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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 September, 2003, 08:59 GMT 09:59 UK
Rifkind fails in comeback bid
Sir Malcolm lost his Westminster seat in 1997
Former cabinet minister Sir Malcolm Rifkind has failed in his bid to be selected as Tory candidate for the safe Windsor seat.

The local Conservative association has drawn up a shortlist of 46 possible parliamentary candidates - but excluded the ex-foreign secretary.

The seat is up for grabs after the sitting Tory MP announced he would be standing down at the next general election.

Michael Trend was in the headlines earlier this year after admitting he wrongly claimed 90,000 in expenses.

Sir Malcolm's attempt to win the candidacy for the seat - for which Mr Trend had a majority of almost 9,000 at the last election - raised speculation at Westminster that he was eyeing a future Tory leadership challenge.


Sir Malcolm lost the Edinburgh Pentlands seat in Labour's 1997 general election landslide.

He had previously shunned suggestions he would seek a seat in England.

He has not commented on his snub from Windsor apart from telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he would now concentrate on his garden while pondering his next move.

He said he felt the Windsor decision was "curious".

The decision comes as the Tories bid to shake-up the way candidates are selected.

The system has previously centred upon speeches to local members, but the party is now trying other methods, such as sending potential candidates out to canvass homes and try to get stories in the local press.

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