Tory election chaos as more candidates quit in lead up to nominations deadline

The Conservatives’ election campaign was hit by chaos as two candidates announced they were pulling out less than an hour before nominations closed.

It is unclear whether the Tories have been able to select a candidate for every constituency in the UK.

At least five people on the candidates list have told The Independent that they refused to contest unwinnable seats.

Rishi Sunak  (PA) (PA Wire)
Rishi Sunak (PA) (PA Wire)

It comes amid fury over accusations that advisers and those close to the prime minister’s inner circle have been parachuted into safe seats.

At 3.50pm, less than an hour before nominations closed, Jaymey McIvor, the party’s candidate for Hemel Hempstead announced he was not standing, citing “personal reasons”.

At the same time another candidate Adam Gregg, for Spen Valley in West Yorkshire, quit after reports he ran club nights for kids as young as 13 and shared a picture showing girls appearing to have the words “horny” and “b***h” on their chests.

The pictures are thought to be from 2006 and he told the Mirror the “events were of their time and I can understand how they could be viewed differently in today’s world.”

But the Conservatives received some good news after former pop star Holly Valance decided not to stand for Nigel Farage’s Reform UK.

Former Neighbours star Valance decided at the eleventh hour not to stand in the nominally safe Tory seat of Basildon and Billericay, where there is anger among activists in the Tory chairman Richard Holden was forced on them as their general election candidate.

She told GB News: “It’s not going to work for me - it was very difficult logistics-wise.”

In February Mr Holden described himself as “loyal to the North East” of England.

He was the MP for North West Durham, but that ceased to exist following the boundary review.

He secured the new seat by after he was presented to the association on a shortlist of one.

Earlier unwell former MP David Duguid hit out at claims he was too sick to stand after he was ditched at the last minute to make room for the leader of the Scottish Tories, Douglas Ross, in another nominally safe seat of Aberdeenshire North and Moray East.

Rishi Sunak’s allies have been accused of “operating a chumocracy” in ”parachuting” special advisers and others into winnable seats.

David Goss, the prime minister’s deputy political secretary, has been selected for Wellingborough and Rushden, recently lost to Labour in a gruelling by-election.

He followed former army officer James Clark, a special adviser to defence secretary Grant Shapps, being selected for Great Yarmouth.