Coffee House

How we fired Anne McIntosh MP

5 February 2014

2:40 PM

5 February 2014

2:40 PM

The decision not to reselect Anne McIntosh, as seen by one of her local party members.

One evening last March I was standing at the back of the crowded annual meeting of Thirsk and Malton Conservative Association, observing in a semi-detached way as a rank-and-file member. Our MP, Anne McIntosh, was delivering an angry speech against the association’s chairman, Peter Steveney, and its executive council, who had voted two months earlier not to reselect her as parliamentary candidate for 2015 — a decision confirmed by a membership ballot last week. She paused to scan the room, dropped her voice half an octave, and snarled: ‘Martin Vander Weyer, where are you? Put your hand up so I can see you…’

It was a glimpse of the personality that has set neighbour against neighbour in this placid district of North Yorkshire. McIntosh is a hardworking Westminster MP, with (like Tim Yeo, who was also kicked out this week by a ballot of his South Suffolk constituents) significant power and profile as chair of a select committee. But in this and her previous seat, Vale of York, she has been a divisive figure, crossing swords with many people while winning fulsome praise from others.

Her venom in my direction, I gathered, was provoked by a column in the Malton Gazette and Herald in which I reminded readers that she had survived a deselection bid by a previous committee in 2009 but that party rules prevented her opponents from explaining directly to members and the wider electorate why they wanted rid of her. ‘I don’t think that’s good enough,’ I wrote. ‘We all need to hear why Anne and her local committee keep falling out… Letters to the editor please.’

The Gazette’s letters page is the crucible of debate on local issues, but few correspondents were exercised on this one and few journalists elsewhere picked up the story — until last month, when the ballot opened to decide Miss McIntosh’s fate. Then the media storm erupted. At its heart were the ‘dirty tricks’ of a ‘cabal’ led by a ‘galloping major’, whose agenda all along had been to replace the MP they regarded as a ‘silly little girl’ with ‘Cameron’s Eton chum’; this was ‘the Tories’ Falkirk’.

Back to all that in a moment. After the AGM, McIntosh had demanded a party inquiry into events leading to last January’s vote against her. She got one. Its proceedings were secret, and there were warnings that any breach would lead to expulsion from the party. That didn’t stop its findings being leaked to Westminster journalists half a day before they reached Yorkshire; but the full report remained buried until shortly before the ballot closed, when a McIntosh supporter published it on her campaign website. Ordered to take it down, he published it again on a website that advertises his B&B. It stayed there just long enough for the Yorkshire Post to launch the ‘dirty tricks’ rocket.


How dirty were the tricks? The chief allegation was that in 2012, chairman Steveney (a former cavalry officer and Jockey Club official) expanded the association’s executive council to include representatives of electoral wards that did not have active Conservative branches. The panel quoted a rule that ‘representation should be “from each Ward or Polling District branch” (not from each Ward or Polling District)’, and said the rule was ‘designed to prevent an unrepresentative “takeover” of an executive council’, a phrase much quoted after the leaked publication; but the panel did not suggest Steveney had attempted such a takeover. It simply said he had misinterpreted the rules and must go through the restructuring exercise and -reselection vote a second time.

Steveney and his colleagues’ rebuttal, now also in the public domain, never received a response from party HQ. It pointed out that the panel had ignored the role of regional officials who advised on the restructuring, and the fact that a senior party agent, Maurice Cook, had not called it out of order when challenged to do so at the AGM.

So that’s not much of a dirty trick, and neither was a letter to members from Steveney last February urging them ‘to think very carefully before making your decision [in the event of a ballot] to ensure that you feel confident that you have the whole story. If you are not sure please write or email me and I will respond personally.’

