Determined Anne McIntosh, who is fighting to remain Ryedale’s MP after next year’s General Election, said that she is resolved to win the seat for the Conservative Party – but has not ruled out standing as an independent Conservative candidate.
Her move came despite the party’s national board saying that the decision of the 560 members of the Thirsk and Malton constituency association to de-select her as their candidate, still stood.
She said this week that she is campaigning for the association to hold an open primary meeting at which constituents of any party, or none, could vote on whether she should be the Conservative candidate.
“The plan remains to press for an open primary” said Ms McIntosh, who was hoping to attend a meeting of the association executive last night.
The Conservative Party Board issued a statement late last week saying that the ballot result would stand, that she was not re-adopted as the candidate and that it was for the association to decide how to select the candidate, including whether to hold an open primary meeting.
“All I have asked for is for the association to be put into supported status as I, and others, believe there has been a number of irregularities – things have been done which should not have been done, and things that should have been done, had not been done.
“No one person is bigger than the party, neither the chairman of the association nor the candidate.”
And, added Ms McIntosh: “I would consider standing as an independent Conservative candidate in the General Election in May 2015, with a view to taking the Conservative whip if returned.”
Prime Minister David Cameron has also become involved and had a meeting with Ms McIntosh a few days ago.
“He promised me that any wrong doing would be investigated and action taken, and I know him to be a man of his word,” she said.
A statement from the Conservative Party said: “The Party Board have 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 re-adopted 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.”
Ms McIntosh 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 the process. That is the most open, transparent and democratic way of selecting a candidate and holding the association together.
“No one person is bigger than the party – the chairman or the candidate who happens in this case to be the sitting MP. We cannot go into a General Election campaign with the party members at odds with each other.”
She added: “If I emerged from an open primary I would work extremely hard to bring both sides together.”
But if a primary is ruled out by the association’s executive, Ms McIntosh said she would consider standing as an Independent candidate in the election, due to be held in May 2015.
Peter Steveney, the association chairman said that the Executive was expected to be discussing the setting up of three new Conservative branches in the constituency. The meeting would also be focussing on “catching up” on issues which had not be discussed in recent weeks because of the voting on Ms McIntosh’s future as the candidate.