There is discontent with the candidate for the Conservatives in one of their safest seats in the UK, after he failed to win support of his local association in the first vote.
Sir Christopher Chope – candidate for Christchurch and East Dorset – has made headlines as an MP for the wrong reasons over bills surrounding same-sex marriage, the pardoning of Alan Turing, use of wild animals in circus performances, restrictions on parking charges for carers, female genital mutilation and upskirting.
The Bournemouth Echo reports that at a packed meeting of the local Conservative association the party’s executive committee failed to endorse the candidate.
According to the newspaper, sources said that he lost the first vote in the association, and relied instead on members’ votes at a second vote.
“He lost the first vote at the meeting and then had to go to another vote,” one member told the Echo.
He continued: “Regardless of the legality of him objecting to these FGM and upskirting bills, the impression he gives is appalling. It appears he’s trying to block bills to protect women which is not a popular thing. He’s an old dinosaur.”
But the chairman of the association, Lisle Smith, defended Chope.
She said: “Sir Christopher has been campaigning for Christchurch and East Dorset, for over 22 years.
“His commitment to ensuring the government delivers Brexit, his work as a Constituency MP with a reputation for holding bureaucrats to account, plus vast experience in helping to resolve issues for our residents, meant that he was readopted as the Candidate unopposed.”
She added “much had been made” of the vote but said “it was the vote by the membership who want Sir Chris to be the candidate.”
In a statement Chope said: “I am honoured and privileged to be the candidate for the Christchurch constituency.”