The panel said this was ‘self-evidently damaging to Miss McIntosh’s reputation and offered her no right of reply’. To which Steveney retorted: ‘It is certainly not self-evident (perhaps the panel simply could not articulate why they thought it was evident) that the sentence was damaging’, and called the assertion about right of reply ‘plain wrong’, since McIntosh, unlike the chairman, had a right to address the membership in writing in the event of a ballot. A point to the galloping major there. He was neither ‘heavily criticised’ on this, as some reports claimed, nor disciplined; he was just asked to ‘be more careful in future’.

Not dealt with in the report, but much enjoyed by the media last week, was the phantom ‘preferred candidate’. His name is Edward Legard: Eton-educated, ex-army, barrister and local baronet’s son. He has stayed scrupulously out of the fray, but all those facts make him a perfect identikit for Anne McIntosh’s claim that the landed gentry want to oust her — she’s the sort of feisty modern woman they can’t handle, she says — and replace her with one of their own.

But it’s a fiction, or a paranoid fantasy. Not since pre-Thatcher days have shire Tory grandees been able to slip favoured chaps into safe seats. I have never heard anyone in Thirsk and Malton say anything other than that they would like a choice of good candidates, preferably not called McIntosh. Nor have I ever heard ‘silly little girl’— she is, after all, almost 60. Despite the ‘stench of misogyny’ sniffed by the Daily Mail, numerous of the members who have called for her to go were women.

And the Mail may have dented the chance of a McIntosh fightback by highlighting the fact that Legard and David Cameron are similar in age, inferring that ‘the Tory high command is keen for the Prime Minister’s suave Eton chum to take over’. ‘We’re convinced No. 10 is behind him,’ a McIntosh supporter told the paper. That will have gone down badly in Downing Street, and may have lost McIntosh support from Cameron, who was persuaded to praise her in September as ‘one of our most assiduous MPs’.

But as she has said herself, politics is ‘rough and tumble’. She’s a fighter, and I respect the ferocity of her survival instinct a lot more than I respect what I have observed of the Conservative party hierarchy at work in this episode: high-handed, unable to control its own people, rule-driven when it suits but arbitrary when it doesn’t, coldly unresponsive to loyal volunteers. After two deselections in a week, this may look like a democratic Tory Spring, but to the powers that be we’re just the troublesome ‘turnip Taleban’.

How does this story end — apart from turning a true-blue seat into a potential marginal? Anne McIntosh refused to accept the outcome of a second restructuring of the executive approved by the party’s chief legal officer, so it never took a second vote on her, and party chairman Lord Feldman imposed a ballot of all 560 members of the association instead. The details of such votes are secret; only ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ is announced. But Conservative Home says the turnout was 88 per cent, McIntosh supporters say the margin was ‘a small percentage’, and her opponents say it was ‘clear’. It’s a fair guess that about half the membership voted against her — more than ever voted to adopt her.

But it isn’t over yet. On the Millbank pavement outside the Conservative HQ on Friday she declared her intention to stand for Thirsk and Malton in 2015 — either as an independent or by somehow reinserting herself into the selection process. Hearts sank across Yorkshire, and no doubt in party HQ too: whether you’re for her or against her or trying to referee, more mayhem looms. The latest news is that she is seeking a meeting with the Prime Minister: if I were her I would apologise for causing so much embarrassment and hope to be quietly translated to the House of Lords, free at last from uppity constituents.

Martin Vander Weyer is business editor of The Spectator

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Show comments
  • Chris Clark

    The difficulty Martin Vander Weyer has with this situation is over the credibility gap the Thirsk and Malton Conservative Association now has with it’s Tory constituents.

    I note that the membership has scraped up to 560, yet over 44,000 constituents voted at the last General Election, of which 20,167 were Tory. So why should a tiny rump group of 488, which represents just over 2% of the local Tory vote feel they should decide the outcome without also asking their local voters (properly) for their opinion? In London, the RMT’s Bob Crow has been accused of starting a tube strike with little membership support seriously inconveniencing Londoners, yet he has a far more representative case than this Association has!

    And as Association actions have now turned the seat into a marginal, I would suggest the local Tory voters would not have approved of their action.

