April 18 2014 Latest news:
Paul Geater and Elliot Furniss
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Suffolk’s longest-serving MP Tim Yeo is today fighting for his political life after losing a crucial re-selection vote to be the Conservative candidate for his South Suffolk constituency at the next general election.
Executive council members of the South Suffolk Conservative Association last night decided not to re-adopt him for the seat he has represented since 1983.
Earlier this month the EADT reported that Mr Yeo was facing an anxious wait as South Suffolk Conservatives decided whether they wanted him to fight the next general election.
A statement from the association, issued last night, said: “The executive council of the South Suffolk Conservative Association met on the evening of Friday, November 29 and voted not to re-adopt Tim Yeo for the 2015 general election.
“Mr Yeo is now considering his position and will advise the executive council of his intended course of action.”
Mr Yeo has represented the seat, which covers much of the Babergh district, for 30 years and had been seen as an effective and hard-working MP.
At the last general election in 2010 he received 24,500 votes – a 47.75% share.
However he will be 70 by the time of the next general election in 2015 – and would be 75 by the time that parliament is due to end in 2020.
He is one of only 30 Conservatives to have won each of the last six elections and was a member of the governments of Margaret Thatcher and Sir John Major, serving in the Home Office, Foreign Office, and the Departments of Health and Environment.
When the party went into opposition in 1997 he was on the party’s front bench, although he was not offered a government position when David Cameron became Prime Minister in 2010.
In his last ministerial post, as Minister of State for the Countryside and Environment, he reformed planning laws, helped to develop climate change policy and established the Energy Saving Trust.
He was a member of the shadow cabinet from 1998 until 2005, when he resigned in order to speak freely about issues such as the environment and climate change.
In June 2010 he was elected as chairman of the House of Commons energy and climate change select committee.
The South Suffolk Conservative Association had been holding off having its meeting about his re-selection pending the result of a report by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner into claims in the Sunday Times in June that Mr Yeo had offered to coach a potential witness due to appear in front of the committee.
Mr Yeo denied the claims and referred himself to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner.
He was cleared of any wrongdoing earlier this month and returned to the role of chair which he had vacated in June pending the outcome of the investigation.
A number of branch officials and activists in South Suffolk were understood to believe it could be better to look for another candidate.
Some activists feel Mr Yeo’s presence in the constituency had been less obvious than before since the 2010 election – although they recognised he had taken part in more local events recently.
Mr Yeo was not commenting on the vote last night.