'Low-profile' MP Tim Yeo ousted as Tory candidate for safe seat of Suffolk South

His local Conservative Association executive committee decided to not re-adopt him as its candidate

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Indy Politics

The veteran Conservative Tim Yeo lost his battle on Monday to remain an MP when party activists voted to deselect him at the general election.

His removal comes just three days after Tory members also decided not to readopt another long-serving MP, Anne McIntosh, as their candidate next year.

The decision to oust Mr Yeo from the safe seat of Suffolk South is an embarrassing rebuff for David Cameron who had written a strong letter of support for the former minister.

Mr Yeo, who is considered to be on the party’s centre-Left, faced complaints over his low profile locally as well as his extensive business activities.

Party officers in his constituency had decided not to re-adopt him as their candidate but Mr Yeo insisted a vote was put to a secret ballot of the 600 party members in Suffolk South.

Following the announcement of the result, Mr Yeo pledged his “full and unqualified support” to his successor as Tory candidate.

Mr Yeo was tackled last year by members of his association’s executive committee over accusations he abused his position as chairman of the Commons Energy and Climate Change select committee.


He was cleared by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner of breaking parliamentary rules, but was warned to “consider more carefully the impact of his comments”.

The MP, who has a wide range of business interests, also faced complaints that he lived 125 miles away from his constituency and failed to attend some party functions in the area. His critics contrasted his record with the high visibility of recently elected Tory MPs in nearby seats.

Last month Mr Cameron came to the MP’s support, telling him it would be a “great loss to your constituents, to parliament and to the Conservative party” if he was deselected.

The Prime Minister’s backing also failed to save Ms McIntosh in the North Yorkshire constituency of Thirsk and Malton following an acrimonious campaign to remove her.

Ms McIntosh, who has been an MP since 1997, has raised the prospect of standing as an independent at the election. She said last week: “I do not intend to be thrown aside by a small group. It is for my constituents as a whole to dismiss me if they wish to do so.”

Mr Yeo, who is 68, served as an environment minister in John Major’s government, but was forced to resign in 1994 after it emerged he had fathered a child during an affair.

He returned to the Tory frontbench after the party’s defeat in the 1997 general election and was touted as a possible leadership candidate in 2005. But he returned to the backbenches and supported Kenneth Clarke in the contest won by Mr Cameron.