Steven Woolfe has been rejected from joining the Tory Party, as the Conservatives allegedly seek to exclude a wave of Brexiteers attempting to sign up.
The former UKIP leadership hopeful and independent Member of the European Parliament (MEP) slammed the decision by Conservative Headquarters (CCHQ) and is considering appealing.
“I understand that [CCHQ] has confirmed my application to join the Conservative Party has been rejected, despite previous confirmatory email [and] no communication of this to me,” he wrote on social media.
“I am of course disappointed when the Party needs all Brexit supporting conservatives behind them.”
Mr Woolfe said he now is “considering his options for appeal” and claims he has been encouraged by “huge support I’ve received from the grassroots and Conservative MPs”.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 16, 2016
Anti-Brexit Tory MPs, including Anna Soubry, have recently raised concerns about what they perceive as “entryism” into the party by right-wing people, after the Leave.EU founder Arron Banks urged Brexiteers to sign up and support a clean Brexit.
In contrast, in 2015, the UKIP MEP Amjad Bashir was welcomed by CCHQ when he defected to the Tories, despite allegations of financial irregularities.
Mr Banks himself was blocked from joining the Tories after he argued an influx of Brexiteers could influence a future leadership battle by voting for a supporter of the Leave campaign.
Other Tories have hit back, saying it appears strange that ideologically conservative people who back Brexit are being blocked from the Conservative Party as it pursues Brexit.
Utterly baffling. @Steven_Woolfe is the epitome of @UKIP moderation – thoughtful, intelligent, eloquent, and a sincere Christian. If @CCHQPress is closed to this sort of Brexiteer joining the @Conservatives, they need to explain the new Test Act of philosophical orthodoxy. https://t.co/zNdLzhY2Sp
— Adrian Hilton (@Adrian_Hilton) September 13, 2018
Over the weekend, Mr Woolfe told the Business Insider website he was aiming to “make the Conservative party conservative again” and push back against a “soft” Brexit.
“I believe there is an opportunity for the Conservative party to reassess its own standing, and adopt some stronger core, conservative values,” he said.
“It’s now up to those on the Remain side like Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston to argue that their brand of Conservatism matches those who are joining the party.
“For us, they have got a long way to go. While people like Jacob Rees-Mogg have more in common with ourselves.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 24, 2018