    Sarah Wollaston and others have called for a much wider referendum, That is what should be done here.

    • JamesdelaMare

      Yet short of having a system of primaries, there’s no alternative but to find some way to choose a party candidate. It’s always (or for a very, very long time) been done through the local associations of all the parties except in a few odd cases when a candidate has been dumped onto a constituency by Conservative Central Office or a trade union. These days people are not interested in belonging to a political party local association. There are many varying reasons for that – ask anybody. If they got nearly 500 members to vote, that’s not bad going. Yet the local associations are what bring the activists out at election times when they’re needed, and they are aren’t going to turn out for McIntosh if they have reasons to dislike her as their candidate.

      • Marjorie Simpsoin

        I am sure Miss McIntosh will have plenty of support from what I have heard. Regardless of statements made here she has been an excellent MP although she is not going to put up with being commanded to do as certain people believe she should. She is the MP and quite capable of dealing with issues within the parliamentary party. The MP is not selected to be directed by the voluntary party she is there to help her constituents and net as many improvements to the area that can be achieved.

        • JamesdelaMare

          Yes, indeed. She represents all her constituents – once she is elected. But being elected depends on several factors, including having the support of enough constituency party workers at election time. I believe we should now have a full Royal Commission on the entire system of our democracy in Britain and its processes because of the now widespread discredit too many issues have shown up in recent times. Local selection of candidates is only one area where trouble arises.

      • Chris Clark

        Well, agreed that is one way, James. What they could have done is simply do an email poll of sentiment (asking straight questions presumably) to the Thirsk voters and get representative opinion – it’s what MPs and councillors round here do about 4-6 times a year. We do this with our campaigns too fairly often.

        They’d have saved themselves all this trouble and avoided being lampooned by the rest of the country too.

        • JamesdelaMare

          The system has grown in such a haphazard manner over the decades, Chris, that it takes more than e-mail polls to get it right. It needs a full in-depth examination by a very high level body (a Royal Commission) to make recommendations on how we proceed for the next 50 years. Quite obviously the present system is not going to last for much longer without a total collapse of voter confidence. Quite apart from McIntosh they are now faced with the breakup of the UK and very serious challenges to EU membership. Personally I have no confidence at all that either Cameron or Miliband will be able to cope with all this – and I don’t suppose you do either.

          But at least some of us think about it honestly and constructively, which is more than can be said for most commenters on here who simply slag off the other party they dislike, come what may, in one comment column after another, and under assumed codenames.

          • Chris Clark

            Agreed generally James.

            There is however this present unkindness by this particular constituency association. I’m keen to get these attitudes out of politics too, and if/as soon as Anne McIntosh does stand as a Thirsk Independent, as a Hillingdon London Labour voter, last week I publicly pledged a modest donation, in writing, to support her.

            • JamesdelaMare

              The unkindness isn’t only at Thirsk. It’s vile and it’s endemic. It’s a pollutant of UK politics everywhere because the status and rewards of office are so great that even good people will stoop sometimes to get them. And of course it pollutes government everywhere. That’s why they ought to look for reforms. Moreover it’s why I was opposed to ridding the Lords of the hereditaries because for all the theoretical faults, they at least could (and still do) have a more objective altruistic view of government. I’ve known enough of them to consider that true. A donation to McIntosh’s independent campaign? – a decent generous gesture. But probably not one which would find much favour here!

              • Chris Clark


  • yannix

    Another reason, as if one were needed, why party politics does not work for the majority; did it ever? We must stop voting for political parties, and start debating a new way forward in the running of our country BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE, and not for a selected few for the good of themselves and their rich ‘masters’ and mates. Stop voting for them, you are just encouraging them.

  • Tubby_Isaacs

    If you chuck someone out, you have to consider that they might run as an independent.
    She’s as entitled to run as anyone.

  • Prompt Critical

    And what exactly did her constituents have against her? I think we should be told!

