Gay political blogger Iain Dale has lost out on being selected as the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Bracknell.
He made it to the final seven but Phillip Lee was announced as the selected candidate on Saturday evening.
Dale described himself as “gutted” but said he would continue to try and win a seat.
He wrote on his blog: “Obviously I wanted to win Bracknell – I think I made that fairly clear. But anyone who expects to apply for one seat and then win it is either delusional or very lucky. Michael Howard applied for 44 before he got one. Bracknell was the first seat I had applied for in two years.”
Dale stood as an MP for Norfolk North in 2005 and was the first openly gay candidate selected by a Conservative constituency association. However he lost out to Liberal Democrat candidate Norman Lamb. In 2007, he unsuccessfully applied for the safe Conservative seat of Maidstone and the Weald.
Writing in the Observer on Sunday, he suggested that a recent Daily Mail article describing him as “overtly gay” may have hindered his chances of success.
The attack on him came after he told PinkNews.co.uk that readers in the area, of any political affiliation, could register to vote for Bracknell’s Tory candidate.
Dale described it sarcastically as “a real help”.
Citing Jan Moir’s article on Stephen Gately on Friday, he wrote: “Normally, I wouldn’t give two hoots, but this was the second time the Mail had done something like this to me. I decided to refer it to the Press Complaints Commission and the inquiry is ongoing.
“What is it with the Mail that it wants to alienate ten per cent of the population? When Jan Moir and I wrote columns for the Telegraph I always regarded her as a top columnist. Maybe it’s something they put in the tea at the Mail which turns perfectly normal people into ranting homophobes.”