In July, James Clappison announced his intention to leave Parliament after 23 years. The Hertsmere Association opted for a new, speedier selection process to find his successor – proceeding straight from the sift of applications to a shortlist, rather than longlisting between the two stages.
ConservativeHome can now reveal the final four who will face the selection meeting on Tuesday 7th October. They are:
- Cllr Antonia Cox. A former journalist and current Westminster councillor, Cox stood in Islington South and Finsbury in 2010, when she increased the Conservative vote share by 4.6 percentage points. A former banking correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and Leader writer for the Evening Standard, she has also produced reports on defence spending for the Centre for Policy Studies and on volunteering in the Big Society for Res Publica. She is a director of the Marylebone Boys’ School, a newly opened Free School, and last year was longlisted for South East Cambridgeshire.
- Oliver Dowden. Currently Deputy Chief of Staff to David Cameron, Dowden comes with extensive experience of CCHQ campaigns and two stints in the public affairs industry. He received some unwelcome media attention following an interview in the US in which he spoke candidly about the hectic life of a Downing Street aide, but is widely recognised in Westminster as one of the Government’s most capable advisers. He lives in the neighbouring constituency of St Albans and last year he was longlisted for Croydon South.
- Cllr Chris Hayward. Extremely active in local government, Hayward is Deputy Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, the Leader of the Opposition on Three Rivers District Council and a common councilman on the City of London Corporation. He worked for much of his career in the events industry, and now runs a property investment firm and a company running tours to Italy and Russia. In December he was one of the final four in the Northampton South Open Primary.
- Rishi Sunak. A businessman who co-founded a large multinational investment firm and now invests in small and fast growing British businesses, Sunak is also a Governor of the East London Science School, a new Free School, and runs Policy Exchange’s BME Research Unit. He went to Oxford and did an MBA at Stanford University, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He is also longlisted in the selection race for Richmond, as we revealed on Wednesday.