  • Angela Coleman

    What Martin fails to mention is that he lost out in the selection for the Vale of York to the same Anne McIntosh, so no bias or lingering grudge there then!

    • Martin Vander Weyer

      That’s very old news. Here’s what I wrote in the Malton Gazette and Herald a year ago:

      “I have often welcomed Anne to Helmsley and long forgiven her for beating me in the candidate selection process for the Vale of York seat in the mid-1990s. When the association’s previous committee tried to de-select her in 2009 I discussed the issues with her and attended the climactic meeting with an open mind — though in the end, after listening to processions of speakers from both camps, I voted against her.”

      • sarahsmith232

        I believe you may be not only too irresponsible to be a member of the Conservatives, I think you are probably too stupid also.

        • JohnCK

          Good God; woman, if you are a woman? Don’t you ever give it a rest – in fact don’t you ever switch on brain before typing anything. You can’t be as stupid as you show yourself in your posts on this thread; you’re a Troll.

  • Marjorie Simpsoin

    I have experienced something like this before in the Conservative Party and having read some of the comments here and on other Social Media sites I feel the need to make my observations on this matter.
    Firstly this lady is chairman of a parliamentary committee and has recently been supported by members of parliament who recognized all the hard work she has put into her job. I read a comment by a Mr Morall on facebook where he described her as a “naff” MP. If this had been the case they would not have needed to make any changes whatsoever to the organisation of the constituency as the excetive would also have been annoyed with her and would have voted her out without a problem. However, to remove her it was thought necessary to change the constitution, change the make up of the executive, refuse her the opportunity of including a letter or leaflet with the ballot paper and then constituency volunteers and presumably enemies canvassed the 560 members saying goodness knows what.
    I have personally seen this type of treachery in practiced where executive members appear representing branches that do not have a committee. Those who would vote for the person concerned would not be allowed to attend, no one would be allowed to speak for her, number of two members from a branch is changed to six or even ten in one case. In short the members of the executive are handpicked to vote against. Character assassinations are the order of the day and they have no regard for the damage they are causing that human being. Once they have succeeded in their quest they continue their destruction of the person through the press or local media.
    I can assure everyone that these people do exist in the Northern Area some of whom, as has been highlighted in this case, do not like women. I have never met Ann McIntosh but I know that she will have done nothing wrong and will have worked tirelessly for the area of Thirsk and Malton. I wish her luck in the future and encourage her to go forward as people will understand an injustice should be fought.

    • Chris Clark

      Marjorie, you might be interested to know that there were 20,167 Tory voters at the last election, and only 488 of the 560 Constituency members voted, giving a local representation of just over 2%! The immediate result was to turn the seat into a marginal, so clearly the Constituency Association are not on board with the voters.

      It seems to me that the right thing to do here is either lose the seat (thereby naturally forcing an executive committee change), or follow the Sarah Wollaston call for a local voter referendum.

  • Will254

    Those who want to know what the problem with Anne McIntosh was may be
    interested in this extract from the local association’s reply (now widely
    circulated in the constituency) to the ‘Panel report’ in July 2013:

    ‘…a consistent pattern of non-co-operation, non-communication, bad manners
    and divisive behaviour … the past history which led to the 2009
    de-selection process, and the prior difficulties within the Vale of York
    association, presenting a clear record of dissatisfaction and confrontation
    surrounding Anne McIntosh over a long period of time… the assurances given
    by Anne McIntosh at that time and not, in our submission, kept to [and] the
    fact that many of those who found themselves unable to vote in January 2013
    for her re-adoption had in fact stepped forward as her willing supporters
    after the 2009 de-selection row, but had subsequently formed a different

    • Will254

      Conservative MP Aidan Burley is stepping down from the Cannock Chase seat in Staffordshire — so why doesn’t David Cameron arrange for Anne McIntosh to be parachuted into it? Back in 2006, when she thought she might not get Thirsk & Malton, McIntosh was rumoured to be lining herself up for selection in the Staffordshire Moorlands constituency. Now’s her chance to give North Yorkshire a well earned rest and conquer a county she has long had her eye on.

