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Last Updated: Monday, 4 April, 2005, 22:22 GMT 23:22 UK
Tory shortlist to replace Flight
Howard Flight MP speaks to journalists gathered outside his home
Mr Flight said Sunday's meeting went well
Senior constituency Tories have drawn up a shortlist of three candidates to replace sacked MP and ex-Conservative deputy chairman Howard Flight.

Party members in the Arundel and South Downs constituency will now vote to choose which will contest the election.

Mr Flight landed in trouble after apparently suggesting the Conservatives planned extra spending cuts.

He still wants to be a Conservative MP and has denied saying he would stand as an independent.

A statement issued on his behalf stated: "Mr Flight has made his position clear. Under rules of common justice, it is right for his Association to reaffirm or de-adopt him.

"He has not said that he would stand as an independent. That is a rumour being spun by others."

Appeal rejected

Mr Flight apologised for his spending cuts remarks in an open letter to Michael Howard last week.

But a party spokesman said the Conservative leader would not be swayed by the MP's appeal to allow him to stand for election.

Tory headquarters say Mr Flight cannot stand as a Conservative because he is no longer an approved candidate.

The shortlist of possible candidates to replace him will go to a full meeting of local party members on Wednesday.

The three names on the list are Anne Marie Morris, Nick Herbert and Laura Sandys.

Some 100 Tories in Mr Flight's constituency met on Sunday to condemn the party's method of selecting new candidates.

'Feeling of injustice'

Mr Flight attended Sunday's meeting, which he said had gone very well.

When asked what would happen next as he left the gathering held at the Steyning Centre in West Sussex, he said:"You will have to wait and see."

Harold Hall, an association vice-president who attended Sunday's meeting, said there was "an enormous feeling of injustice" about Mr Flight's sacking.

He warned: "If the process is steamrollered through, there is an increased risk of legal action. It is certainly not finished."

Mr Flight says his lawyers have told him only local Tory members, not the party's leadership, can decide to remove him as their candidate.

There have also been calls for him to stand in the election as an independent.


SEE ALSO:
Sacked Tory claims legal backing
30 Mar 05 |  Politics


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