HAVANT MP Alan Mak has been accused of misleading Conservative supporters after he pledged to support efforts to keep Britain in the EU.
A senior Tory in the borough says Mr Mak sold himself as a ‘Eurosceptic’ to a panel determining whether he should stand as the party’s parliamentary candidate for last year’s general election.
The source claims the party was pushing for an anti-EU MP to represent them and that’s why Mr Mak won – yet he’s now declared himself a supporter of the campaign for Britain to stay.
Mr Mak was quoted as saying in his pre-election material to residents: ‘We need to get tough with Europe to get a better deal for Britain.
‘Only a Conservative government can deliver the EU referendum we all want. If we don’t get the right deal, we mustn’t be afraid to leave.’
Mr Mak also said he backed ‘lower immigration’ as well as the ‘deportation of foreign criminals and terrorists’.
The Tory insider said Mr Mak wouldn’t have made it to the open primary which determined Havant’s Tory candidate if members knew he would go on to back the EU.
They said: ‘Mr Mak’s position is not what we (the Conservatives) recall from the selection committee.
‘We had quite a clear view that he was very sceptical of Europe.
‘There were a number of people in the early stages who were looking for someone with sceptical views, mainly on the right of the party.
‘We wouldn’t have voted for him if we knew he was incapable of standing up for what he thought was right.
‘If he was planning some short-term populist agenda to get elected, we wouldn’t have approved.’
Yet Mr Mak said: ‘I’ve considered the issues carefully and have come to a reasoned decision.
‘I know some residents disagree, and they can express their views by voting in the referendum where everyone has a separate and equal vote.
‘I was not in the “out” camp or any other camp at the time of my selection or application for the Havant seat.
‘There was no such thing as the referendum. It was just an idea which was later put into our manifesto released during the election campaign.
‘During all stages of the selection and during the election campaign itself, I stuck to the party line which was our relationship with the EU is not good enough, and we should renegotiate and then have a referendum to decide.
‘I have never called myself an “outer”.
Giving his reasons for supporting the ‘in’ campaign, Mr Mak said: ‘Having considered the details of the deal giving Britain a special status in Europe, and local residents’ views, on balance I will vote to remain.
‘The risks of leaving are just too great and put jobs, businesses and family finances across Havant and Britain at risk.
‘The new deal ensures we are in the parts of the EU that work for us, and out of the parts that don’t.’