Selection row in top Tory target seat

Theresa May met supporters on a visit to Bridgend this week Credit: PA, Rebecca Naden

Welsh Conservative chiefs are being accused of 'closing ranks and bullying' members in a selection row in one of the party's main target seats.

They're accused of blocking local hopefuls and trying to impose a shortlist of two candidates on activists in Bridgend, just days after Theresa May visited the constituency.

Party leaders say they're giving local members as much choice as possible while speeding up the process because of the closeness of the election.

The concerns have been raised in an anonymous email sent to ITV Cymru Wales by someone who describes themselves as a 'concerned Bridgend Conservative.'

The email claims that 'the party centrally' is trying to limit the shortlist to two candidates, 'neither of whom are from the local area.' The email's author goes on to claim that:

Conservative party leaders deny they're trying to impose candidates but say they're having to speed up the process while giving local members a choice 'where possible.'

In a statement, the chair of the body which represents volunteer members, the National Conservative Convention, said:

This isn't the first and probably won't be the last selection row as parties race against time to choose candidates to contest the election on June 8th.

Plaid Cymru's selection of business owner Mari Arthur to fight for the party in Llanelli has caused concerns in that constituency.

It's emerged that she came second in number of votes in a hustings but the winner, a popular local activist, was ruled ineligible to stand by Plaid Cymru party bosses.