Former Conservative minister, Tim Yeo has blamed opposition within his constituency for same-sex marriage for his deselection as the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for South Suffolk.
Mr Yeo, who has been the MP for the constituency since 1983, was deselected after a vote by all Conservative members of his local association. The news follows a sting last year by the Sunday Times, where Mr Yeo, who is the Chairman of the House of Commons Energy and Climate Select Committee, offered to lobby on behalf of a fictitious energy company for £7,000 a day. He was later cleared of any wrongdoing by the Parliamentary authorities.
Today, following his deselection, Mr Yeo appeared to put some of the blame on his support for same-sex marriage.
“Clearly there were some issues on which I may have had disagreements with them,” he said. “I voted in favour of gay marriage – that wasn’t a universally held view amongst my members.
“I have a very great commitment to addressing climate change – that’s not a universally held view.
“I’m in favour of Britain’s membership of the EU – that’s not a universally held view.”
The MP faced criticism from within his constituency that he spent little time in the area and his business interests.
Last week, fellow Conservative MP Anne McIntosh was deselected as the Conservative candidate for Thirsk and Malton. She faced similar criticism over the amount of time she spent in the constituency, but unlike Mr Yeo, she has one of the worst gay rights voting records in Parliament.
Mr Yeo voted against an equal age of consent but was absent for other key gay rights votes including civil partnerships.