Tories reject Arron Banks’ application for party membership

Tories reject Brexit campaigner Arron Banks’ application for membership amid concerns party is in danger of being heavily infiltrated by hardliners

  • Millionaire founder of Brexit campaign Arron Banks said he joined Conservatives
  • His spin doctor Andy Wigmore also said he was joining the party 
  • But a Tory spokesman said their applications ‘have not been approved’
  • There are concerns the party is in danger of being infiltrated by Brexit hardliners

The Conservatives have turned down an application from a controversial former Ukip donor to join the party.

There are concerns that the party is in danger of being heavily infiltrated by Brexit hardliners.

Arron Banks, the multimillionaire founder of the Brexit campaign who was Ukip’s largest donor, said on social media he had joined the Conservatives.

The pro-Brexit group’s former communications director Andy Wigmore also said he was joining. But a party spokesman said their applications ‘have not been approved’.

Mr Banks reacted to the statement by writing on Twitter: ‘That’s strange because I had a nice welcome letter from (Conservative Party chairman) @BrandonLewis this morning saying you are now activated and welcome to attend any event.’

Arron Banks (right), the multimillionaire founder of the Brexit campaign who was Ukip’s largest donor, said on social media that they had joined the Conservatives. The pro-Brexit group’s former communications director Andy Wigmore (left) also said he was joining

But a Tory spokesman said their applications ‘have not been approved’. Mr Banks reacted to the statement by writing on Twitter: ‘That’s strange because I had a nice welcome letter from (Conservative Party chairman) @BrandonLewis this morning saying you are now activated and welcome to attend any event’ 

Mr Banks and Mr Wigmore have close ties with former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, and styled themselves as the ‘Bad Boys of Brexit’.

Earlier this week Mr Banks called on supporters of Leave.EU to join the Conservatives so they can vote in the party’s next leadership election. Remain-supporting Tory MPs such as Anna Soubry have warned that the Tories are at risk of entryism by supporters of a ‘hard Brexit’. 


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The pair said in an article for Banks’ Westmonster news website that the battle for Brexit ‘is now within the Conservative Party’ and any upcoming leadership election, hence their decision to seek membership.

Mr Banks said: ‘Most of our members are proper conservatives that believe in immigration control, family values, self reliance and prudent management of the economy.

‘My Conservative Party membership lapsed in 2013 and I today joined the party.’

He later tweeted Tory Remainers Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan saying: ‘Play nicely we are family now! Richard Tice makes three out of the four bad boys of Brexit now Conservative members…only Nigel Farage left.’

In June the insurance tycoon was questioned by MPs over alleged links with the Kremlin – but strolled out of the Commons hearing after three hours. He accused the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee of a botched attempt ‘to discredit the Brexit campaign’.

He joked: ‘I like to think I’m an evil genius with a white cat who controls all of democracy, but that’s not true.’

He insisted he never broke the law or worked with Russians. He met Russian embassy officials three times around the time of the referendum. 

Mr Banks was asked on Twitter whether he would attend the upcoming Tory conference, to which he replied ‘why not?’.

Andy Wigmore, also speaking to Westmonster, said: ‘Like thousands of other Brexit supporters I’ve rejoined the Conservative Party to ensure that if there is a leadership contest then I can influence the type of leader the country and the Tory Party need.

‘We need a Brexit leader, one who believes in Brexit and will deliver what 17.4 million people voted for.

‘A strong Tory membership is essential to hold the leadership and MPs to account, if the party continues on its current path then we will not get the Brexit we voted for and will ultimately end up with a Corbyn Government, both are not an option.’

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