THE CONSERVATIVE Party in Halesowen has been reprimanded by Tory regional office and has been forced to hold the selection for candidates for next year's local elections again.
The selection shambles was laid bare in an email to the chairman of Halesowen and Rowley Regis Conservative Association Councillor Alan Taylor from the party's West Midlands regional chairman Maggie Punyer.
The email, which has been leaked to the News, followed a complaint by Hayley Green and Cradley South Councillor Ken Turner (who quit the party amid rancour last month) about the selection process.
Chairman Punyer said: "It would appear that at no stage has the Halesowen Executive Council made a decision on the format of the approval and selection process for the 2014 elections.
"I can see no evidence that the whole membership were informed that the association was seeking potential candidates for inclusion on an approved candidate list.
"It is imperative that the full selection process is seen to be transparent, professional and handled with integrity. Again, based on the documentation submitted, I can see no evidence of this."
Independent Hayley Green and Cradley South Councillor Ken Turner slammed the local association.
He said: "I am obviously satisfied that my request for consideration was upheld and found to be substantiated.
"However, it does clearly identify the fact that “The Halesowen Conservative Association” is in fact an “Old Boys and Girls Club”, where candidates are selected not on ability but personal favour."
He added: "As the new selection is now under way, with I believe, members who have stood down from “The Conservative Whip” having primary involvement still worries me, are the candidates fully committed and capable? Or will they simply be part-time income generators at the cost of our residents."
The re-run process has had to be overseen by a member of the regional team and the vote is due to take place tonight (Thursday).
Chairman of Halesowen and Rowley Regis Conservative Association Councillor Alan Taylor said: "The selection is being done tonight and we will find out more then, that is all I can say at the moment."