The leader of the Wildrose Party is accusing former premier Alison Redford of trying to hold on to her Calgary seat so that possible leadership contender Jim Prentice can take it in a byelection.

In release on Monday, Danielle Smith’s office says Redford — who resigned as premier last month and has not attended the legislature since — is using the constituents of Calgary-Elbow “in an effort to clear the way for Jim Prentice’s possible leadership bid.”

The former federal cabinet minister has not said whether he is seeking Redford’s old job.

“There appears to be some serious political game-playing going on in Calgary-Elbow,” Smith said. 

“This is a time when Calgary-Elbow residents need real representation by an MLA committed to the constituency. It’s not fair for them to go without representation while the PCs plot out the easiest way to hand Mr. Prentice the leadership.”

Alberta Justice Minister Jonathan Denis dismissed the notion as a baseless conspiracy theory.

“Let’s move on to whatever the next issue of the day is,” he said.

Political scientist Tom Flanagan said the Tories are making a mistake if they are simply waiting for Prentice to take over Redford’s riding.

“The other parties will be able to interpret this as a black mark against Prentice. He’s supposed to be coming in from the outside as the saviour, and he’s unsullied by the history of cronyism and special dealings that we’ve seen in the PC party,” Flanagan said.

Meanwhile, Denis is taking the news media to task after photos ran in some papers showing Redford with her daughter after the pair was spotted in Palm Springs on the weekend.

Denis said it was very inappropriate to include images of Redford’s daughter in the coverage.

Last week it was revealed that Redford has informed the Speaker of the Alberta Legislature that she will be absent.

Flanagan said while having Redford in the legislature wouldn't be good for her or for caucus, she should have taken the $100-dollar a day deduction in pay instead of applying for paid leave.

Denis said Redford should go back to work at the legislature if she is able.

“My bosses in Calgary-Acadia, they do expect me to show up for work, if I am able,” he said.

“I’m not sure exactly what the situation is, only she knows that.”