Now the Tories can't balance the books in George Osborne's back yard

Chancellor's local Conservative Club calls crisis meeting over threats to shut it down

It does not get much truer or bluer than Knutsford, home to the Parliamentary constituency headquarters of the Chancellor George Osborne.

With the brief exception of anti-sleaze BBC war correspondent Martin Bell and a single-term Liberal 90 years earlier, this well-heeled Cheshire seat has been returning Tory MPs through various boundary changes with metronomic regularity since the Marquess of Salisbury became Prime Minister.

It is a substantial record of political domination attested to by the premises housing Mr Osborne's constituency office – an imposing red brick fortress of a building complete with royal blue door on the junction of Northwich and Manchester Roads.

But according to local reports, the Knutsford Conservative Club, which shares premises with the Chancellor's local staff, is facing a problem all too familiar to Mr Osborne – it is in the midst of a cash crisis.

The Manchester Evening News reports that unless the club comes up with sufficient funds by Christmas, it could be forced to close and an emergency meeting has been called for next month. Yesterday, a woman who answered the phone at the club declined to comment on the situation.

The Chancellor's agent, Hayley Wells-Bradshaw, said she knew nothing of the club's financial position. She said the constituency office was a separate entity only linked by sharing a roof and car park with the social club. "We are happy neighbours who co-exist in a building. That is the extent of it," she said.

Ms Wells-Bradshaw said the constituency party had recently signed a new 21-year lease on its offices.

"We have been here for 100 years. This office has always been the MP's office for Tatton and before that Knutsford going back to the 1800s and there are no plans for that to change."

The troubles in Mr Osborne's backyard come in the wake of a recent poll which showed 48 per cent of voters wanted him moved from Number 11 at the next reshuffle while 44 per cent of Tory supporters thought he was doing a bad job with the economy.

But the Knutsford Conservative Club is not alone in its difficulties. Philip Smith, secretary of the Association of Conservative Clubs (ACC) of which Knutsford is a member, told its AGM they should take advantage of sale and lease back property swaps to keep afloat. The arrangements had helped rescue a club in Stockport and a further 11 clubs had either sealed a deal or were in negotiations, he said.

Both the Prime Minister and the Association's national president, Theresa May, recently heaped praise on the work done by the clubs which have struggled amid declining support for political parties and the general travails of the licensed trade.

In a letter to Mr Smith in June, David Cameron said: "Without your committed members and the ACC's generous fundraising we could not even think about mounting campaigns and fighting elections so we have an enormous amount to thank you all for."

Recent research showed that national Conservative membership had slumped to between 130,000 and 170,000 – down from 300,000 when Mr Cameron succeeded Michael Howard. There are fears within the party it could soon fall below 100,000. Some of the biggest falls have been in the constituencies of government ministers.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little