A YORK political party has rubbished claims of local election “backroom deals” after a blunder led to four of its candidates being unable to stand.

The Conservatives will not field a runner in the Huntington and New Earswick ward for the City of York Council poll because of “administrative errors”, which also saw the rejection of two candidates intended to contest seats in Westfield.

A proposed Micklegate ward candidate was also turned down amid problems with the subscribers needed for nomination forms to be valid.

The party has said it will look into the issue after the May 5 election.

But Tory leader Ian Gillies has denied suggestions by their Labour rivals that the nomination failures were due to a secret pre-election pact with the ruling Liberal Democrats.

Labour leader Coun James Alexander said: “Questions need to be asked of the Conservatives, as I hope their inability to field candidates is not a backroom deal with their national coalition partners (the Lib Dems) to divvy up seats between themselves and steal the election from voters.

“This election needs to be honest and about what is best for York.”

Coun Gillies hit back by saying: “That is absolute nonsense and there have been no backroom deals with either the Lib Dems or Labour.

“We can assure people the Conservatives will work for the people of York to drive the city forward, not for political dogma.”

York Conservative Association chairman Chris Steward said: “It was due to administrative errors that we do not have certain candidates and that will be a focus for us after the election.

“It is something we very much regret and we apologise to people who will not have the opportunity to vote Conservative, but the idea some sort of deal was done is ridiculous.”

The errors leave the Conservatives with no candidates in Huntington and New Earswick, one in Westfield and two in Micklegate, all three-seat wards.

Council leader Andrew Waller, of the Liberal Democrats, said: “Every party is putting its own case in these elections and clearly some are in a stronger position than others, but the golden rule is not to wait until the final day before submitting nomination papers because this is the sort of thing that happens.”

Green Party councillor Dave Taylor said: “The Conservatives have clearly bungled their nominations, but anybody who believes in a conspiracy theory that they would deliberately make themselves look foolish to help a rival party is being seriously naïve.”