    • JamesdelaMare

      We can only speculate from the little we know, as you have quoted, but much of this does have a familiar ring to it for any of those of us who’ve seen similar situations previously.

      There is an unacknowledged truth that when forceful women attain high positions, there is a tendency for them to emulate the qualities that they assume men at a similar level have – decisive leadership, a commanding presence, and so on – and the effect is not the same as when men exercise such qualities. Perhaps it is because (again an unacknowledged truth) their minds work differently to a man’s. Perhaps it takes the form of pettiness and stridency, or even over-confidence in reaching out beyond an accepted remit without sufficient accountability.

      The prime example was of course Mrs Thatcher herself – somebody who could have become widely respected as Churchill had been, but who ended her career being dismissed as impossible to work with on anything like equal terms, while actually having a rather limited (and limiting) outlook on the political world she dominated for the time being. Others, however, seem to have managed very well, Mrs Speaker Boothroyd, for example.

  • Perseus Slade

    Oh! So this is how democracy works.
    I though I understood, but now…

  • mariandavid

    Utterly bizarre. I fear that were I in such a constituency I would be tempted to vote against anyone with the support of the self congratulatory Mr Meyer.

  • Chris Walton

    Whatever your view on Anne McIntosh, this episode is reinforcing a perception that a large section of the Conservative party is institutionally sexist. That can only damage the party’s reputation, not just amongst the female population but in the eyes of many floating voters. Mr. Cameron quickly needs to get a firm grip on this issue and, as he said today in Parliament, increase female MP representation.

  • Peter_Mac

    You explain the how, but not the why. What did she do which got so far up the noses of her local party? I must have read a dozen articles about this, but still haven’t seen the question addressed.

    • Prompt Critical


  • Gareth Milner

    Was it not her election that was delayed due to the death of a UKIP candidate, many young conservatives came forth from all over the north to campaign for her. Yet many were left wondering why she didnt bother turning up?

  • Mynydd

    When the party at the top is divided you cannot expect the party at the bottom to remain united. If I was in Mr Cameron’s shoes I would be extremely worried that to start with there was only 560 members in the association. The question now is how many will remain after the sacking of Anne McIntosh. These problems in this and other associations is the start of the Conservative Spring and Mr Cameron can do nothing about it.

  • Baron

    Martin, the barbarian from the East wanted very much to get to grips with the boil that plagues North Yorkshire, gave up half way through the piece. It’s too complex to comprehend, and life’s just too short.

    Perhaps she should stand as an independent, give UKIP a chance.

  • black11hawk

    I still don’t get it, what did she actually do in the first place which made people want to get rid of her?

    • sarahsmith232

      She put a stop to the ambitions of some entitled Toff.

    • Prompt Critical

      Indeed! Tell us! Tell us!

  • david trant

    The obvious thing for her to do, is resign, force a by-election and stand as an Independent, then her constituents will make the decision.

    • Right of Centre

      Bang onDavid! You beat me to it. Those who supported her de- selection have helped the obnoxious Miliband to obtain a rare win in PMQs today. And have no doubt, the shabby reds will use this example right up to the 2015 Election. Egotism in the extreme.

      • David Simpson

        Oh dear do i see a case of sour grapes, tories are really pathetic animals

  • Anthony Miller

    How can they get rid of her? Look how much she’s done :

  • Adrian Hilton

    Thanks for this, Martin: it’s all very clear to those who have ears (and that’s no disrespect to readers who can’t fathom what’s going on: you sort of have to have experienced the mess or participated in the murkiness to grasp the dynamics).

    The interesting thing about Anne McIntosh’s “threat” to stand in Thirsk & Malton in 2015 us that her objective could only be attained by CCHQ overturning the ballot and the local Association permitting her to re-enter the race – either for members to select her in a special meeting, or the wider public to do so in an ‘open primary’ (as they insist on calling them, though they’re nothing of the sort).

