Former Universities Minister Sam Gyimah has become the latest target of the Blue Wave campaign led by Arron Banks, the businessman who helped fund the Leave.EU campaign, according to a leaked document seen by the Sunday Times. The report shows Mr Gyimah, who is MP for East Surrey, could soon be hit by a no-confidence motion, as a petition circulating among the constituency party members is “very near” to get to 50 signatures, the amount required to trigger a vote.
Mr Gyimah also branded the Prime Minister’s Brexit agreement a “deal in name only”.
The former minister is a supporter of the People’s Vote campaign calling for a second referendum, and was one of those Tories who threw their hats in the ring at the beginning of the Tory leadership contest.
The document also reveals approximately 44 members of the Business Secretary Greg Clark’s local Tory association have also signed a petition.
And more Conservative MPs are also at risks of deselection, with petitions circulating in the constituencies of Chairman of the Conservative Party Brandon Lewis, Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, Energy Minister Claire Perry, Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood and former frontbenchers Oliver Letwin, Guto Bebb and Richard Harrington.
Dominic Grieve, Tory MP for Beaconsfield and supporter of a second Brexit referendum, has been the first victim of this deselection campaign.
However, he kept his seat as he was given a reprieve from the deselection by his local party – but warned against continuing to campaign against Brexit.
The Leave.EU deselection campaign is far from being secretive, as it is publicly advertised on the group’s website.
The campaign invites whoever is “dissatisfied” with their Tory MPs to get get in touch with campaigners.
The page dedicated to the deselection of Remainers also presents a photo depicting Anna Soubry, Mr Gyimah, Mr Grieve and other Tory MPs with the caption reading “deselect the Tory traitors – the time is now. Who’s next?”
This comes as the 160,000 Tory members are to decide who is going to be the next Conservative leader between Brexiteer Boris Johnson and Remain-voter Jeremy Hunt.