21 Aug 2018

Conservatives bar People’s Vote campaign from conference brochure

Conservative HQ has barred the Conservatives for a People’s Vote campaign from publishing an entry in the official party programme for October’s conference in Birmingham.

The campaign was only set up a few weeks ago, to encourage Conservatives to campaign for a national vote on final Brexit deal, and part of the wider People’s Vote movement.  Indeed the Conservative arm is so new that they don’t even have a website yet.  But they have arranged a fringe meeting at the Conservative conference, for lunchtime on the Monday, and their speakers will include the former Cabinet Minister Justine Greening; the former minister Dr. Phillip Lee; and Dr Sarah Wollaston.

Like hundreds of other organisations who are holding meetings at this year’s conference they submitted an entry in the programme, together with the necessary “non-refundable” payment for £360.  The entry was submitted well before the deadline, and the group say the party still has their money.

Conservative HQ confirmed to Channel 4 News that they had rejected the entry from Conservatives for a People’s Vote, but they refused to explain why.  “We don’t have to give a reason,” a spokesman told us, “and we are not giving one.”

A campaign source told me: “We think they do not want us to be publicising events that are not in line with government policy.”

Today, one of the speakers Dr. Phillip Lee wrote to the Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis asking for an explanation.

Campaign organiser Patrick Lohlein says his main concern isn’t getting their money back: “We just want to be in the programme.  We have paid for it.”