McIntosh demands chance to be Tory candidate

Anne McIntosh, MP for Malton Thirsk and Filey.
Anne McIntosh, MP for Malton Thirsk and Filey.
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THIRSK and Malton MP Anne McIntosh has vowed to fight on after the Conservatives closed the door on a re-run of the vote which saw her deselected as the party’s candidate for the 2015 General Election.

Ms McIntosh said she would be campaigning for the local Conservative Association to hold an “open primary” to choose who fights the seat next year.

She held out the prospect of running as an independent Conservative if she does not have the opportunity to win back the right to be the party’s official candidate.

And she drew the Prime Minister into the row, insisting he had promised her fair treatment.

Ms McIntosh was deselected in a postal ballot last month but claimed she had been the victim of “ungentlemanly conduct”.

The Conservative Party issued a statement last night confirming the result would stand.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, Ms McIntosh insisted she had never wanted a rerun of the ballot.

Pointing to a Conservative Party report revealed by the Yorkshire Post earlier this year highlighting the scale of division in the association – in particular with chairman Peter Steveney – she said the matter could only be resolved by an “open primary” where the selection is done publicly and non-party members can vote.

“No one person is bigger than the party, not the chairman of the party or a candidate who happens to be the sitting MP. But we can’t go into the election with the party completely at odds with each other which spills on to the letters page of your newspaper.

“The Prime Minister assured me if there was any wrongdoing it would be corrected and I am sure he will stand by his word.

“I would like to see an open primary and if I emerged from that I would work extremely hard to bring both sides together, to bring the association together.

“If I did not get an open primary I would feel I have been treated deplorably.

“Were I told we couldn’t hold an open primary or I was not permitted to take part I would submit myself to the electorate as an independent candidate with a promise to take the Conservative whip were I re-elected.”

The Yorkshire Post understands there was no formal investigation into last month’s ballot but the party reviewed its conduct and is content there are no grounds for concern.

A Conservative Party statement said: “The Association will proceed with the selection process for a new candidate in due course. It is up to the association and its members to decide on the identity of their candidate and the process the selection takes, such as whether to hold a primary or not, in accordance with its rules.

“Anne McIntosh MP remains on the party’s list of approved candidates and is free to apply for selection in any available seat.”

Inquires to the Thirsk and Malton Conservative Association were being referred to the party headquarters.

If Ms McIntosh stood as an independent it could split the Tory vote in what is currently considered a safe seat.