ANALYSIS: Northampton South MP had no choice but to step back amid claims of a 'toxic' legacy
Senior Conservatives claimed David Mackintosh had become so "un-electable" as a candidate - his association had to take the soon-to-be-departing MP off Tory campaign flyers.
The former borough council leader, who was once branded Philistine of the Year by Private Eye in the year the Sekhemka statue was sold from the collection of Northampton's main museum, carved out his political career with a reputation for getting things done. Whatever the cost.
His four-year tenure as leader of the borough saw so much change, it was hard to keep pace. Cabinet meetings became less a debating chamber than a rattled off rota of that month's major capital investments whittled down to, on one occasion, seven minutes.
A new bus station was built, an old one blown-up; Abington Street was opened to cars, Saints built a new stand, the Cobblers loaned up to £12 million to do the same. With the exception of the Saints stand, they were all controversial.
It was the pledge to loan millions to Cobblers, dating back to 2013, that has put the brakes on the 38-year-old's political ambitions. For now at least.
After spending nearly all of his tenure in Parliament fielding, but not always answering, questions about his role in the failed loan to develop Sixfields Stadium, last night he decided enough was enough.
Following months of criticism from many of his Conservative colleagues, he would have had to then win over the 170 Northampton South association members to stand again.
It would have been a tough ask, especially after it emerged that Tory Northamptonshire County Council candidates in the constituency were not even featuring Mr Mackintosh on their campaign leaflets.
Former chairman of the association, Councillor Suresh Patel, and trustee for the association, Brian Binley, said Mr Mackintosh had become "toxic" among voters on the doorstep.
Mr Patel said: "It is true, we decided not to have his photograph.
"The feeling among his electorate was not good.
"I think he has made the right decision to step down.
"It was to save him embarrassment as well."
Councillor Patel said the outgoing MP - who now becomes the shortest serving member or parliament for Northampton South - had made the right decision to stand down.
"There is a major inquiry going on [into the Sixfields loan], this will give him time to clear his name," he said.
"This is not about one individual, this about the wider membership of the Conservative party."
Mr Binley, who is increasingly emerging as a likely candidate for the June 8 election following his interview with the Chron this morning, added: "For whatever reason, good or bad, his name had become toxic in the town. Our local government candidates found out it was harming them."
The leader of the Labour group on Northampton Borough Council, Councillor Danielle Stone, took a similar view.
She said: "He leaves a rotten legacy as his whole time in Northampton politics has been one disaster after another. He is responsible for the awful North Gate Bus Station, selling the
Sekhemka statue, opening Abington Street to polluting cars and of course a loan that went wrong. He certainly won’t be missed.”
But Mr Mackintosh's decision to stand down came on a day where two allies had openly given him heir backing.
Former mayor Councillor John Caswell, said yesterday: “That man is the fifth best MP for dealing with constituents’ complaints.
“Twenty thousand people that man has helped – and they want to get rid of him?"
Other supporters of Mr Mackintosh the MP say the same. Hard-working, committed, good at responding to constituents.
But just being effective is a tough sell in an election, especially given the controversies surrounding the Sixfields loan, election payments and where responsibility lay for the loss of millions of taxpayers' money.
Mr Mackintosh has always denied any wrong-doing in relation to the Sixfields loan and has welcomed the police investigation and the various independent audits.
Time will tell whether the relatively young parliamentarian returns to public life.
But for now the Conservatives will be pleased to end any speculation of the former borough leader running again.