RYEDALE MP Anne McIntosh has vowed to continue her fight to be reselected as the Conservative candidate despite suffering another setback at the annual meeting of her constituency party.
Last week’s meeting at the Milton Rooms, Malton, saw several changes of officials of the Thirsk and Malton Conservative Association, including the retirement of chairman Peter Steveney, who was replaced by Kenelm Storey.
Mr Storey, 51, of Settrington, served as the association’s vice-chairman when it refused to readopt Miss McIntosh as its prospective parliamentary candidate.
Members of the association said the vote, which went against candidates who declared themselves as supporters of Ms McIntosh, was crucial as the incoming executive will decide both the form of the candidate selection process and the shortlist of candidates for the safe Tory seat.
Mr Steveney said: “There was a resounding vote of confidence in the new team. We had a very good turnout at the meeting.”
It is understood the annual meeting attracted a record turnout, with more than two-thirds of members voting for Mr Storey.
Speaking after the meeting, Ms McIntosh said: “There was a strong field of nominations for the various positions in the party, with only one not being contested. It shows there is a wealth of people prepared to give their time and energy locally to support the Conservative party.”
“For me it is still business as usual, representing all the people in my constituency, and especially speaking up on their behalf in Parliament on such major issues as the farming industry, the fishing industry at Filey, and the concerns over flooding as Chairman of the Government’s Defra Select Committee, as well as the many other matters which the people in the division raise with me.”
She added that she was currently working to support leading Tory MEP Tim Kirkhope in his re-election campaign, as well as the other Conservative candidates in the Yorkshire and Humber region.
Speculation has been growing that Ms McIntosh could trigger a by-election to win the backing of her constituency.
Her supporters feel it will be easier for her to win as an independent in a by-election, possibly held on the same day as the European elections in May.
A spokesman for the Conservative Party, said: “The Party Board has resolved that the result of the ballot of the members of the Thirsk and Malton Conservative Association, which took place on January 31, stands and, as a result, Anne McIntosh MP has not been readopted as the association’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate.
“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.”