RYEDALE MP Anne McIntosh has vowed to continue working hard for the constituency she has “faithfully served” following the decision to de-select her.
Miss McIntosh, Yorkshire’s only female Conservative MP, lost a ballot of about 560 local party members on Friday.
However, she has vowed to stand at the next General Election and thanked people for the support shown since the decision was announced. Miss McIntosh said: “I am still the MP for Thirsk, Malton and Filey, and I shall be working hard, as I have always have done for my constituents.”
Miss McIntosh added: “As I am at liberty to apply to stand as a candidate for any constituency in the country, perhaps a positive way forward is to hold an open primary for the Conservative nomination in Thirsk, Malton and Filey for all residents to decide who their candidate should be.”
Miss McIntosh, who became an MP in 1997 and won a majority of nearly 11,000 at the 2010 election after surviving a similar attempt to de-select her, said the result of the candidacy vote had been very narrow.
She is expected to meet Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss the situation, and attend an executive meeting of the constituency’s Conservative association next week.
“I have been given permission by Conservative Central Office to have a post-mortem into the way the campaign was run against me,” Miss McIntosh said. “I have also been bolstered by the many messages from well-wishers following the vote result, including offers of help and financial support to retain my position as the MP for the division in May next year.”
Peter Steveney, chairman of the local Conservative association, said they had reached a very clear democratic decision not to re-adopt AnnMcIntosh as their Prospective Parliamentary Candidate.
“This brings to a close an extraordinarily painful episode. It has taken too long to resolve, and has been made more acrimonious by Party rules which sought to suppress free debate,” he said. “I can confirm also that we expect Anne McIntosh to serve as our Conservative MP until the next General Election. Her threat after the ballot result ‘to stand for Thirsk, Malton and Filey constituency at the next election’ is however ill-judged and unwelcome — and we urge her to reflect upon it, particularly in relation to her declarations of continuing loyalty to the Conservative Party.”
Mr Steveney said that it was beyond dispute that she had divided the association and constituency. “Further disruption or an attempt to split the General Election vote, would be pointlessly destructive. We must all move on,” he said. “In that spirit, a selection process will go forward as soon as possible, under Party rules, to find a new candidate.
“For the avoidance of doubt, there is not and never has been a ‘preferred candidate’, nor has there ever been any prejudice whatsoever in this association against female candidates. We shall hope to receive the widest possible range of applications from qualified candidates for the privilege of representing Thirsk and Malton in the next Parliament.”
It is understood there could be an investigation into the procedure that has been followed.