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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 September, 2004, 07:20 GMT 08:20 UK
Falmouth Tories fight suspension
Ashley Crossley
Ashley Crossley won support of local party members
Suspended members of Falmouth Conservative Association are to urge party chiefs to readmit them at a meeting on Tuesday.

The eight-strong management team were suspended in July by the party's Central Office for allegedly engaging in unconstitutional activity.

They were accused of homophobia after they tried to have their gay parliamentary candidate deselected.

Last Wednesday they failed to remove Ashley Crossley who won members' votes.

Barrister Mr Crossley, 31, has also clashed with local party members over claims they promoted a pro-UK Independence Party video.

'A ruse'

All eight of those suspended have appealed against the decision and two of them will personally put their cases to an independently-appointed panel in London on Tuesday.

One of the eight suspended, Falmouth town and district councillor Mike Varney, said he and his colleagues felt "a little bit like lambs to the slaughter".

He added they were disappointed they had only received a dossier from Central Office detailing the case against them on Saturday.

He said: "We think it's absolutely disgusting. There is information within that dossier that we could have brought to people's attention prior to the deselection meeting.

"This is just a ruse. They're going through the motions. They're just saying they'll give us a fair hearing," he added.

Conservative Central Office declined to make any comment, but earlier it indicated a final decision on the officials' suspension was expected by the end of October.

The Falmouth and Camborne seat, currently held by Labour with a 4,500 majority, is regarded by the Conservatives as winnable.

The seat was held by the Tories from 1974 until retired athlete Seb Coe was voted out as MP in 1997.

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