Back in November 2006, Anne McIntosh was selected to fight the newly created seat of Thirsk and Malton, which takes in part of her own disappearing Vale of York constituency after forthcoming boundary changes.
To win the nomination for the seat, she surprised many observers by beating John Greenway, the sitting MP for Ryedale, who currently represents two thirds of the new constituency.
However, it would seem that relationships with her senior activists have hit something of a low, since news reaches me that an extraordinary general meeting of the association has been called for Wednesday 2nd September to consider the following motion:
"That this General Meeting of Members of the Thirsk and Malton Conservative Association do hereby deselect Anne McIntosh as their Parliamentary Candidate for the forthcoming Parliamentary General Election. "
It comes not long after two other Conservative MPs (Richard Ottaway and Anne Main) successfully fought motions from their associations over their continuing as the parliamentary candidate for their constituencies - although in this case I understand that there is no connection with allegations about the MP's use of parliamentary allowances.
One well-placed insider tells me that it is a case of relations between Anne McIntosh and her association officers and executive members having "irretrievably broken down", and that things have come to a head with the decision to push it to a deselection - although there is a reluctance on the part of those behind the motion to discuss further details.
I called Ms McIntosh for a reaction at lunchtime on her mobile and she told me that she would call me back "in an hour" on a landline. She is yet to make that call, more than three hours later, but I will add her reaction, if I get it, and any other developments as they emerge.
Further updates appear below...
Monday 1pm update:
I am still yet to get any reaction from Anne McIntosh, although I have been copied in on the following press release which she has just sent out via email:
Monday 17th August 2009
ATTENTION NEWS EDITORS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thirsk and Malton Conservatives Meet to Prepare for General Election
Miss Anne McIntosh, MP for the Vale of York and Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Thirsk and Malton, will be attending a meeting of members of the Thirsk and Malton Conservative Association at 7pm on 2nd September at the Milton Rooms, Malton, to discuss the way forward in preparation for the General Election.
That's my emphasis in bold; if and when Anne McIntosh returns my call, I will add more.
The Northern Echo carries this story this morning, which also includes no reaction from Ms McIntosh:
Miss McIntosh yesterday told The Northern Echo that she would investigate the rumours before commenting further. Gillian Gill, the Conservative party’s agent for the Thirsk and Malton constituency, would only confirm that a meeting would take place. She said: “There is going to be a meeting in Malton the week after next. “We are going to discuss the way forward and how we can move on as an association.” She added that Miss McIntosh would be invited to the meeting.
Wednesday 19th August update:
Anne McIntosh has broke her silence with to The Independent, whom she told:
"I have been overwhelmed by messages of support from all parts of the new constituency in advance of the meeting".
The paper also quotes Simon Wood, the constituency chairman:
"All I can do is confirm that the association is to have a meeting on 2 September, when we will discuss the way forward for the constituency. It would be very inappropriate for me to say anything else ahead of that."