Mr Grieve lost a vote of no confidence in his Beaconsfield constituency by 182 to 131 at the association party’s AGM paving the way for his deselection as the local candidate. He has prompted fury among Tory activists for leading attempts to overturn the referendum result and force Britain to Remain in the EU. This involved the MP, who has been branded a “traitor” by many Conservatives, ignoring the manifesto commitments he stood on in the general election.
The efforts to have him deselected were led by long time activist John Strafford, who also runs the Campaign for Conservative Democracy and was supported by Grassroots Conservatives.
Sources at the meeting said the vote was mostly made up of long term party members.
However, Remainers tried to wrongly blame the anger on “entryism” in a bid to paint Mr Grieve as a victim highlighting that one of his opponents was a former Ukip activist Jon Conway.
And Mr Lewis stepped in to insist that Mr Grieve, who has a house in France, has not been deselected and will remain a Tory MP.
He said: “Part of the strength of our party is that we are a broad church. Dominic is somebody who has contributed to Parliament, is a clear strong Conservative and he is an asset to the party.”
But Mr Lewis was warned that any attempt by Central Office to save Mr Grieve would be met with anger by associations around the country.
Senior Conservative Grassroots member councillor Bob Perry, a former chairman of the Hornchurch and Upminster association, said: “Ignoring the vote would be completely undemocratic and Mr Lewis’ comments just bring further shame on the party.”
Meanwhile, Cllr Perry and other current and past association chairs have signed a letter to parliamentarians condemning them for failing to deliver Brexit.
The letter signed by 41 senior activists asked: “Have any of you seriously thought about what you have done to this once great nation of ours? Do you really believe that by turning the UK into a vassal state of the corrupt European Union that you are serving your country?”
It added: “You may dismiss us as those stupid Brexiteers that didn’t know what they were voting for but we assure you that we absolutely did and we would do it again in a heartbeat.
“Ignore us at your peril but let us be clear, if you do, come the next General Election the great British people will deliver you the P.45 you will so richly deserve.”