Tories ban pro-Remain campaigns from conference brochure
PUBLISHED: 14:12 22 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:12 22 August 2018
Conservative HQ has barred the Best for Britain campaign from publishing an entry in the official party programme for its conference in Birmingham.
Eloise Todd, CEO of the anti-Brexit campaign group, branded the decision to ban the notice for 'Do we need a people’s vote? The Conservative case for a final say on the Brexit deal’ as "outrageous".
The conference is being held at Birmingham’s International Conference Centre (ICC) from the end of September. The ICC opened in 1991, thanks partly - and ironically - to a £50m donation from the EU.
Also banned was a Conservatives for a People's Vote event, described as "a new campaign by Conservative Party members".
Conservative MP Phillip Lee, one of the speakers at the campaign's fringe meeting, has written to party chairman Brandon Lewis asking for an explanation.
Lee, who quit as a justice minister to campaign against the government's Brexit policy and is speaking at both events, said: “I am astonished at this foolish effort to stifle debate about the most important issue to affect our country in my lifetime.
"But rather than anger it is sadness that I feel. Sadness that my Party has become so weak that it cannot support free speech. And sadness that it is not even prepared to consider a way forward that over the half our population now wants.
"The conservatism that I cherish is always open to debate about the future of our great country.”
Ms Todd said: “The Conservative party are trying to stifle debate on Brexit and it has backfired spectacularly.
"As the party of government they should be doing the exact opposite and listening to people around the country, most of whom now want to stay in the our current deal with the EU."
In an email to Best for Britain the Conservative party said: "We reserve the right to decline to publicise a Fringe event without giving any reason."