Wales politics

Tory 'loons' slur: MP David Davies denies party rift

David Davies MP for Monmouth
Image caption David Davis: 'A lot of these things are overblown'

Monmouth MP David Davies has denied a Tory party rift amid claims someone close to the prime minister branded activists "mad, swivel-eyed loons".

Reports claim the term was coined at a party event when blaming them for urging MPs to amend the Queen's Speech.

Mr Davies was among those who backed an amendment criticising the speech for not pledging an EU referendum.

He described the furore as "part of the life of politics" but warned the party not to ignore grassroots views.

Mr Davies said he was cautious about accepting the accuracy of comments reported in the media without attributing the source.

However, given his opposition on the vote on same sex marriage and support for a referendum on Europe, he said he would put himself into the "swivel eyed-loon, fruit cake" category.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Mr Davies said: "It was the mad, swivel-eyed loons who were warning 10 or 12 years ago that the euro would be a complete disaster, that it would be impossible to have one interest rate for the whole European area, and the whole thing would be doomed to fall apart in a rather messy way.

"And I'm sorry to have to say it bluntly, but we were all right.

"So 'mad, swivel-eyed loons' that we have been called and 'fruit cakes' which I have been called, we have been right before and people will recognise that."

'We are not at war'

Despite the headlines, Mr Davies played down speculation of a widening gap between the Conservative party leadership and constituency associations made up of local party members.

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Media captionMonmouth Tory MP David Davies described the furore within the party as "part of the life of politics"

"There have always been these differences passionately put across because that's the way we do things," he said.

"A lot of these things are overblown - we are not at war with each other, we beg to differ.

"Then I open up the papers and I read the whole Conservative party is at war with each other. It's absolute rubbish."

He added: "What you have got here is one anonymous person allegedly saying something else to a journalist.

"We don't know who this person was or even if he exists. The party is not going to fall apart over this.

"I suppose I put myself firmly into the 'swivel-eyed loon, fruit cake' category in an ironic sort of way because I know who those insults were aimed at and it's definitely me."

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