As first revealed last night by Paul Goodman on Twitter, Cllr James Cartlidge has been chosen as the Conservative candidate for South Suffolk at the General Election. This is the constituency where the sitting Conservative MP, Tim Yeo, has been deselected.
Mr Yeo had a majority over the Liberal Democrat candidate of 8,689 at the last General Election.
Cllr Cartlidge, 40, was elected to Babergh Council last year. He lives in Assington near Sudbury with his wife, Emily, and four children. His father-in-law is the Conservative MP and former Defence Minister Gerald Howarth. Cllr Cartlidge was selected on the first ballot at last night’s meeting. The others who made it to the final shortlist were Jeremy Quin and James Tumbridge.
A contributor to this site Cllr Cartlidge has his own business, Share to Buy, which helps people buy shared equity social housing.
After graduating from Manchester University he became a political researcher for the Conservative Party – when he helped to prepare former leader Iain Duncan Smith for Prime Minister’s Questions. He then became a leader writer for the Daily Telegraph and stood as Conservative candidate in the safe Labour seat of Lewisham Deptford in 2005.
Cllr Cartlidge says:
“The lesson of the elections in May was that there is no such thing as a safe seat – we have to work hard and I am ready for that.
“During the council election I cycled around the ward and that was big enough! This is a big seat and I am determined to meet as many people as possible.”
He will obviously face a challenge in pulling the Association together after a traumatic period. Also public trust in politicians, which is low enough generally, will be in particularly short supply in South Suffolk after the revelations of Mr Yeo’s lobbying activities.
However Cllr Cartlidge has excellent credentials to be the next Member of Parliament. Congratulations to him.