A Tory frontbench MP faces deselection after falling out with senior figures within her local party.
Anne McIntosh, a shadow Environment minister who was selected as the candidate for the new seat of Thirsk and Malton in 2006, will face a deselection vote in a fortnight's time after relations with senior Tory figures in her constituency reached rock bottom.
It will be a blow to David Cameron, who is under pressure to boost the number of women in a future Conservative government. And it comes soon after two other Tory MPs were subjected to attempts to oust them. Anne Main and Richard Ottaway survived deselection bids in the wake of the expenses scandal.
Party figures refused to discuss the reasons for the deselection attempt against Ms McIntosh yesterday, but a source familiar with the situation said it was a "personality" issue. "She has fallen out with successive figures at the top of the constituency association," the source said. Many activists were keen for the constituency to be contested by John Greenway, currently the MP for Ryedale, which will disappear at the next election. "They were astounded by the fact she won," the source said.
Simon Wood, the local party chairman, said: "All I can do is confirm that the association is to have a meeting on 2 September, when we will discuss the way forward for the constituency. It would be very inappropriate for me to say anything else ahead of that."
In a statement sent to The Independent last night, Ms McIntosh said she will attend the showdown. She added: "I have been overwhelmed by messages of support from all parts of the new constituency in advance of the meeting."