The fresh embarrassment will add to the problems of the party as it struggles against what polls suggest will be a resounding defeat by the Liberal Democrats.
Party officials in the constituency confirmed last night that a late edition of the election newspaper would appear without any contribution from Jane Adley, whose husband's death caused the current by-election.
According to one source, a text provided by Mrs Adley, though supportive of the candidate Robert Hayward, was not thought sufficiently enthusiastic in tone and was amended by officials. A party spokesman declined to confirm or deny reports that a draft had been submitted by Mrs Adley but that officials had been unable to agree a final text with her.
Asked about the plans for her article Mrs Adley said yesterday she would rather not talk about the Christchurch by-election adding: 'Every time I turn on the TV there is a mention of my husband. If you have any questions please phone the agent.'
A party spokeswoman said last night that it had originally not wanted to trouble Mrs Adley because she was still in mourning. It was true that at a late stage a contribution from her had been 'mooted' but it had been too late to agree a text in time to get it printed.
A family friend said last night that Mrs Adley had been 'very distressed' because changes had been made to a text she had submitted and then officials had changed the wording, subsequently trying to present her with a 'fait accompli'.
Although some party officials are said to be preparing to blame Mr Hayward's candidacy for the expected defeat, John Major has let it be known he regards the former MP for Kingswood Bristol as an excellent candidate.
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