The Prime Minister is backing the Tory grandee after party association members in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, voted to see their constituency’s MP deselected, Home Office minister Victoria Atkins said. When asked whether Mrs May would step in and help Mr Grieve retaining his seat, Mrs Atkins told Pienaar’s Politics on BBC 5 Live: “The Prime Minister’s been very clear about this. Dominic has given years and years of service to the parliamentary party, to the country, and the fact is that his Ukip opponent used a meeting on Friday to bring about this debate.”
The minister then unleashed her own “frustration” over the events, which unfolded on Friday after Jon Conway, who had been readmitted to the Tory Party after running against Mr Grieve in 2017 as a Ukip candidate, organised the vote.
Mrs Atkins said: “I was very, very frustrated to hear of Dominic’s experiences on Friday.
“He’s a great man. His Ukip opponent has become a member of the party.
“It seems very odd that we’re allowing Ukip.”
The minister added the party “will not stand for that sort of behaviour”, amid fears other Conservative MPs backing a soft Brexit or even a second referendum may face the same challenges of Mr Grieve.
The Beaconsfield MP, who has been representing the constituency in the Commons since 1997, has often spoken in favour of a second Brexit referendum – even attending the People’s Vote march earlier this month.
He has also led efforts to prevent a no deal Brexit and backed MPs wanting to seize the control of the Brexit process from the Government’s hands, sparking the outrage of many Brexiteers.
Mr Grieve has already pledged to remain an MP of his constituency.
He told Sky News after the vote’s results were made public: “At the meeting a very large number of people turned up, around 100 of whom I had certainly never seen or met before in my years as a member of Parliament.
“There is clear evidence that there was an orchestrated campaign by my Ukip opponent in 2017, who has since joined the association, with the express intention of trying to come along and defeating the motion.
“It was a slightly rowdy meeting, although the chair was able to keep it under reasonable control, but certainly it wasn’t the type of Conservative Party meeting that I’m used to attending.”
Many Tory MPs, including Boris Johnson and Sir John Major, spoke out in favour of Mr Grieve.
Mr Johnson wrote on Twitter: “Sad to hear about Dominic Grieve. We disagree about EU but he is a good man and a true Conservative #grieveforbeaconsfield”
Sir John branded the attempt to deselect Mr Grieve “pretty un-Conservative”.
He told BBC1’s Andrew Marr: “It is people of his abilities that the Conservative Party should be attracting, not repelling.”
Two more Tory MPs have faced similar threats in their constituencies for supporting Remain.
The no confidence vote against Orpington MP Jo Johnson, who resigned as a transport minister to back a second Brexit referendum, failed, while Bob Neill didn’t face a vote at all because no one in his Bromley and Chislehurst constituency seconded the motion.