As it happens, all four are female, meaning that Banbury will be the second Conservative-held seat this week to select a woman candidate. It’s important to note this is not a case of positive discrimination or a top-down All Women Shortlist. The Association have explained their selection process as above (see their tweet):
So without further ado, here are the brief bios of the candidates who will be facing a selection meeting of the full association this Saturday:
- Kemi Badenoch. An Associate Director in financial services with degrees in both Engineering and Law, Badenoch has been a governor of two inner city schools. She has focused much of her spare time on improving academic achievement in deprived parts of the country – an interest she attributes to memories of her own experiences at a failing school. She also sits on the Board of Charlton Triangle Homes, a housing association in London. In 2010 she stood (under her maiden name, Kemi Adegoke) in Dulwich and West Norwood against Tessa Jowell, increasing the Conservative vote share by 1.3 percentage points, and in 2012 she was a list candidate in the London Assembly elections.
- Dr Rachel Joyce. Having spent her career in the NHS, both as a frontline doctor and at director level, Dr Joyce is now also a partner in her own business. Notably, she has long been campaigning for a war crimes investigation in Sri Lanka – a call echoed recently by the Prime Minister. She stood in Harrow West in 2010, where she increased the Tory vote share by 6.4 percentage points, and featured in the longlist for Croydon South and South East Cambridgeshire last year.
- Victoria Prentis. A barrister by profession, Prentis has worked for various arms of the government for the last 17 years and is currently head of the Justice and Security team. She is a Director of Transport Sense, an anti-HS2 campaign group and Chair of the Benefactor’s Board of the Oxford Children’s Hospital Trust. Born in Banbury and brought up in nearby Aynho, she now lives in Somerton. Her father is Tim (now Lord) Boswell, who was MP for Daventry from 1987 to 2010.
- Helen Whately. A management consultant working in the health sector, Whately stood against Ed Davey in Kingston and Surbiton in 2010, where she increased the Tory vote share by 3.5 percentage points. Having worked at PwC among other firms, she helped launch the first online film service in the UK for AOL, and advised the Conservatives in Opposition on Media policy. She was a finalist in Wealden, North East Hampshire and South Cambridgeshire, and this week was in the final four in Bury St Edmunds.