South Suffolk: Voting to start in ballot over Yeo
Ballot papers are today being sent out to members of the Conservative Party in South Suffolk as they start to consider whether they want MP Tim Yeo to fight the next general election.
The election is being run by Conservative Central Office in London, and the ballot papers are being sent out first-class to the 600 or so members of the association.
They have to be returned to London by noon on February 3 when they will be counted.
The count will be conducted by officials from the party being scrutinised by Mr Yeo, a representative of the South Suffolk Conservative Association, and local party agent Peter Burgoyne.
The result is expected to be announced during the afternoon of that day.
Mr Yeo decided to opt for an election of all association members after the executive committee of the South Suffolk Conservatives decided not to re-adopt him in November.
The election process has not been without controversy. Party rules ban either side from campaigning in the run-up to the ballot, although the threatened MP is allowed to write a personal statement for inclusion in letter with the ballot.
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All other Suffolk MPs signed a letter in support of Mr Yeo which was sent to the press – as were letters in support of him from chancellor George Osborne and education secretary Michael Gove.
Last week a letter from former Conservative MP Kenneth Carlisle was sent to many members of the South Suffolk Conservative Association urging them to support Mr Yeo in the ballot.
And a website set up to support Mr Yeo’s re-selection has attracted messages from many current and former MPs as well as voters in his constituency and other members of the public.