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SW Norfolk Tories summoned to London

PUBLISHED: 08:41 05 November 2009 | UPDATED: 21:45 07 July 2010

Leading figures in the South West Norfolk Tory association were summoned to a top-level meeting at Conservative HQ in London yesterday to discuss the crisis over the candidature of Elizabeth Truss.

Leading figures in the South West Norfolk Tory association were summoned to a top-level meeting at Conservative HQ in London yesterday to discuss the crisis over the candidature of Elizabeth Truss.

Acting chairman Hugh Colver, deputy chairman Ann Steward and agent Ian Sherwood attended the meeting which is understood to have been with the Tory national chairman Eric Pickles. A spokesman for the national party refused to confirm even that a meeting, which would have been “private”, had taken place.

The secrecy surrounding the gathering is an indication both of the seriousness of the row within the SW Norfolk association over Ms Truss and of belated recognition by the party's national leadership that overt arm-twisting could prove counter-productive.

Party leader David Cameron - who was not at the meeting - has expressed support for Ms Truss since she was chosen as the association's parliamentary candidate on October 24 but then plunged almost immediately into a dispute over an affair with Conservative MP Mark Field that most people at the selection meeting seemed not to know about.

Despite his backing for her, the association's executive voted to refer her candidature back to a special general meeting on November 16 when she could be de-selected. The threat is seen at Conservative HQ as a potentially serious challenge to Mr Cameron's authority.

The EDP was told last night that “things are continuing to get hotter” inside the association.

t For an exclusive interview with Ms Truss, buy tomorrow's EDP.


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