Election '97: Merchant is readopted

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Indy Politics
Piers Merchant, the Tory MP accused of having an affair with a nightclub hostess, was readopted by his constituency association last night with an overwhelming majority in his favour. Members of the Beckenham association who attended the formal adoption meeting voted by 116 to four to retain the MP, who was pictured in The Sun newspaper kissing 17-year-old Anna Cox in a park.

The constituency executive had been under pressure from senior Conservatives to drop to drop Mr Merchant, 46, but it had signalled its intention to back him at the weekend. After the meeting Mr Merchant said: "I accept I made a mistake last week and I have apologised for that. What matters and what the electorate want to know is the policies on which I stand."