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Tory group leader threatens to challenge party MP Andrea Jenkyns

Coun Nadeem Ahmed claims Andrea Jenkyns is blatantly showboating after she backed a no-confidence vote in Theresa May.
Coun Nadeem Ahmed claims Andrea Jenkyns is blatantly showboating after she backed a no-confidence vote in Theresa May.

The leader of Wakefield’s Conservative group has threatened to challenge his party’s MP Andrea Jenkyns over her “immature” behaviour.

Coun Nadeem Ahmed, who has led the Tories in opposition on Wakefield Council since 2015, claims the Morley and Outwood MP is “blatantly showboating”, after she backed a no-confidence vote in Theresa May.

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Ms Jenkyns reportedly used an expletive to describe the Prime Minister’s strategy for leaving the EU at a party for senior Brexit supporters last week.

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Last weekend she said on live television she would happily back a leadership challenge to Mrs May. Despite backing that threat up in writing along with  other Tory MPs, the number of votes needed to trigger a leadership contest was not reached.

But Coun Ahmed, a Leave voter himself, says that while he agrees with the MP on Brexit, her conduct is “damaging” the party.

And in a BBC interview on Sunday, he said he would be prepared to stand against her if changes to constituency boundaries go ahead.

Under proposals, Morley would be merged with the Batley constituency, while Outwood would link up with Normanton and Castleford.

Speaking on Monday, Coun Ahmed said: “I voted for Brexit myself. I’m not disagreeing with her on that issue. I could probably agree with her on 99 per cent of what she’s saying about Brexit.

“But it’s the way she’s doing it I have a problem with. She’s blatantly showboating. The way she’s going about it is very immature.”

Coun Ahmed said he was particularly irritated by a tweet last Monday, in which Ms Jenkyns called for Boris Johnson to follow David Davis and a junior minister in resigning from the Cabinet, in the hope it would weaken the Prime Minister.

She said: “Come on we need a hat-trick! Boris Johnson let’s be having you! Time for true #Brexiteers to make it happen.”

Coun Ahmed said: “I looked at that, and thought, “You’d expect that from a seven or eight year-old.”

“She’s blocked me on Twitter since last week as well because I didn’t agree with her.

“I do have misgivings myself about the Chequers deal, but the way she and others are carrying on will put Jeremy Corbyn in power.”

Ms Jenkyns told the BBC that Coun Ahmed should concentrate on “being a stronger opposition leader”.

She added: “Bring it on if he wants to challenge me. I’m up for that.”

The chairman of Wakefield Conservatives, David Herdson, said that he was confident that friction within the party would not put voters off.

He added: “Nadeem is doing a very good job as Conservative group leader. I think he’d make an excellent MP if he chooses to do that.”

Ms Jenkyns was elected to Parliament three years ago, unseating Labour’s Ed Balls in the process.

She retained her seat in the 2017 General Election, increasing her majority to more than 2,000 votes.