Page last updated at 23:48 GMT, Thursday, 13 August 2009 00:48 UK

Failed quest to oust MP 'risky'

By Ross Hawkins
BBC News, St Albans

Conservative MP Anne Main
St Albans Conservative Association kept faith with the 52-year-old MP

Conservative MP Anne Main has survived an attempt to deselect her following criticism for allowing her daughter to live rent-free in a taxpayer-funded flat.

An MP can normally rely on local workers to stuff envelopes, knock on doors and offer moral support.

In St Albans, Ms Main saw some of them turn on her and try to end her political career.

They thought she was so damaged by revelations about her expenses that she was likely to be beaten by the Liberal Democrats at the general election.

'Perplexing'

And they were prepared to risk a great deal of bad publicity to make their point.

Had they got their way they would have been the first local party to vote to oust an MP caught in the expenses scandal.

When the matter went to a poll of the local association, Ms Main emerged victorious.

Many of those who turned up to vote at a former nunnery on the outskirts of St Albans were perplexed by events, and offered fulsome, public support for her.

But the voters of St Albans have been reminded of the debate about her expenses, and have been told some of those close to the MP had no confidence in her candidacy.

Her political opponents are unlikely to let them forget those facts come the General Election itself.



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