Tensions are rising between the Conservative party headquarters and one of their local branches over the involvement of MP David Mackintosh in a £10.25m loan to a football club.

Earlier this week, Politics.co.uk reported how the MP for Northampton South was coming under increasing pressure from his local party over the issue, with some senior members calling on him to resign.

But local sources from within the party say the central party is backing Mackintosh because they are desperate to avoid a byelection.

"They are doing everything they can to avoid another byelection," a senior source said. "They know this is a marginal seat. It could be won by anyone."

The Northampton South Conservative Association were due to meet on Friday to debate a motion which sources described as being effectively a vote of no confidence in Mackintosh. But Politics.co.uk understands that the first moment Tory HQ knew about the meeting was when it was reported in the press.

Yesterday, the local association released a press release stating that the motion would be put back because the Conservative party leadership had "been in touch" to confirm it would be taking a more "in-depth look" at the issue.

However, Conservative party HQ swiftly confirmed that no investigation will be taking place.

Politics.co.uk understands that a senior member of the central party is due to attend the scheduled meeting of the executive committee in Northampton tonight, in a desperate attempt to heal the rift between the local party and Mackintosh.

But local sources say that they have "lost faith" in HQ's ability to deal with the situation.

"It's so frustrating. The longer he [Mackintosh] stays, the more damage is being done to the party," one source said.

Mackintosh approved a loan, which was intended to be used to redevelop the club's stadium, while he was leader of the local council but the work was never carried out and the money has not been repaid.

He came in for criticism for his handling of the issue after an internal audit found that the council failed to carry out proper checks.

Natalie Bloomer is a journalist for Politics.co.uk. You can follow her on Twitter here.