    For her to be a possible candidate at all would require either significant diplomacy and bridge-building between McIntosh and her local Executive (which seems highly unlikely); or the imposition of McIntosh upon the Association (either by “having a quiet word” or threats of being placed in “support status” [I’m an expert on that]).
    All of this, I might add, wouldn’t be such an issue (and might not be happening at all) if party members felt some kind rapport or connection with CCHQ. As Jacob Rees-Mogg said on Newsnight last night: “There’s long been a disconnect between (Conservative) Central Office and the voluntary party,” and he referred to interfering attempts by CCHQ to persuade the good Tories of North East Somerset *not* to adopt him as their candidate (despite him being on the Approved List of Candidates [I’m an expert on that, too]). That McIntosh is appealing directly to the Prime Minister shows where the real power and patronage now lie: it’s all at the centre.

    • sarahsmith232

      I have witnessed how difficult it is to balance all the competing delicate, easily bruised and unjustifiably large ego’s that make up a local constituency association is. Top and bottom of it, the out of control ego of a, I don’t doubt, deeply ordinary Toff is at the bottom of this. Unbelievably stupid behaviour. The male should not be allowed anywhere near the Conservatives, he hasn’t a clue how to be a member of political party.

      • Reconstruct

        I take it you have no knowledge of, interest in, or respect for the local constituency. As it is, your assumption that this is about the ‘ego of a deeply ordinary Toff’ tells us a great deal about you personally. Are you Sally Bercow in disguise?

        • sarahsmith232

          God save the Conservatives from it’s clueless legions, you lot sound beyond reaching.
          So, let me try to explain. There is a such a thing as the Labour party. It has been averaging around 36% in the polls, it only requires 35% of the vote to form a majority. It spent 13yrs in power turning most of the North into a dependent client state, people who now have no choice but to continue voting for them. There is something else which you appear to also need explaining to you – the whole point of being a member of a political party is to aid in it’s re-election. You appear to have become a little confused and are now doing everything in your power to aid Labour instead.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Well, perhaps “the whole point of being a member of a political party is to aid in it’s re-election” as you say, but if the party’s numbers are shrinking by the hour, like the Cameroons, and their numbers seem soon to fall behind a party of recent upstarts, maybe your party has no point.

          • Chris Clark

            To add to your frustration Sarah, a quick calculation shows that the Association’s membership who voted (488) represents just over 2% of all the Thirsk and Malton voters who voted Conservative (20,167) at the last election.

          • George Scoresby

            After reading this article, I still do not have a clue which, if any, political issues are involved in this deselection. All tories, left and right, seem to be doing everything possible to help UKIP. Please do carry on.

    • Nick

      Well, I am delighted that my experience of murkiness is apparently so much less than yours. But my impression was that she is intending to stand as an independent Conservative, thereby splitting the Conservative vote. I have no idea, nor do I particularly care, what the requirements for standing as a candidate in a general election are these days, but if the Monster Raving Loonies can do it then presumably it’s not too onerous either administratively or financially. So surely the implied threat (should she be that way inclined) will be: “Either I am the official candidate or I will make sure the party loses the seat”.

      • sarahsmith232

        She’s obviously a fighter, good for her.

      • Jimmy R

        Nick, the current deposit is £500 which you only lose if you fall below a certain percentage of the votes cast. You also need a number of local people to sign nomination forms for you as a candidate but that again is not too onerous amounting to little more than a handful and a number which any reasonable person who is fairly well known in a constituency could find.

      • Prompt Critical

        So that might let UKIP in?

  • donkeypunch

    its brilliant watching the Tories rip themselves apart again.

    • redteddy

      Its lovely watching the old Etonians splitting the Tory party apart. Long may it continue. Perhaps the Tories should realise that women now have the vote, and that the majority of them, by a wide margin, are backing Labour. Cameron, and his toffs, should realise that it is 2014, not 1814.

