Following the rather worrying delays in parliamentary selections, there’s some sign of progress – at least in two seats which need a replacement for the Conservative incumbent. The Conservative Associations of Thirsk and Malton and North West Hampshire have both issued adverts to the candidates list in the last couple of days inviting applications for selection.
Both seats were won by the Conservatives in 2010 – Thirsk and Malton with a majority of 11,281 votes (a 29.6 per cent majority) and North West Hampshire by a majority of 18,583 votes (a 34.9 per cent majority) – but both are now very different opportunities to would-be MPs. The successor to Sir George Young MP will fight a seat that has been calmly shepherded since 1997. The successor to Anne McIntosh MP will be seeking to reunite an Association which recently went through a remarkably bitter deselection battle.
For that reason, all eyes will be on Thirsk and Malton – will the infighting continue with new figureheads or will the association reunite? Might McIntosh try to seek re-selection as some of her supporters once suggested? Most potently, how well will the Daily Mail’s conspiracy theories about an Old Etonian barrister hold up in practice?
Hopefully we’ll see a peaceful return to a normal selection process – and then swift progress to fill the vacancies that remain in hundreds of other seats.