Fired: Tim Yeo deselected by ruthless local Tories

Tim Yeo has become the second Conservative MP in a week to be deselected by his local association.

The development, which comes hot on the heels of Anne McIntosh's own rejection by her local party, means he will not be able to stand under the Tory banner at the 2015 general election.

Tory MPs have avoided the deselection peril for 17 years but the punishment has now happened twice within a week.

The deselection is a blow for David Cameron, who had written a letter supporting Yeo and praising his "considerable expertise in rural issues and the environment".

"In throwing out a Tory who has repeatedly failed to stand up for his constituency, South Suffolk are have not only shown the way for the rest of the country but they have delivered a blow to David Cameron's own credibility after he personally intervened to support Tim Yeo's in his deselection battle," shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Ashworth said.

"Coming hot on the heels of news that Tories in Thirsk and Malton are trying to deselect one of the few senior women MPs in the party, recent events have shown that not only has David Cameron failed to deliver on a promise to change the Tories but he’s too weak to do anything about it."

Yeo is thought to have suffered for being an underperforming MP, often unavailable for local events because of trips abroad and notching up a poor attendance record in parliament itself.

He was embroiled in scandal last year when a newspaper sting caught him suggesting he was prepared to use his influence as head of the energy and climate change select committee in return for cash, but was cleared by Commons authorities.

Yeo's extensive business interests overlapping his select committee portfolio have fallen within parliamentary rules for years, but the media spotlight on his activities is thought to have been a major factor behind his deselection.

He told last year: "I believe I'm a much better chairman of the committee because I not only have a political and academic network, but also a range of business connections which would not be available to me if I was not still active in the business world.

"I think the judgements I can form about what's happening around the world are better informed because I talk to people in business more than I otherwise would."

Yeo, who is now 68 years old, was first elected to parliament nearly 31 years ago.

He increased his majority at the last general election to 8,689 against main challengers the Liberal Democrats. Sources within Nick Clegg's party had long hoped for a determined candidate to challenge Yeo.

But it was local Tories who eventually forced his exit from parliament, despite Yeo's private arguments that they keep his "experience" in the Commons.

The contrast with Yeo's neighbouring Tories in East Anglia, including new arrivals Matt Hancock, Ben Gummer and Therese Coffey, is thought to have been another significant factor in his downfall.

"This has been a difficult time for the Association," local chairman Toby Kramers said.

"Our priority now is to work together for success in the European elections later this year and in the general election in 2015."

Yeo made clear in comments released by the Conservative party press office that he would not seek to challenge the decision or stand as an independent in the constituency.

"I am immensely grateful to all those Conservative party members who voted for me to continue as their MP," he said.

"I now ask them all to campaign for my successor with the same loyalty and dedication they have shown to me."