TORBAY Tories have de-selected one of their longest serving councillors.
At their annual meeting, Wellswood ward members in Torquay did not support Cllr Beryl McPhail, a former Conservative Association chairman and honorary president of the Torbay Conservative Association as their candidate for the next election.They also chose former mayor Nick Bye as their new chairman in place of Mrs McPhail.
Mr Bye has only just been de-selected as a candidate for Paignton's Clifton-with-Maidenway ward by the Torbay Tory Association's executive.
Mrs McPhail said the move had come as a 'complete shock' and felt like 'a slap in the face' after she had been unanimously nominated by the previous ward committee.
The secretary of the Wellswood association is new Wellswood councillor Neil Bent, who last autumn was also de-selected by Wellswood and is to stand in the place of retiring councillor Peter Addis in St Marychurch.
Mrs McPhail was elected in the Cockington with Chelston ward in 1997 before moving to the Wellswood ward where she has served for 10 years.
Cllr Bent said: "Beryl has done brilliant work in Wellswood. She has had a very illustrious career, but the members who were there felt it was time for a change. We now have to go through the whole selection process. I am sure the newly-formed branch committee will consider whoever wants to put their name forward."
Mrs McPhail, who chairs the Torbay Council development control committee, said she was 'mulling over her options'.
She said: "I was certainly not expecting it. I was ready to stand next year and had been selected by the ward committee.
"I really don't know what the motivation was.
"It was a total shock and a real sort of slap in the face.
"When you have done nothing wrong at all and worked very conscientiously for the ward and for local people and to be treated like that is really quite shocking."
The ward did support former councillor and local businessman, James O'Dwyer, as a candidate. Mr Bye said: "The way ahead will be to endeavour to bring everybody together and build an election winning team for 2015. I very much hope to play a key part in this and I am sure this is also the top priority for the rest of the Wellswood committee & the Torbay Association."