© European Union , 218 / Photo: Etienne Ansotte

"The revolt in the party in the country at large over Theresa May’s Brexit betrayal is now reaching boiling point", writes Tory MP Andrew Bridgen for The Pavlovic Today.

With Conservative MPs now heading off on their summer holidays, the heat has gone out of the party’s Brexit debate at Westminster. Even Theresa May is taking time out and resting up in Italy. But far from cooling down, the revolt in the party in the country at large over Theresa May’s Brexit betrayal is now reaching boiling point. Up and down the land, local Conservative associations are quite simply in an uproar over the Prime Minister’s Chequers deal capitulation. Our grassroots activists – the bedrock of our party – want Mrs. May to abandon her disastrous proposals or fall on her sword. Even the chairman of my own North-West Leicestershire association – about as true-blue loyalist as they come – has written to the PM asking her to consider her position.

Talk to fellow Tory Brexiteer MPs and they report that since that Chequers debacle, people are flocking to join their local party associations. Why? Not to register their support for Mrs. May but because they sense a leadership election is in the offing and they want to ensure a true Brexiteer wins it. They want to join existing party members in ensuring that the 2016 referendum Leave result is faithfully implemented – not pathetically bartered away to the bullies of Brussels. But most of all, the Tory grassroots want to be faithful to our party’s manifesto at the general election last year – a manifesto that promised a real Brexit, free of the suffocating grasp of continental judges and unelected eurocrats. They want to be loyal to our sacred election pledges. Now, at the mention of loyalty, I can hear the snorts of derision from Mrs.and  destroy May’s misguided circle of Europhile consiglieres.

How can I as someone who has signed and submitted a call for a no-confidence vote in my party leader speak of loyalty? Because loyalty – the so-called secret weapon of the Tory party down the ages – applies first and foremost to principle, not to an individual leader.

It has to run in both directions and must always be to our Country, our constituents and our Party, not to a here today, gone tomorrow political figure, be she Prime Minister or not. What is at stake here is the very future of our Country and the Conservative Party.

If Mrs. May succeeds in forcing through her grubby Chequers plot, it will both diminish and destroy our party’s reputation once and for all. We will have turned our backs on the biggest popular mandate ever registered in these islands. But more than that, we will have betrayed democracy itself. En route to her Italian vacation last week, Mrs. May stopped off for Brexit talks in the Austrian city of Salzburg where the Sound of Music was filmed. I am sure I was not the only Brexiteer Tory humming a familiar tune and wondering: How do we solve a problem like Theresa?  

Andrew Bridgen

Andrew Bridgen is a Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire.