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Memo to Tory MPs: denigrating the membership is a really bad idea

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In the wake of the Brexit referendum, one Labour MP rationalised the effort to unseat Jeremy Corbyn, who had been elected party leader less than a year earlier with one of the greatest mandates in the party’s history, as an act of mercy. “There are always going to be 500,000 people in the country who are off-the-page nuts. The problem we’ve got is that they have all joined the Labour party because of Jeremy Corbyn,” he told Tim Shipman in All Out War. “It slowly dawned on us that the man’s insane and the people around him are too. To think you can run a political party with 172 of your colleagues having no confidence in you is insane.”

A few months later, Labour members returned Corbyn with an even greater majority; less than a year after that he led the party to an increase of 30 seats and 10% in vote share at a general election. It turned out that thinking you can run a party while ignoring what 60% of it wanted was the truly ridiculous idea. Who knew?

Apparently, not the Conservatives. A popular insurrection among Tories, at almost every level, has been growing for some time and is set to intensify in the coming weeks. For the most part the energy has centred around getting rid of the prime minister, Theresa May – something MPs tried to do in December but failed and, according to Tory rules, cannot now attempt again for another year. Grassroots Tories are now demanding an extraordinary general meeting to pave the way for another vote of no confidence; others are circulating a petition to change the party constitution so they could hold another no confidence vote sooner; some MPs are calling for an indicative vote of no confidence.

But the mood is gathering momentum lower down. Last month former Tory MP Nick Boles resigned from his local Grantham party, where he was likely to be deselected because he favoured a soft........

© The Guardian