AS if Conservatives in Fleet Central had not got enough problems with the intervention by roads campaigner Denis Gotel, they had a mix-up over candidates which has left some local Blues fuming.

The local Conservative branch had chosen John Pearson of Stockton Avenue as a candidate for the ward. But he was told the day before nominations closed that Coun. Carole Leversha of Dogmersfield had been parachuted into the seat and he could not stand.

The decision was taken by divisional agent Beverley Carpenter. She told the Star on Tuesday that she did not know anything about Mr Pearson's selection until Thursday when Mrs Leversha's nomination had already gone in.

"The one thing I cannot do is to authorise more than two Conservative candidates for two vacancies," she said. "Mr Pearson is a good member of our association, this is not against him."

Coun. Peter Carr told us: "I've been told not to talk to the papers" and Coun. Colin Hazell added: "I am unable to comment."