Tory MP 'refuses to vote with government after being called thick as mash'

Vegetables and mash

A Tory MP is reported to have refused to vote with the government after a newspaper columnist said colleagues described him as "thick as mash".

Andrew Bridgen, a Brexiteer MP who last week claimed 48 letters of no confidence in Theresa May had been sent but were being hidden by Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the Tories' backbench 1922 committee, is reported to have taken umbrage at a column in Saturday's Times by Matt Chorley.

In it, Chorley wrote that Bridgen, whose business is in pre-washed vegetables, "is known by unkind Tory colleagues as 'spud-u-hate' and 'thick as mash'."

Now, in his Times newsletter this morning, Chorley has claimed that the MP for North West Leicestershire is to stop voting with the government after apparently seeing the comments as a result of briefing by the Conservative leadership.

Chorley, a frequent critic of May, said: "Word reaches me that Andrew Bridgen, the Tory MP, is refusing to vote for the government in protest at my column in The Times on Saturday in which I merely pointed out that his non-stop prediction of Theresa May's imminent downfall, like his grasp of Brexit detail, was a little on the flimsy side.

"Some of his unkind Conservative colleagues called him 'thick as mash'.

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"Well apparently he has got it into his head that the whole thing was a put-up job by the dark forces at the top of the government – because as everybody knows I am a mouthpiece of the May regime.

"He didn't vote on Monday night and has been telling colleagues he wants a full apology from No 10 before he votes again. The whips are aware."

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The New European has contacted Bridgen for comment but he has yet to respond.

Bridegen made headlines last week when he said that he believed Brady had all of the letters required to trigger a vote of no confidence in May but was hiding them.

He said: 'I shall be looking at his office expenses to see whether he has brought a deluxe shredding machine with extra blades.'

And last month he told Radio 5 Live that he and any British citizen was entitled to an Irish passport as part of a special arrangement with the Republic of Ireland - which is incorrect - and then hung up on the presenter.

He had previously tried to overthrow David Cameron as leader, calling for him to be replaced in 2013, then withdrawing a letter of no confidence in 2014 after he failed to attract the support of enough colleagues to trigger a vote of no confidence.

In September he took a break from attacking colleagues by turning his fire on the BBC 6 Music presenter and former Catatonia frontwoman Cerys Matthews after she complained about the number of public-school-educated bands, saying: "This is an appalling example of discrimination which should not be allowed on our 'impartial' BBC.'"

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