MP James Gray has launched an attack on fellow Conservatives he says are plotting to oust him from his job.

Voting will begin next week among North Wiltshire Conservative Association members to decide whether or not to re-select him as MP following the furore over his affair with married countryside campaigner Phillipa Mayo while his wife Sarah battled breast cancer.

This week former constituency chairman Frank Soden, husband of county councillor Carole, appealed for Tories to vote against Mr Gray.

But today the 52-year-old MP said he thinks those people who oppose him have old scores to settle and are using the trouble in his private life to gain the upper hand.

He said: I do not know why Frank is doing this. He probably finds it exciting because he does not lead a very exciting life.

I think this may have something to do with the fact that Carole was up against me for the seat ten years ago. She lost out and I got the job, which she has never forgiven me for.

Frank is no friend of mine, Sarah's or the Conservatives.

"I am confident that I will receive the backing of the grassroots members of the party.

If people were complaining about my work as an MP then fine but I think my record over the past ten years and more recently with the save our leisure centre campaign in Wootton Bassett, has shown why I should be reselected.'' The voting will kick off on January 11 when ballot papers go out to nearly 1,000 Tory members.

The papers will be returned by January 29 and the results released shortly afterwards.

Mr Gray' will be hoping his popularity with residents has been rekindled after his backing for the campaign to save Wootton Bassett's Lime Kiln leisure centre.

Mr Soden has publicly attacked Mr Gray for wasting time and money which should be spent on making the seat safe for the party.