has the best chance.”

The Bow Group itself also backed the suggestion, holding a Unite the Right event in October 2013 to further investigate the idea.

Ultimately, the plan was abandoned. But some members of both parties continue to believe that an informal tactical alliance between the two right wing parties might be in their best interests. And while the Conservative Party and their friends in the establishment media continue to attack Mr Harris-Quinney, others are willing to defend him.

Speaking to Breitbart London, Brian Cattell, a former Chairman of the Bow Group, said: “The Bow Group has never been an organisation that enforces one particular point of view among its very diverse membership – and I certainly hope that it doesn’t start doing so now.

“The current Chairman has had the courage to speak his mind, and voice a point of view that not every one of his fellow conservatives will agree with – but in our sanitised and timid political culture, that is something that should be welcomed.

“What he is in fact articulating is a principle that all true Conservatives should hold dear – that of ‘Country first, Party Second’. I am sure Ben wants to see a Conservative majority as much as any other member of the party, but he rightly points out that a Miliband-Sturgeon government represents by far the biggest danger to our country. We should all do whatever it takes to prevent such a calamity.”


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