Joanne defends her dramatic U-turn

A rising Tory star who quit as the candidate for a top target seat only to return when party leader, David Cameron intervened defended her actions. Joanne Cash, who is locked in a battle against Labour MP, Karen Buck for the new marginal seat of Westmins

A rising Tory star who quit as the candidate for a top target seat only to return when party leader, David Cameron intervened defended her actions.

Joanne Cash, who is locked in a battle against Labour MP, Karen Buck for the new marginal seat of Westminster North, said: "There was a difficulty now resolved and it is business as usual."

Ms Cash, 40, quit during a heated constituency meeting when a long-time rival, former chairwoman Amanda Sayers, was appointed president.

The resignation came over clashes between Cash, who is in the modernising Cameronite wing of the party, and some old-school Conservative activists.


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Ms Cash said: "Much of what has been written in the last few days is fiction.

"I hope people will have taken this opportunity to look at how much I have done for Westminster North, over the last three years while candidate and feel reassured that I will always be fearless about speaking up for them. I love this area which is also my home and care passionately about the people and issues.

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"They are my focus regardless of anything else. This is a marginal seat and I will need every last vote."

Ms Cash's Labour opponent, Karen Buck said she was 'a little surprised' that a candidate would resign 'a few weeks before the likely election date over what seems like an internal row with her party.'

"But this is a matter for them and I am getting on with my work," she said.

Brian Jenner, a former Westminster Conservative member, who was in the Oxford Union with Ms Cash, criticised Mr Cameron's intervention.

He said: "I was shocked she resigned and I was shocked she was reinstated. You don't reinstate people after they resigned."

Mr Jenner said: "It's a big mistake to reinstate her because it shows there is favouritism in the party.

"Once someone walks out you don't let them back in. It's regrettable for Joanne because it's really damaged her political career and strengthened Karen Buck."

He believes the incident was an example of 'Cameron favouritism' in action.

"It shows a tremendous lack of judgment on the part of the top people. There is that fear that it is just a bunch of Notting Hill cronies and this reinforces that."

Mr Jenner believes this incident was indicative of a wider national problem for the Conservatives.

He said: "Cameron hasn't really worked it out because he keeps on making these terrible mistakes.

"They will fail to get a really big majority. They haven't got that many activists.

"They should be getting a majority of 150 and they seem to be in danger of getting a hung parliament."

ben.greening@archant.co.uk

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