Scottish Tories plot to oust Brexiteer MP
PUBLISHED: 14:03 04 January 2019
Houses of Parliament
Senior Scottish Conservatives are reported to be planning to remove a Brexit-backing MP who supported the attempted coup against Theresa May.
According to the National newspaper in Scotland, local activists have turned against Ross Thomson, the MP for Aberdeen South, and are considering backing a rival for his seat at the next election.
Thomson is a hardline Brexiteer who has aligned himself with Jacob Rees-Mogg’s European Research Group, which launched an unsuccessful attempt to force May out as Conservative leader last month.
He has also pledged to vote against May’s withdrawal deal when it comes before the Commons later this month.
Scottish Tories are understood to have concerns about Thomson’s “immaturity”, citing “various tweets, Facebook entries and hitting the headlines”.
The 31-year-old former Debenhams store trainer made headlines last year after posting wacky pictures and joking about channelling his “inner dictator” during a trip to Saddam Hussein’s infamous military parade ground in Baghdad.
A Conservative insider told the paper: “MPs stand on their record and when it comes to the next election people’s memories are very long. Lack of loyalty is looked down upon,
“He is certainly under pressure. It is not so much because of his views over Brexit, but some of his other behaviour which has not gone down too well – various tweets, Facebook entries and hitting the headlines.
“Loyal Tories are asking if he is the right person. We don’t know how he voted in the no-confidence motion on the prime minister as it was a secret vote, but he is being viewed as not being supportive to the PM.”
Only elected to Westminster last year, Thomson was little known outside Scotland until this year, but has become a vocal critic of May’s Brexit stance.
He acted as a minder to Boris Johnson as he entered the Conservative conference in Birmingham last September, saying “people want to support Boris and others” in their attempts to “change Chequers”. He is said to be nicknamed “SNP Gain” by some in his party.
A leading Aberdeen Tory told the National: “If Ross doesn’t get the support from the local party, he is not going to be put up next time. It doesn’t happen very often, but the procedure is there for him not to be the candidate. Some people are talking about this.
“There is disappointment. Ross was one of our young hopefuls, who would go on to great things, but some of the maturity we expected hasn’t come about.”
A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: “Ross has the support of the Scottish Conservative party, locally and nationally. His views on Brexit are well known to all – and have been long before his election as MP for Aberdeen South.
“We are united and focused on securing the best deal for the UK as we leave the EU and holding a failing SNP government at Holyrood to account.”
Labour MEP Catherine Stihler, a champion of the anti-Brexit campaign group Best for Britain, said: “Studies have shown that Aberdeen will be one of the cities worst affected by Brexit in the entire UK, so it’s no surprise if people are disappointed with their MP being a hardline Brexiteer. By aligning himself with Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nigel Farage, Ross Thomson is neglecting the views of voters and the needs of the most vulnerable people in his city.
“Tory MPs like Ross may pay the price for backing Brexit and be kicked out by either their party or the voters, but it’s the poorest in society who will pay the real price.
“As a supposed pro-UK supporter, I urge Ross not to jeopardise the integrity of the Union and to get behind a people’s vote on Brexit that offers the chance to avoid economic damage for Aberdeen, Scotland and the entire UK.”
Thomson declined to comment to the paper.