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.

Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
Extras
indybestFake it with 10 best self-tanners
Sport
Peter Moores was criticised for failing to handle top players when he last led the England team
sportFive years after being sacked from the job, Peter Moores to be named a cricket coach
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
Environment
People are buying increasing numbers of plants such as lavender to aid the insects
environmentGardeners rally round the endangered bumblebee
News
Ida Beate Loken has been living at the foot of a mountain since May
newsNorwegian gives up home comforts for a cave
Extras
indybest10 best gardening gloves
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit