Dukey - I applaud your sense of fairness. Though I have criticised her publicly, and I believe she should have stood down from public life following her conviction, I haven't exactly waged a vendetta since.
That said, I just think the cold hard politics of it means she's tainted as a candidate. Just as Cllr Leese will be when he faces his public in Crumpsall come May, but to a lesser degree as there's a difference between accepting a caution for assault and pleading guilty to the charge she copped for.
As for the Conservatives - if they started doing a bit more PR, a street surgery on a Saturday, a leaflet drop, got themselves a website and identified themselves as being full square behind the hard pressed small businesses of Marple, then they could win the seat at a canter. But then so could an independent.