LONDON — Brexit campaign group Leave.EU is attempting to trigger the deselection of Chancellor Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd because they say they are trying to frustrate Brexit.
The pro-Leave group — bankrolled by Arron Banks and backed by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage — said it is planning to send a letter to every voter in Hammond’s constituency of Runnymede & Weybridge and Rudd’s constituency of Hastings & Rye encouraging them to deselect the Tory MPs.
In a press release, the group says “today’s Tory party is conservative only in name” and this is an “initiative to excite traditional conservative voters” into “reclaiming their destiny.”
The UK government has since the Brexit vote struggled to articulate a unified position on Brexit and in recent weeks has been embroiled in public fall outs over key aspects of Britain’s departure, such as a transition period after leaving the European Union and the possibility of importing chlorinated chicken from the USA as part of a free trade deal.
Prime Minister Theresa May has been hampered by a divided cabinet since the shock election result where she lost her majority in Parliament.
Leave.EU said that: “Besides making way for a cabinet aligned and committed to British independence, their removal will open up the prospect of true blue Brexit MPs representing local constituents once again.
“A letter will soon be dispatched to every single voter in both constituencies, making the case for this fifth column in the Tory cabinet to be removed by the only means available to grassroots Conservatives.”
Hammond is the Cabinet’s leading moderate voice on Brexit and has urged his colleagues to embrace a softer Brexit based on transitional arrangements. The government will release a paper on Tuesday confirming its desire to negotiate a transitional customs union deal in order to protect British business from falling off a cliff-edge.
In the letter that will be sent out to Hammond’s constituents, Leave.EU chairman Arron Banks said: “He is part of a cabal of Westminster MPs who believe that if they can delay exit, they can overturn the wishes of the 52% who despite threats from the political classes drew upon the courage of their conviction at the ballot box.”
Banks wrote Hammond “is proposing a lengthy and unnecessary”transition’ period of up to three years beyond the date that Britain will formally leave the EU in March 2019. This would mean that free movement and financial contributions would continue until at least April 2022.”