Former attorney general and committed remain supporter Dominic Grieve has blamed an ex-UKIP parliamentary candidate for orchestrating a vote of no confidence against him in his constituency party.
Grieve lost a no-confidence vote held by his local party in Beaconsfield by 182 to 131 votes and now faces deselection.
Grieve told Sky News “there is clear evidence that there was an orchestrated campaign by my Ukip opponent in 2017, who has since joined the association, with the express intention of trying to come along and defeating the motion.”
He added: “Mr Conway stood against me in 2017. I understand he subsequently informed the association that he had left Ukip, was no longer interested in it and that he wanted to join the association.
“And he actually said he didn’t want to cause any trouble, he just wished to join as an ordinary member. As we’re a broad church, he was admitted.
“But the evidence, I think, is pretty plain that he organised both bringing members into the association and also organised preliminary meetings prior to this AGM taking place for the expressed single purpose of coming to defeat the motion of confidence in me.”
Jon Conway stood against Grieve in 2017, polling 1,609 votes against Grieve’s 36,559.
The former regional organiser for Vote Leave denied he led the campaign to unseat Grieve and said he was the only Ukip activist to join the local party.
“I’m one person out of 183 people who voted no confidence in Dominic last night,” Conway told Sky News. “The fact is, I’ve been a Conservative voter and activist for 35 years, along with 3m other people approximately. We flirted with Ukip because we thought it was the best way of landing Brexit.
“He rightly says that I let the Conservative association know that I wanted to come back to be a Conservative member or voter.”
Conway added: “The truth is I am the one and only single activist from Ukip to have joined the Conservative party in Beaconsfield. That’s the fact.”