OUSTED MP Anne McIntosh must wait to find out if an American-style open primary is possible in the constituency.

Miss McIntosh has spoken of her desire for an open competition for potential Conservative candidates in the Thirsk and Malton constituency.

But a leaked letter sent by the chairman to local party members appears to have poured cold water on the suggestion.

The letter, sent by chairman Major Peter Steveney, said he wanted to see the selection of the next Tory candidate in the constituency carried out in the normal way.

Miss McIntosh, who was dropped as the party’s candidate in a postal ballot of local party members in January, has called for an open ballot giving all registered voters chance to have their say, regardless of party affiliation.

She said: “I believe the only way to bring the association together and unite behind one candidate is to hold an open primary to select the candidate and that I be allowed to submit myself to that process.

“That is the most open, transparent and democratic way of selecting a candidate.”

But Major Steveney’s letter, which said the association could at last move forward, states the local party has no idea who will apply for the candidacy, and will not comment on individual names.

A spokesman for the association said the selection process was run by the Thirsk and Malton association with the party HQ’s candidates department, and the selection process would be decided on by the association members.

In a statement, the local party added: “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. Furthermore, the candidate selections for constituencies like Thirsk and Malton have all been postponed until after the European elections in May.”

• Miss McIntosh has welcomed this week’s National Apprenticeship Week and praised the companies providing training places and apprenticeships in the area.

She said: “Training and skills are the pathway to future prosperity for young people living in Thirsk, Malton and Filey.”

“Through apprenticeships and training young people learn skills or a trade which equips them for an opportunity to reach their full potential.”