‘Nadine was right!’ Tory chiefs’ plot to replace candidate will ‘unleash chaos’

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Rishi Sunak is facing a Tory grassroots revolt amid allegations that Tory election chiefs are trying to ditch a candidate for a safe seat to parachute in a high flier.

The row has erupted over the selection of a candidate in Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, the seat which former Health Secretary Sajid Javid is vacating at the next election.

Tory members in the seat picked a local councillor Bradley Thomas infuriating many senior Tories who had wanted former Financial Times journalist Seb Payne, now the director of the Onward thinktank, selected instead.

After a complaint was made by a single member CCHQ has ordered the local association to hold a “confirmatory vote” at a Special General Meeting (SGM).

But they have been warned that the “unprecedented move” will “unleash chaos” across the party and that Conservative Party chiefs are “proving Nadine Dorries was right all along”.

READ MORE: Nadine Dorries is not mad, her allegations of a shadowy Tory ‘mafia’ are serious

The former Culture Secretary’s explosive book on the downfall of Boris Johnson, The Plot, has laid bare allegations of a shadowy mafia within the Tories controlling the party through candidate selections and placing people.

The “confirmatory vote” also has echoes of the Brexit referendum with Remainers pushing for a second vote because they did not like the first result.

One local member who was involved in the selection pointed out that like Brexit, Cllr Thomas, a Brexiteer, got 52 percent of the votes while Mr Payne, a Remainer, got 48 percent.

The reason given for the second vote is that there were people involved in the first selection who were ineigible to vote.

But according to sources close to the process, Cllr Thomas had a majority of five while only two people have been identified as ineligible voters.

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One local member told Express.co.uk: “This stinks. This mechanism has never been used before it is unprecedented.

“It seems clear to many of us that CCHQ were unhappy with the decision we made and want to parachute in their own person.

“The original vote was meticulously done with CCHQ there to oversee it and there is no reason to go ahead with this apart from the fact that the single person complaining may have some influence with CCHQ or they want somebody different.”

There has been speculation over who could be parachuted in with Mr Payne at the top of the list as he is close to Michael Gove who was at the heart of the allegations made by Ms Dorries about a shadowy mafia controlling the party.

Mr Payne though has told Express.co.uk he knows nothing about what is happening in Bromsgrove.

There has been further speculation that the seat could be a destination for party chairman Richard Holden who currently does not have a constituency to fight at the next election because his Durham North West seat is disappearing.

But one senior party activist has warned that Tory chiefs have “opened a Pandora’s box” which could see “scores of demands for confirmatory votes”.

The senior activist said: “If they do this in Bromsgrove it will open up the possibility for challenges all around the country.

“There are many situations where the selection has left local members unhappy and we just need a few people to sign a letter to get the whole thing looked at again it seems.

“This will include MPs who have been reselected wthout asking members. There are a number who the local association wanted to deselect.

“If Rishi Sunak does not put a stop to what’s happening in Bromsgrove, it is going to unleash chaos in the party.”

But a source at CCHQ has insisted that “nobody reasonable” would want to hold confirmatory votes as a matter of course.

The source insisted that this unusual second vote was because there were “inellgible voters” in the first ballot.

They said: “There will be no issues with the confirmatory vote”

And they insisted Cllr Thomas remains the candidate.

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