Northampton South MP appears to have a fight on his hands to get selected for General Election campaign
Senior Conservatives have claimed Northampton South MP David Mackintosh may to have to win a secret ballot of members if he wants to stand again in the June elections rather than be automatically selected.
Central Tory party rules state that any sitting MP who wishes to stand again needs the approval of their local association's executive council.
But some senior figures in Northampton South Conservative Association have told they Chronicle & Echo they will oppose his request to fight for the seat again.
Their concerns are based around criticism of Mr Mackintosh following his role in the Â£10.25 million loan to Northampton Town Football Club when he was leader of the borough council.
Mr Mackintosh, in a statement released to the Chronicle & Echo this morning, has criticised those colleagues who had spoken to both the Chron and BBC Northampton.
“It is disappointing that a few of my colleagues have chosen to brief against me in the media when the country is about to make an important decision about who leads our country in the future," he said.
"I am proud of my record as an MP, to date I have dealt with over 20,000 cases from thousands of my constituents. I would like to continue that work and intend to stand for re-election.”
Mr Mackintosh's relationship with his association has been fractious at best in recent months.
In December executive committee members said the MP's role in the bungled Sixfields loan deal and, what the committee said was his “refusal to accept criticism”, had damaged the reputation of the local party. At the time, Mr Mackintosh defended his actions during the loan deal but did issue an apology for how the deal had ended.
Then in February local grandees hit out at Mr Mackintosh's attempts to nominate an ally - former borough council mayor John Caswell - for the role of chairman of the association.
Mr Mackintosh has stated clearly he does intend to stand again in June.
At Prime Minister's Questions this week, he asked for Theresa May's support in the St James Mill link Road project and has made public statements about his willingness to stand.
On Wednesday, he said: "I think Theresa May is right to call this election and to give the public the opportunity to decide who they want to lead our country at this important time in our history.
“I have dealt with over 20,000 individual constituent cases, and last year I was recognised as the fifth most responsive Member of Parliament to constituents, and the most responsive out of all MPs elected in 2015.
"I would like to continue that work as the Member of Parliament for Northampton South after the election in June so will be seeking re-election."
If the executive council was to block Mr Mackintosh's wish to stand, the MP would have to face a secret ballot of all association members.
If he were to lose that ballot, the association would then be required to stand two potential candidates against him. It is not known at this stage who they might be should that situation arise.
All three would then face another membership vote, with the winner then selected to fight in the June General Election.
Trustee for the association, former MP Brian Binley, would not be drawn on whether Mr Mackintosh had his support.
"As a former MP I am not making a public statement," he said.