Local Conservatives support Reigate's Crispin Blunt

Justice Minister Crispin Blunt Mr Blunt lost the backing of senior Conservative Association members two months ago

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MP Crispin Blunt has called on his Conservative association's executive council to "consider their positions" after he was reselected as a candidate.

The MP for Reigate and Banstead was reselected by a margin of 5-1 after a ballot of constituency members.

The vote overturned a decision by senior Tories in September not to endorse him as a candidate for 2015.

Mr Blunt, 53, who has represented the constituency since 1997, revealed he was gay after the 2010 election.

'Irrational action'

Following the result, the former minister said receiving "such a strong endorsement" would enable him to defend his record as MP in the 2015 general election "and make the case for a majority Conservative government".

He said he regretted that the ballot had to take place, and had been "astonished by the irrational and unexpected action of the executive council".

"Something changed in 2010. I came out in 2010. I had been unanimously reselected on secret ballots running up to 2010.

Analysis

Crispin Blunt will be relieved there is no longer a question mark about whether he should be allowed to stand as the Conservative candidate at the next general election.

But there are now clearly questions to be asked about his future relationship with members of the executive committee of the Reigate and Banstead Conservative Association.

Can any potential tensions and disagreements be resolved? Or will there be too much resentment and anger on both sides?

Mr Blunt says he wants to "reinvigorate and unite" the local party, but he has also called for some people to consider their positions and to think about their role in helping to do this.

One thing that will have pleased him is the substantial margin of his victory. Mr Blunt says the vote is a statement about tolerance and judging people on their ability.

"I'm afraid there is enough evidence on the record of members of the executive council saying things... that my sexuality was an issue for some of them," Mr Blunt said.

"I want them to consider their positions and whether they think it is appropriate to contribute to taking the Reigate Conservative Association forward."

He added that the result showed Reigate and the party was "overwhelmingly united" around his candidacy, and "that we are fair; that we are tolerant; and that we judge others on their ability, not on characteristics that are beyond their control".

Syria vote

The MP won the Reigate and Banstead seat in the 2010 election with a majority of 13,591,

Later that year he disclosed he was gay and had separated from his wife Victoria, with whom he has two children.

In August, he was among Tory MPs who voted against military action in Syria in the House of Commons, defeating the government motion.

Speaking at the time, he said people must reach their own conclusions about what had changed since the 2010 election to cause his relationship with the 20-member executive council to go wrong.

A senior Conservative on the association's executive council told the BBC they were pleased the situation was resolved.

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