Local party stops modernising Tories

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Controversial Tory Ian Laws has moved back into the fold in his local Conservative party by being allowed to stand as a nominee for the Falmouth Camborne seat, according to The Times.

Conservative party member Mr Laws was suspended following his public appeal for openly gay Ashley Crossely to be dumped as the local party candidate for the parliamentary seat at the last election.

The row split local allegiances and led to another former Tory MP standing as an independent to hinder Mr Crossely’s chance of election.

He survived a confidence vote on the issue within the local party at the time.

Mr Laws claims, though, that Mr Crossley survived because of “the manipulation of Conservative Central Office” who had agents “present in large numbers to stage-manage proceedings”.

The response of the some members to Mr Crossely’s candidacy has not stopped him from applying for the same post this time either.

Allegations of homophobia in the Tory party surrounded debate on the issue.

It also damages Conservative party claims of modernisation, with both previous leader Michael Howard and current leader Dave Cameron aiming to increase the number of female and minority group candidates in the party.

Local associations still retain control over choice of candidates, though.

Mr Laws has not ruled himself out of running for the post at the next general election.

“I was not involved directly in his difficulties,” he told The Times, “in the 18 months he was candidate I think I spoke to him only three times.

“I was surprised to be suspended from the party because I have been a Conservative all my life. The matter was resolved, my suspension was lifted, and it is true that I am now on the candidates list.”

The Conservative party refused to comment on the issue.