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New row as Tory MP ‘breaches party rules’ by endorsing Lee Anderson and Reform UK

A Tory MP has risked expulsion from the party after appearing to back opposition party Reform UK.

Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher tweeted that voters in Ashfield, Lee Anderson’s constituency, should vote for the Reform UK MP instead of the Conservatives.

The news came after Mr Anderson said he wouldn’t campaign against four of his former Conservative colleagues at the election as they are his “friends”.

In a statement this morning, Mr Anderson said friendship means more to him than party politics, and as such won’t campaign for his new party in the seats of Ben Bradley, Brendan Clarke-Smith, Marco Longhi and Nick Fletcher.

Returning the favour this lunchtime, Mr Fletcher said Mr Anderson should be returned to parliament, implying voters should shun the Tories in Ashfield.

Mr Fletcher said: “I so wish Lee Anderson had remained with the Conservatives.

“However having lost the whip it would mean the Conservative Party would choose someone other than Lee to fight the election in Ashfield.

“I can understand in those circumstances why he joined Reform. Ashfield has its greatest champion and I hope they appreciate what he has done for his home town and his country at the next election.

“I hope my constituents see that a vote for me in Doncaster is also the right thing to do. I am a lone voice in Parliament shouting up for Doncaster.

“We both need to be back in Westminster.”

According to the Tory Party’s official code of conduct, any party member found to be opposing a Tory candidate will likely be expelled from the party.

It says that every party member must not “oppose any Conservative candidate in any election and/or act as the agent for anyone who does”.

The rules state: “If they do, it is an automatic disciplinary offence and if proved is likely to result in expulsion from the Party.”

This afternoon, the Liberal Democrats have said Rishi Sunak must now expel Mr Fletcher from the Conservative Party.

Deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: “It seems even Conservative MPs don’t want the Conservatives to win. Voters are sick to the back teeth of this never-ending circus of infighting.

“Rishi Sunak needs to find his backbone and kick Nick Fletcher out of the Conservative Party. Failure to do so would show yet again that he’s too weak to control his party let alone govern the country.”

The Conservative Party and Whips office have been approached for comment.

A Reform UK spokesman said they will stand candidates against the four Tory MPs Mr Anderson said he won’t campaign against, and Mr Anderson’s truce had been agreed when he defected to the party.

SOURCE

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