The president of the North East Cambridgeshire Conservative Association has blasted its executive council over the way candidates for next year’s local elections have been chosen.
Speaking at the association’s annual meeting on Friday Victor Aveling accused the association’s executive of ignoring “the will of the branches” by deselecting a number of Fenland Council cabinet members in Christchurch, Elm, March and Whittlesey.
He said there were strict rules for selecting candidates which involved each one giving a presentation before a members question time.
Adding: “No discussion is permitted without the candidate being present. The executive must take the views of the branch into account and then voting takes place by secret ballot. It has become obvious the majority of the executive have decided on their choice of candidate before the meeting either by having a prior meeting or by using social media.
“As a result we have deselected Fenland cabinet members. This has been against the will of the branches and has borne no relationship to the presentations made by the candidates. Thus we have replaced experienced councillors with some weak candidates and in my opinion one unsuitable candidate who after being deselected as a Conservative councillor stood against us unsuccessfully firstly as an independent an then under the UKIP banner.”
He continued: “I am deeply concerned over this situation for any problems should be openly discussed. The idea of a private group deciding the policy of the executive council is completely unacceptable. We are meant to represent Conservatives within this constituency and if this continues it could cause the break-up of the association.
“I do not have any proposals to remedy the current position but to prevent it happening in the future it is obvious that it is in the councillors’ interests to be elected in their own wards. To do this they must ensure more the mass of Conservative supports in the constituency become members of the party.”