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But I am reliably informed this morning that the selection there has been suspended and it will be re-run in October. Anyone who has already applied need not re-apply.
My understanding is that those responsible for the process had not adhered to the correct selection procedures in terms of running a fair and open selection in which all applicants were given the same opportunities to be selected for the seat.
The Wycombe Conservative Association website this morning carries an extraordinary statement claiming that not a single association member supports CCHQ. It reads:
"Yesterday (Tuesday 15th September 2009) Eric Pickles MP, Chairman of the Conservative Party, suspended the selection of Candidates in the Wycombe Constituency because of an alleged irregularity. Of course the biggest irregularity was his imposition on Wycombe Conservative Association of Rules handed down by CCHQ which do not appear to have been properly ratified properly and which are contrary to that part of the Constitution of Wycombe Conservative Association that was imposed on it by CCHQ in the first place. The whole selection process appears to have been ultra vires thanks to Mr Pickles. The website has yet to find a single member of WCA that supports CCHQ. At least we will have a chance now to rerun the selection with a fair procedure.
"Wycombe Conservative Association note the Conservative policy of eradicating top down government. Regrettably Pickles does not understand that policy. He also does not understand that he has no authority whatsoever to suspend a committee of the Executive Council of Wycombe Conservative Association."
I am reliably informed that this statement is not an official statement released on behalf of the association, but rather has been posted as a freelance operation by someone within the local party wth access to the website. Curiouser and curiouser... It has not been changed in the website to read as follows:
"Yesterday (Tuesday 15th September 2009) Eric Pickles MP, Chairman of the Conservative Party, suspended procedure for the selection of Candidates in the Wycombe Constituency because of an alleged irregularity. The selection procedure was being conducted by a Selection Committee of the Executive Council of Wycombe Conservative Association, but it appears that this action was taken without any direct communication with any of the officers of the Association. It is also unclear until the Executive Council meet what the effect of the purported suspension is."
The Bucks Free Press reports this morning that David Moore has resigned from the association's management committee for posting the above statement on the website yesterday:
Mr Moore, the association’s web manager, told the Free Press: “I embarrassed Wycombe Conservative Association and the appropriate thing for me to do was to resign from the committee.”
The paper also has more details of the saga.