SW Norfolk chairman to break his silence
THE chairman of the crisis-hit South West Norfolk Conservative association is to break his silence today on the battle over Elizabeth Truss.
THE chairman of the crisis-hit South West Norfolk Conservative association was due to break his silence yesterday on the battle over Elizabeth Truss.
David Hills has just returned to Norfolk after a three-week 'honeymoon' with his new partner on a cruise ship off Hong Kong. In his absence the association has been plunged into a traumatic internal argument and fight with the Conservative national leadership after choosing Ms Truss as its parliamentary candidate on October 24.
The row started within hours of her selection after it was revealed in the media that she had had an affair with an MP that was not known to most members of the association.
Mr Hills has been accused of orchestrating the 'Turnip Taliban' opposition to Ms Truss from the cruise ship. Some of her supporters have alleged that he sent an e-mail to party activists that effectively said: 'Get rid of her!'
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He refused to comment on this, and said he would be issuing a formal statement. But he said that “the world had gone a bit strange” in his absence, and that “everyone is a bit shell-shocked”. Mr Hills is a 62-year-old accountant.
Ms Truss's candidature will be discussed at a make-or-break special general meeting of the association next Monday. She has retained the full backing of Tory leader David Cameron, but her opponents have been digesting reports that when she was chosen as the parliamentary candidate in Calder Valley in 2005 the local Tory association there had not been told of her affair - which was continuing at that time - with MP Mark Field.
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The procedures under which next week's crunch meeting has been called and will be held are being put under the microscope by local activists suspicious of manipulation by Conservative HQ.
Some have said that 14 days' written notice is required under the rules and that they haven't yet received official notification of the date and venue of the meeting.