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Last Updated: Friday, 13 July 2007, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Tories fail to decide on Cormack
Sir Patrick Cormack
Sir Patrick has represented the area since 1970
A vote to decide the political future of veteran Conservative MP Sir Patrick Cormack has ended in a tie.

The failure of the South Staffordshire Conservatives' executive council to reach a decision means the matter will go to a vote by all local Tory members.

In February, Sir Patrick was deselected as candidate at the next election by just one vote but that ballot was later declared null and void.

The 68-year-old has represented the area in the Commons since 1970.

'Quietly confident'

A Conservative spokesman said: "A very significant number of members of the executive council voted and the result was a tie.

"As a result of this, Sir Patrick will exercise his right for the matter to be referred to the full membership of the South Staffordshire Conservative Association, who will decide whether he should be re-selected as a Conservative candidate to fight the next election".

Sir Patrick said he was "quietly confident" the ballot would produce the result he wants.

"I am not at all surprised by today's vote because there has been a very significant shift in the membership of the executive during the past three months, with a number of members stepping down or being removed and others taking their place," said Sir Patrick.

Voting irregularities

No precise figures were given on the executive committee vote but the executive has 41 members, and, Sir Patrick said, the turn-out was "very high".

The ballot was a secret postal vote, organised by Conservative Central Office, as will be the forthcoming ballot among the local party membership, which numbers just over 500.

Sir Patrick said they would get this ballot under way as soon as possible.

But he said the party would give members plenty of time to return their voting papers because of the holiday season.

The deselection vote in February was declared null and void after a probe uncovered irregularities.

Concern

It was found more votes had been cast than there were people at the meeting.

There were also accusations that a number of those entitled to attend had not received notice of it.

At the last general election, Sir Patrick secured a swing to the Conservatives of 9.4% - the largest pro-Tory surge in support for any candidate.

Last month, with the agreement of Sir Patrick, local party officials ordered a secret postal ballot of the executive council.

One member, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed concern that there had been a significant change in the membership of that body since the February meeting.

He feared that a number of new members were hostile to Sir Patrick, who entered the Commons as MP for Cannock in 1970.

Under boundary changes, the seat successively became South West Staffordshire in 1974 and South Staffordshire in 1983.


SEE ALSO
Cormack gets fresh selection vote
07 Mar 07 |  UK Politics
Ousted Cormack supported by MPs
02 Mar 07 |  Staffordshire
Cormack ousting vote is invalid
23 Feb 07 |  UK Politics
Tories win seat as election ends
24 Jun 05 |  UK Politics
MP fights brewery takeover
19 Jul 01 |  Politics

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