BRAINTREE MP Brooks Newmark has been forced to rule out a stunning election comeback after the process to find his potential Tory successor was suspended.

The local party association was forced to cancel a planned vote this Friday to choose the Conservative candidate for next May's General Election on the orders of central party chiefs.

The move led to speculation that Mr Newmark was preparing to defend his seat, just weeks after he announced he would step down following a sexting scandal.

Mr Newmark said: "I am extremely flattered by the lovely messages of support from members of the public and my local party asking me to reconsider my decision to step down at the next election.

“However, I have decided to stick with my original decision.”

It is understood that chairman Chris Siddall had been shortlisted despite not being on the party’s approved list of candidates.

According to Tory party rules potential candidates must pass an intensive five hour assessment at party headquarters before they can be shortlisted by local members.

A Conservative Party Spokesman said: “The selection process has been temporarily halted. We anticipate it will be restarted in the near future.” 

See this week's Times for the full story.