MEMBERS of a Tory constituency association at war with its MP say they are confident fellow Conservatives will not select her to stand in the next general election.
Canvassing of Thirsk and Malton Conservative Association’s 540 members by opponents of Anne McIntosh MP, claim it has indicated that most will vote not to automatically readopt her.
Should the ballot go against Miss McIntosh, she would become the second prominent Tory in three months to be accused of failing in her constituency duties and left fighting for her political future, following South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo’s deselection in November.
Ahead of the result being announced at Conservative Central Office in London this Friday, a member of the executive, who asked not to be named, said: “We were looking at a comfortable majority at the beginning of this week.
“There may be a few votes still to go in, but I would be very surprised if we have not won.”
During an escalating battle between association officials and Miss McIntosh, who has served as a North Yorkshire MP since 1997, it has emerged the disputes between the MP and numerous different association executives have continued for more than a decade.
In 2009, local party members voted to overturn their executive board's decision and reinstate her as candidate.
Miss McIntosh, the chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, who has repeatedly declined to comment on the ballot, said in December she believed she had the support of the overwhelming majority of constituency party members.
Helmsley guesthouse owner Chris Parkin, a supporter of Miss McIntosh, said he did not believe anyone had robust data to predict the outcome of the ballot would go against Miss McIntosh as votes had been cast in sealed envelopes.
He said: “I would think [the result will be] entirely the opposite to that.”
The predicted result comes three weeks after a confidential Conservative Party report criticising the executive over the way it was formed resurfaced on two websites.
The Northern Echo revealed in December how four voluntary leaders of the association had been summoned to attend hearings over unspecified charges at Conservative Central Office with legal representatives, but party leaders found no grounds for disciplinary action.
The association’s chairman, Major Peter Steveney, said the executive had not been sanctioned as it had worked within the party’s rules as they had understood them and in accordance with advice from senior officials.