Ipswich: More than 25 enquiries following Yeo de-selection
09:00 12 February 2014
South Suffolk Conservative Association has had more than 25 enquiries about the candidacy for the next general election after the decision to de-select Tim Yeo was confirmed in a ballot of members last week.
But it may not be possible to select a new candidate until after the European elections at the end of May.
Meanwhile Mr Yeo has by-passed his local association for some of his administrative duties in the constituency.
Arrangements for surgeries and constituency visits from him will now be handled by his office in Westminster rather than through the Hadleigh office of the association.
We understand that constituency agent Peter Burgoyne has been told his presence will not be required at surgeries in the future.
A planned surgery at Sudbury on Friday night was postponed – and the next fixed date for a surgery is March 7 at Pinewood Community Centre on the edge of Ipswich.
Members of the South Suffolk executive are expected to meet later this week to discuss their next move.
Many are keen to get the search for a new candidate under way as soon as possible – but the vacancy has not yet been formally advertised by the Conservative Party.
Mr Burgoyne has advised the party that it probably will not be possible to select a new candidate until after the Euro-elections, but executive members are expected to start the process earlier than that.
Constituency vice-chairman Simon Barrett said many of his colleagues felt it was necessary to end the uncertainty about the future of the seat as soon as possible.
He said: “We want to select someone who knows the area and would work with the people of South Suffolk to represent them in Westminster.
“We want them to have a chance to build up a profile before the next election.”
The party is understood to have received 25 phone calls and a handful of e-mails from potential candidates, but they have been told they will have to formally apply once the vacancy is advertised.
Mr Yeo did not want to comment on the party’s internal arrangements but said: “I will continue to be available to represent my constituents.”