Chipping Barnet Conservative Association has had another difficult week after its candidate for Totteridge ward, Jonathan Shrank, decided he was emigrating to New York rather than standing in May's local election.

The three Totteridge branch chairmen were therefore asked to pick another candidate. Unluckily for the Tory group, the runner-up in the ballot for candidacy had been Kevin Edson, who resigned from his position as Totteridge councillor in acrimonious circumstances after receiving only four votes compared to Mr Shrank's five.

Caroline Margo has now been given the thumbs-up by all three chairman, despite only receiving one vote in the original ballot.

Hardly a ringing endorsement.

Stephen Payne, executive director of the association, said: "As with any company interviewing candidates, if a candidate drops out, it is offered to the next candidate.

"Unlike other political parties, Chipping Barnet Conservatives only field serious candidates who are chosen after a selection process. The use of so-called paper candidates' is not a practice we choose to use.

"The association is naturally sorry that Jonathan Shrank has had to stand down for very good reasons.

"We wish him well with his new job in New York."