26 July 2019 – 8 August 2019
Watford Conservative Association accuses local MP Rich Harrington, who resigned from the government last March to vote against a ”no-deal” Brexit, of staging a coup. Local Conservatives complain of being locked out of their office and records , and unable to access electronic resources such as their local website, email & twitter accounts. This follows Harrington persuading all three local staff to join him in a new entity, the Conservative Campaign Group, which he controls.
Harrington invited local Tories to join his group; but its launch on 11 July at Watford Palace Theatre was by some accounts highly acrimonious. Critics had claimed beforehand that Harrington was simply trying to hang on to local election machinery ahead of attempts to put up a no-confidence motion as happened in his friend Gauke’s case.
The MP denied that he had ”stolen the association” or that there was a split between ‘‘us & them”. He did admit that some of his local party members were ”Brexit obsessed.”
Tories elsewhere who are thinking of defecting to the Brexit Party will be watching closely. Copycat tactics by Faragistes could see party assets going all over the shop.