Conservative Party to unseat local candidate, Bradley Thomas, to parachute in Onward director, Seb Payne 

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This week, CCHQ will trigger a process to unseat locally selected candidate, Bradley Thomas, and parachute in a centrally favoured candidate called Sebastian Payne.

The move is being described by local members in Bromsgrove as an “undemocratic, kangaroo court style process designed as a stitch up to impose London-favoured candidates instead of locally preferred ones.”

Bradley Thomas, who is from Worcestershire, defeated Payne to become the Conservative candidate for Bromsgrove in July.

Sebastian Payne is the director of the Rishi supporting think tank Onward, and depsite the leadership’s support has so far failed to be selected in multiple seats.

Payne is the director of the Rishi supporting think tank Onward, and depsite the leadership’s support has so far failed to be selected in multiple seats. Photo: Onward / Twitter

But just 4 months later, CCHQ has decided to use what one local member describes as a “dirty trick” in the Party’s rulebook in order to impose Payne on the local community.

This will be the first time under the selection process for the upcoming election that this tactic has been deployed.

One local member said that “this is the equivalent of what the parliamentary party did to Liz to get Rishi in.  They don’t like the result so they ride roughshod over the views of ordinary members.  This won’t end well.”

The rules state that a “Special General Meeting” can be convened if either the chairman requests one, or the party board or around 10% of members vote for one.

At the upcoming meeting in Bromsgrove, scheduled for mid-December, there will be a “confirmatory vote” of the candidate.  If Bradley Thomas wins, he will remain the candidate, and if he loses the whole selection process will start again from scratch. 

Bradley Thomas, who is from Worcestershire, defeated Payne to become the Conservative candidate for Bromsgrove in July. Photo credit: Twitter

The Conservative Post understands that CCHQ has received a number of complaints from an individual called Mark Jones, a member of the Bromsgrove association, and a close ally of Payne and Sajid Javid. As a result, there is a “report” sitting in CCHQ, which is the apparent basis for reopening the candidate selection.  

Some members who voted during the July selection are expected to be declared as not having had the standing to vote, because of problems with their party membership status. However, as one local member said, “Nobody has been allowed to see this report – and nobody will. Even the Chairman isn’t allowed to see it.”

The Conservative Post has been told that the report was opened in September, but just one month later the first investigator was removed after he was about to conclude that no rules had been broken. 

The local member further said:

“Nobody has been allowed to see the report, challenge it, key witnesses have been ignored, and they’ve just removed investigators that don’t investigate in the way CCHQ wants them to.  

“If this was an honourable process, nobody would be afraid of transparency.  It’s an undemocratic, kangaroo court style process designed as a stitch up to impose London-favoured candidates instead of locally preferred ones.”

The second investigator is expected to conclude that two members “may” have been ineligible, and CCHQ refuses to name them or give the reasons as to why they lacked standing and continue to do so.

Given that Bradley Thomas’ majority was 5, the removal of two members is not expected to alter the final outcome, if everyone votes as they did in July.  But, as one member put it:

“This has radicalised people and several members have said to me they’ll vote differently because of how appalling this behaviour by CCHQ has been.”

Another Party member said:

“Mark Jones clearly feels as though he’s let down Michael Gove, Saj, No.10 and his London allies.  He stormed out of the room when the vote didn’t go their way in July, and now he’s using every dirty trick in the book to get his way now, probably because he’s embarrassed that he can’t ‘control’ local members and activists.”

6 COMMENTS

  1. Now there’s a surprise. We already have an unelected prime minister and next step is to have unelected minions thrust upon us. Death knell for the party.

  2. When I saw that Bromsgrove had selected Thomas rather than Payne I felt glad that the party had selected someone sensible.

    Payne’s a bit weird isnt he? He comes across as a teenager with all the answers but no actual experience of the real world world outside SW1. Beyond journalism and fronting a thinktank he has no achievements to his name and will founder outside the Westminster bubble.

    I cant imagine, as a party member, being able to ‘sell’ Payne on the doorstep – normal sensible people will see straight through him. Our opponents will have a field-day pointing out his favoured child status among the leadership.

    Dont undo the good work that Sajid and before him Julie have done in making this one of our safer seats.

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