As Mark Wallace wrote on this site last week, local associations will get a say in the readoption of any of the 21 former Conservative MPs from whom the Whip has been withdrawn if it is restored (or indeed in that of any others who experience the same fate).
This explains why Antoinette Sandbach faced a vote of no confidence from her local Association in Eddisbury yesterday evening: she is one of the 21.
Sandbach lost the vote – but there appears to have been more in play than Brexit alone. As Mark has previously explained, the fate of each of the 21 is bound up with their local relationship with members.
Where the MP is popular with them, he or she tends to survive challenges. So it proved in the case of our columnist David Gauke, who survived a deselection attempt in his South-West Hertfordshire constituency.
Sandbach was not in so happy a position. As Mark pointed out on Twitter yesterday evening, the Association asked her to reapply for adoption in March. She refused: the relationship has been a troubled one since before the 2017 election.
Her complaints of entryism in Eddisbury must be seen in that light. Maybe there has been and maybe there hasn’t – but the marriage between her and the Association has broken down in any event.
She says that she was given only six minutes to speak, and that she “will continue to vote for what is in the best interests of all my constituents as my duties as an MP require”.
That doesn’t sound to us like a guaranteed vote for any deal that Boris Johnson now agrees – since even were the whip restored to her were she to do so, her time as a Conservative MP in Eddisbury seems to be drawing to an end.