Reigate MP Crispin Blunt 'hopes to win members' backing'

Justice Minister Crispin Blunt
Image caption Mr Blunt has lost the backing of senior Conservative Association members

The MP for Reigate and Banstead has said he still hopes to stand for the seat in 2015 despite losing the backing of senior local Conservatives.

Former prisons minister Crispin Blunt has represented the area in Surrey since 1997.

He said in a statement he had not been endorsed by Reigate and Banstead Conservative Association's executive council to be its candidate in 2015.

The association said it was not appropriate to comment at this stage.

Mr Blunt, 53, 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.

Members ballot

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

Other Conservative Party members in Reigate and Banstead are still to be balloted, and Mr Blunt said he hoped to win their support.

"I am disappointed not to receive the endorsement of the Reigate and Banstead Conservative Association's executive council as the Parliamentary candidate at the 2015 General Election," his statement said.

"However, it will now be for all members of the Conservative Party locally to make their decision and I will be seeking their support."

Chairman of Reigate and Banstead Conservative Association, Rita Renton, told BBC South East the process of choosing a Parliamentary candidate for 2015 was in the early stages and it was not be appropriate to comment at this stage.

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