I wonder how many local Conservatives will think this is the last straw and move over to UKIP?
Tory HQ has written to Conservative associations warning them not to step out of line on the EU referendum. Well aware that Eurosceptic local Tories are not going to swallow Cameron’s renegotiation package, they are banning them from using any party resources on campaigning to leave:
“The Party Board has decided that Party resources, which includes any buildings, equipment, or finances, must not be made available to either campaign or any third party participants in the campaign.”
Association employees will only be allowed to campaign “in their own spare time”, while “Staff who wish to get more fully involved in the campaign must request unpaid leave of absence”. The draconian rules also state that anyone who expresses an opinion can’t do so as a Tory:
“Individual members of the Party may of course take part in the forthcoming campaign on any side they wish, but they may only do so as individuals and must not suggest that they are representing the Party nor must they make use of any party resource to which they have access.”
There is also a ban on associations holding any public meetings to discuss the referendum. Any discussions must be done in private:
“Associations may wish to hold meetings of members about the Referendum to which both sides of the argument should be put. They may not however hold public meetings.”
So Tory Outers are banned from talking about Europe in public meetings, banned from using their offices or office computers to campaign, and have to make clear they are speaking as individuals not Tories.Come on over, the waters fine! And we are a decent friendly bunch!