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Tory MP Anne McIntosh vows to fight on after deselection vote
A SENIOR Conservative MP has vowed to fight to retain her seat at the next general election after being de-selected by her local party.
Members of Thirsk and Malton Conservative Association have voted not to readopt MP Anne McIntosh as their candidate for the Tory seat next general election.
The 59-year-old, who has served North Yorkshire constituencies for 17 years, is the first Conservative MP to be deselected by membership ballot since Surrey MP Nick Hawkins in 2004.
Miss McIntosh and leading members of the association attended the ballot count at Conservative Central Headquarters, in London, where four hours after voting closed it was announced she had been deselected.
A source said almost 500 of the association's 540 members voted and that Miss McIntosh lost by “a comfortable margin” .
Miss McIntosh, the only female Conservative MP in Yorkshire, said she would battle to remain the constituency’s MP.
She said: “I have 77,000 constituents who I have faithfully served.
“I have been an utterly loyal member of the Conservative Party both in the European Parliament and at Westminster.
“I do not intend to be thrown aside by a small cabal.
“It is for my constituents as a whole to dismiss me if they wish to do so.”
The MP, who is chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, had been involved in a long-running and bitter dispute with the association’s executive over her style of communication with party activists.
Members of the executive, who are charged with fundraising for the local party, claim Miss McIntosh has refused to inform them about constituency functions and did not deliver on her pledges before being selected for the new constituency in 2009.
The row has seen the executive of the local association, who are volunteers, accused of running a dirty tricks campaign and summoned with their lawyers to Conservative Central Headquarters to answer unspecified charges.
The executive has also denied allegations that their opposition to her was based on sexism and that alternative candidates, including London Mayor Boris Johnson, have been lined up for the safe Conservative seat.
Peter Steveney, the association’s chairman, said: “This has been a stressful time for everyone in our association, including Anne.
“I’m sure all members will join me in uniting and moving forwards to campaign for a Conservative victory in 2015.”
It is understood that as Miss McIntosh remains a Conservative MP she will be able apply to the selection process in Thirsk and Malton in the coming months, but it is thought she may contest the seat as an independent.
Thirsk Conservative councillor Gareth Dadd said: “The constituency association has spoken loud and clear and I look forward to the opportunity of selecting a candidate who will support the work of the community and councillors."
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