Sections of the party's rank and file are so concerned about the South West MEP's re-selection that they are preparing to call on Tory HQ to intervene.
The split stems from Mr Chichester's admission that he wrongly channelled EU funds through a company he helped run – but was later cleared of profiting from the breach of the rules.
EU watchdogs found that the £400,000 had been correctly used for secretarial and assistant services, but the practice contravened rules on MEPs using companies they are connected with to handle the money.
There's more of course:
The rebels are keen not to be publicly seen as divisive but fear Mr Chichester being top of the Tory selection list will not only hit the vote in the EU poll, but also undermine campaigning in county council elections in the region, which take place on the same day, June 4.
Leading activists, including parliamentary candidates and senior councillors, are understood to be so unhappy with Chichester's inclusion they are threatening to down tools and not campaign or even vote for the party.
Always happy to see a federast being unhappy....