    • Tom M

      I think Falkirk is by far the more aumsing. Beats the pants off a local constituency deselecting their MP.

      • robertsonjames

        Ah but you misunderstand. Rows among Tories are evidence of evil toffery at work. Open corruption, however, is entirely legitimate when it’s done by Socialists because the ends justifies the means.

  • sarahsmith232

    Is this supposed to be a joke article? Insert multiple really very offensive words into the middle of that sentence that really would not be getting past a moderator.
    I mean, what on earth is that supposed to be as an article? What absolute true blue, still yet to make it back out the 50s, old world, sad old man of a pathetic joke, worst kind of supposed to have been wiped out with the dinosaurs, Tory party that wouldn’t be able to get itself a majority if you had a gun to your head, ****ing, ****ing stupidity is that????? So, yeah, and back in the real world your spoilt brat landed Toff didn’t get selected to represent the area, so this is his payback.
    It’s idiots like you that are going to let Labour back in, if you can’t understand how any of this will play out for voters then you get yourself the **** away from a real political party, you’re not responsible enough to be part of one.

    • JohnCK

      reading the thread of comments, this 232nd sarahsmith is clearly a stooge, inserted just to stir up comment. Whose stooge, who cares, but she does not sound a very nice person.

      • JamesdelaMare

        Yes, thoroughly unpleasant and unreasonable. Far too emotive and bad-mannered.

    • John Hawkins Totnes

      What an angry lady. Perhaps she is the sort Mr Cameron wants to fast track into Parliament.

  • Nick

    Sorry, but this is still as clear as mud to me. To be honest, I have never heard of this woman, but that’s irrelevant. If she is a hard-working constituency MP then surely the fact that she may not be personally likeable is by the by. I can’t stand my local MP, who shall remain anonymous (you might describe a dog as one, says he cryptically), but I shall continue to vote for him because I want the party he represents to form the next government. So presumably Ms McIntosh has done something mortally to offend her constituency party officials. Did they disagree with her view or vote on a particular subject; is she genuinely unpleasant; or are they really a bunch of harrumphing old buffers? (Sir Peter Steveney sounds like a caricaturist’s dream.)
    Surely both sides must realise that this provides cheap headlines for the media and, by extension, the opposition, makes (as you say) a rock solid seat into a marginal, and makes our political system look ever more ridiculous. It’s hard enough to get people to sign up for membership of any political party – would anybody, watching this farce unfold, rush to register a new membership? I very much doubt it. I am younger than both Ms McIntosh and Sir Peter, but I should like to tell them both to grow up.

    • sarahsmith232

      Well said.

    • Anthony Miller

      Yes, just reads like an argument about an argument about an argument till the argument its self is the argument to me. Still no idea why they’ve deselected her. There doesn’t seem to be a single solid issue.

      • Prompt Critical

        I am sure there is one, but we are not being told it.

    • an ex-tory voter

      This is democracy in action, Ms McIntosh will have to get over it. If she wishes to retain the support of her local commitee she must persuade them of her suitablilty to represent the constituency.

      Alternatively, she could try to persuade her local supporters to the “harrumphers” off the Selection Commitee.
      Appealing to the PM, even if successful will merely further cement her unpopularity with the local association. It might also lead to the local activists supporting an “independent” in opposition to he, or at the very least refusing to support her..
      The only sensible option is for her to regain the support of her Selection Commitee. If she cannot do that she has failed as a constituency MP for that area and must therefore move on and look for pastures new.

      • Chris Clark

        You might want to consider the alternative proposition, that is the committee have failed her. She’s been an above average MP in every respect, voting, attendances, constituency causes, and is warmly supported by her parliamentary colleagues.

        This ‘vote’ taken by 488 of the 560 members represents just over 2% of the 20,167 Tory vote at the last general election, and it is clear that there is a big divergence of views between the Jockey Club influenced Association and the people of Thirsk & Malton as the seat has now immediately been declared a marginal!