Tory association chief offered to resign over councillor selection

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The chairman of a Yorkshire Tory association offered her resignation in the wake of a bitter selection row and election defeat, but it was rejected.

Dorothy Clamp, chairman of the Keighley and Ilkley Conservatives, offered to stand down this week due to the row within the group following the decision not to select Craven Ward councillor Adrian Naylor as a Tory candidate in this year’s Bradford Council election.

After Coun Naylor, a former cabinet member, announced he would therefore stand as an independent, details emerged that a year earlier he had been called into a meeting with chief officers following allegations by senior female staff about his behaviour.

Coun Naylor, who strenuously denied any wrongdoing, claimed the meeting was “an issue of perception” and he was the victim of a cynical attack by a “small group of individuals within the local Conservative Party”. He won the seat, defeating Tory candidate Andrew Rowley.

Sources have told the Yorkshire Post that there are now “near irreconcilable differences” within the party following the dispute. Ms Clamp said Keighley and Ilkley MP Kris Hopkins raised a number of concerns about the Coun Naylor situation.

“Following a meeting of the association executive at which complaints were received in relation to the alleged deselection of Councillor Adrian Naylor and other issues, I tendered my resignation as association chairman,” she said. “This was not accepted at the meeting.

“On reflection I have decided to withdraw my resignation in order to answer the issues raised by the constituency MP and the Ilkley Conservative branches.”