Page last updated at 10:14 GMT, Tuesday, 28 July 2009 11:14 UK

Strike delays Tory candidate poll

Anthony Steen
Anthony Steen announced in May that he would stand down at the election

An open ballot in Totnes to choose the Conservative candidate to run in the next general election has been delayed because of a postal strike.

Postal workers in London are carrying out three days of industrial action in a row over jobs and pay cuts.

The Totnes Conservative branch planned to have the ballots counted on Friday.

But it said the strike meant some might not get to the Electoral Reform Services' offices in London on time. They will now be counted on 4 August.

'Open primary'

Ballot papers were sent to all 69,000 voters in Totnes to choose a Tory candidate after current Conservative MP Anthony Steen said he was to stand down at the next election.

He announced he was standing down after reports of his expenses were made public by the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

The Conservative Party said the ballot would be the first "open primary" contest held by a British political party. Candidates are normally selected by their local party.

The Totnes Conservative Association shortlisted three potential candidates: Nick Bye, Sara Randall Johnson and Dr Sarah Wollaston.

Mr Bye is Torbay's mayor, Ms Randall Johnson leads East Devon District Council and Dr Wollaston is a GP in Chagford.

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