A PROMINENT MP has attacked the leader of her constituency association as ballot papers were sent out to decide if she should be reselected as the Conservative candidate for a safe Tory seat.

In a letter to the 560 members of Thirsk and Malton Conservative Association, Anne McIntosh MP said the group’s 78-year-old chairman, Major Peter Steveney, had barred her from presenting her views to to them.

The accusation signals the first public criticism of the former Jockey Club stewards secretary by Miss McIntosh, who said last March that Mr Steveney had served the association “with some distinction”.

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The claim follows a string of former leaders of her local party association criticising the chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee over her treatment of them and over her presence in the constituency.

Miss McIntosh said: “I have not been automatically readopted as your candidate and our association chairman, Peter Steveney, has prevented me from communicating with you, until now, through our association.

“Whatever the weather, I have come home to Thirsk every week for surgeries, to join in events arranged by members and the general public and to support local charities.”

Miss McIntosh, who has represented North Yorkshire constituencies in the House of Commons for 17 years, urged the association’s members to vote to readopt her in the ballot set to be announced on January 31.

She said: “It is a sad fact that those principles and traditional values for which I stand are not so prized today by some as they once were by all true blue Conservatives. As an MP I have to help the many, not just the few.”

Mr Steveney said he was extremely surprised by Miss McIntosh’s claim, which he said was “patently not true”.