Tory MP has been pilloried as Scrooge on political blog Guido Fawkes after he threatened to pull out of a charity carol concert after finding that his UKIP rival would be playing the keyboards.

The website ran the story about the controversy over carol singing at the Epsom’s Ashley Centre tomorrow under the headline ‘Ebenezer Grayling Threatens to Cancel Christmas’.

In the accompanying image, Mr Grayling’s face had been pasted on an image of Scrooge complete with sideburns, a hat, scarf and a candlestick.

An email, from Mr Grayling, published on the blog, questioned why Robert Leach, his rival in the General Election next May, was taking part in the carol singing this year when previously it was an event attended just by the town's Mayor and MP.

The email said: "I wonder what has prompted this change and if indeed you have extended the invitation to take part to one candidate, I would like to be reassured that you have done so for all parliamentary candidates.

"If you have not done so, then I will have to consider whether it is appropriate for me to take part - given how close we are to the election."

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In tune: Robert Leach plays the piano at carol singing organised by MP Chris Grayling in 2006

Mr Leach said he plays the piano at many carol concerts but never uses it for political purposes will not wear a rosette or campaign in any way.

He said: "Grayling is insisting that either all the other candidates are invited (no problem for me) or they find another pianist."

He added: ""I’m disappointed that Chris Grayling is trying to politicise what is a charitable, seasonal fundraising event."

Speaking to the Epsom Guardian yesterday Mr Grayling dismissed Mr Leach’s claims that he had complained to the organiser about his presence as "absolute nonsense" and "completely untrue".

"I have suggested that the other two parliamentary candidates are invited so all four of us are there together," he said. "We are coming up to a general election."

Asked if he had suggested the removal of Mr Leach, Mr Grayling denied it. He said: "I have not asked for Robert to be disinvited. I asked for the other parliamentary candidates to be invited."

The organisers of the charity concert, in aid of the Epsom Mayor's charities, have invited along the other parliamentary candidates at his request.

The carol singing, from 10am tomorrow at the Ashley Centre, Epsom, will raise money for Epsom and Ewell Foodbank, Citizens Advice Bureau and Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

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Yesterday: Goodwill to all men? Tory MP raises questions over UKIP rival tinkling the ivories at charity carol concert in Epsom

The letter published on Guido Fawkes Blog:

Your Local Guardian: