Anne Main sparks row among St Albans Conservatives

From the St Albans and Harpenden Review: (Hat tip: Jonathan Calder)

The future of MP Anne Main has sparked a civil war among St Albans Conservatives.

Chairman Seema Kennedy and her two deputies, Matt Peck and Mary Zambra, asked Mrs Main to step down, and have now called a meeting of the local party’s 300 members on August 13, to vote on her de-selection.

But an opposing faction is backing the MP and trying to remove Mrs Kennedy and Mr Peck from their posts ahead of the crucial vote.

Defying clear advice from the party’s regional campaign director that it would be unconstitutional, 33 local Tories, claiming to be the branch’s executive committee, met on Thursday, and issued a statement backing Mrs Main and calling for Mr Peck to resign.

The statement was apparently sent from Mrs Kennedy’s Conservative email account, but investigations by the Review have revealed that not only did she not send it herself, but that she was not even at the meeting.

Mr Peck told the Review yesterday (Tuesday): “The MP and her supporters are trying to sabotage the democratic process.”

Charles Bunker, deputy chairman of the Conservative Party in the Eastern Region, said on Monday that both the meeting on Thursday, and another planned for August 12 to discuss Mrs Kennedy’s position, were invalid.

“Any decisions made at those two meetings will not be recognised by the Conservative Party,” he said.

Mrs Main, who has claimed about £22,000 a year on expenses for a flat in St Albans, was given a vote of confidence by local Tories at the end of May.

However, Mr Peck said: “We agreed at that meeting that her expenses were reasonable and proportionate, but a week later, at the county council elections, we were destroyed by the Lib Dems all over St Albans.

“We may think she is great, but a significant number of people disagree. We need to consider whether we would do better at the General Election with a different candidate.”

With the local Tories in disarray, this is surely good news for Liberal Democrat candidate for St Albans, Sandy Walkington.

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