Senior Tory Damian Green rejected as candidate in next election
Senior Tory Damian Green has been rejected as the party’s candidate for the newly created Weald of Kent constituency.
Mr Green, who was effectively deputy prime minister under Theresa May, said he was “disappointed” not to have been selected.
The MP for Ashford since 1997 chairs the One Nation caucus of centrist Conservative MPs.
He tweeted: “I am disappointed not to have been adopted as the Conservative candidate for the new Weald of Kent seat.
“I am now thinking about what to do next and how I can best continue to work for the people of Ashford and support the Government.”
His deselection fuelled speculation that Tory grassroots campaigners are targeting parliamentarians seen as responsible for Boris Johnson’s departure from No 10.
David Campbell Bannerman, chairman of the Conservative Democratic Organisation, which plans to “restore democracy” within the party, tweeted: “There is now hard evidence MPs allegedly associated with bringing down Boris are being directly held to account and punished by members.”
The organisation led by Brexiteers and Johnson loyalists takes issue with Rishi Sunak’s elevation to Number 10 without a membership vote.
Its vice-president Lord Greenhalgh denied Mr Green’s deselection was linked to Mr Johnson.
I am disappointed not to have been adopted as the Conservative candidate for the new Weald of Kent seat. I am now thinking about what to do next and how I can best continue to work for the people of Ashford and support the Government.
— Damian Green MP (@DamianGreen) February 19, 2023
The Tory peer tweeted: “This had nothing to do with @BorisJohnson but more to do with a system of selection/deselection of MPs that needs fundamental reform.
“That’s what @ConservativeDOr (Conservative Democratic Organisation) stands for. @DamianGreen has been a force for good for decades.”
Mr Green, who is acting chairman of the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, was rejected by the local executive.
He could still put his name forward as the selection of an MP goes to the wider constituency membership.
Mr Green was sacked as a minister in 2017 following an inquiry sparked by former Tory activist Kate Maltby’s claim that he touched her knee in a pub in 2015, and a year later sent her a “suggestive” text message to ask her for a drink after she was pictured wearing a corset.
His sacking also came after allegations about pornography on his parliamentary computers. The Cabinet Office investigation found he had made misleading statements suggesting he was unaware of any indecent material on computers in his office.