A Northampton MP's move to nominate an ally for the chairman of his local party has been described as "unprecedented" by local Tories.
Northampton South MP David Mackintosh put forward former borough council mayor John Caswell (Con, New Duston) to be the next chairman of the Northampton South Association at the annual general meeting on Friday night.
But the move has been criticised by local party members, one of whom said a sitting MP had “never, to my knowledge,” put forward their own nominee for the role.
Councillor Caswell was in the end beaten by 31 votes to 22, according to a party source.
But a Conservative party member, said that in their view: “This is an unprecedented situation where an MP could become so detached from his local party that feels he should take it over.”
The role of chairman had been held by borough and county Councillor Suresh Patel, who had come to the end of his three-year term.
His successor Ann Addison, the councillor for Harpole and Grange on South Northamptonshire Council, was nominated by former leader Councillor Mary Markham (Con, Park), who very publicly criticised Mr Mackintosh for his role in the failed Sixfields loan in December.
The Conservative source said sitting MPs have traditionally maintained a distance from the association they represent in the same way a board of governors is meant to be independent from a school.
Likewise, he said, associations generally do not interfere with the incumbent’s dealings in Parliament.
Mr Mackintosh, said: “I’m looking forward to working with Ann Addison as the new chairman.
“Together we’ll ensure the Conservatives continue to deliver for the people of Northampton.”
The move marks another low in the relationship between Mr Mackintosh and the association that raises funds for his campaigns and selects councillors to battle elections in the south of the town.
In December senior figures proposed a motion of no confidence in Mr Mackintosh, stating his involvement in the £13.5 million loan to Northampton Town Football Club had brought reputational damage on the association.
The motion was withdrawn after Conservative headquarters intervened.