To see all of our reports on shortlists, nominations and selections from the past few days, click here. Thanks to the help of many of our readers, ConservativeHome has been first for selection news, ahead of the national press. If you have any information to share on who is up for selection and where, please click here – all our sources are strictly anonymous.
After the central and local Conservative Party machines got up to speed last weekend, we’re now in the thick of the selection process itself. Here is all today’s candidates and selections news – including exclusive details of shortlisted candidates in Conservative-held seats like Aldershot and Chichester, as well as in target marginals like Chester and Halifax, and of course the round-up of last night’s newly-selected candidates across the country.
Shortlists in Conservative-held seats
Aldershot (Conservative majority 14,901): I reported on Sunday that the selection process in Aldershot had swiftly become fractious. The Association wanted Daniel Hannan MEP on their shortlist, and he wanted to stand in Aldershot, but CCHQ refused to offer him to them. After an uncomfortable stand-off, despite very senior local figures going to Westminster to make their case, CCHQ’s original shortlist of three will be presented to the Aldershot Association tonight. They might reject it, and tell CCHQ to think again, or they might buckle – it’ll be interesting to see what happens. I’ve only been able to learn two of the three names shortlisted so far, but would of course be more than happy to add the third should anyone who knows it like to get in touch. The shortlisted candidates I can identify are:
- Leo Docherty: A veteran of the British Army’s campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan (about which he wrote a book: Desert of Death), Docherty has been Director of the Conservative Middle East Council since 2010 and is a former South Oxfordshire District Councillor. He contested Caerphilly in 2015, and has written several times for this site.
- Cllr Emma Lane: A New Forest District Councillor, Lane is also the Chairman of New Forest West Conservative Association. She fought Swansea West in 2015, and has worked in finance for most of her career – currently working in the Risk Division of Lloyds.
Chichester (Conservative majority 24,413): Another hotly-contested seat, vacated by Andrew Tyrie’s decision to stand down from Parliament. We can today exclusively reveal two of three shortlisted names in the running to succeed him. As with Aldrshot, we would be most keen to learn the name of the third, but for now here are those we do know:
- Ruth Davis: A cyber security policy specialist, Davis is a former head of cyber security at TechUK and has written on the topic for this site. Previously a crime and justice research fellow at Policy Exchange, she is now Director of Policy for a major telecoms company. She is also a former adviser to the Home Affairs Select Committee and to Crispin Blunt, when he was Shadow Minister for Home Affairs and Counter Terrorism.
- Cllr Gillian Keegan: Serving as Director of Women2Win since 2015, Keegan sits on Chichester District Council (where she is the Cabinet member for Commercial Services). A businesswoman by background, she contested the constituency of St Helens South and Whiston in the 2015 General Election, and is a member of the Board of Governors for Western Sussex NHS Hospital Trust .
Saffron Walden (Conservative majority 24,991): Expected to select their candidate on Tuesday 2nd May, Saffron Walden Conservatives will choose from the following shortlist of three:
- Kemi Badenoch AM. The Deputy Leader of the Conservative group on the London Assembly, Badenoch was elected to the Assembly on the London-wide list last year having previously become an Assembly Member after Victoria Borwick moved to become an MP. A former director at the Spectator, she has also worked as an associate director at Coutts & co. With degrees in both Engineering and Law, Badenoch has been a governor of two inner city schools. In 2010, she stood (under her maiden name, Kemi Adegoke) in Dulwich and West Norwood against Tessa Jowell, and earlier this week was unsuccessful in the Hampstead and Kilburn selection.
- Katherine Bennett: Senior Vice President, Public Affairs at Airbus, Bennett has been with the aerospace company since 2004, prior to which she worked in Government Affairs for Vauxhall Motors. She is also the holder of an OBE for services to industry, and a keen singer.
- Stephen Parkinson (pictured, top right): Though born on Tyneside, the Prime Minister’s Political Secretary was brought up in East Anglia, going on to studying at Cambridge. Parkinson contested Newcastle North for the Conservatives in 2010, played a major role in the No2AV campaign in 2011 and went on to advise Theresa May in the Home Office. In 2015, he left that role to run ground operations for the successful Vote Leave campaign, and was brought into Downing Street after the change of Prime Minister last summer.
- Chorley (Labour majority 4,530): Cllr Caroline Moon. A borough councillor in South Ribble, Moon is a National Committee Member of the Conservative Workers and Trade Unionists. She is director, with her husband, of a commercial gardens and grounds maintenance firm, and also chairs the board of governors for a school in her local area. She won a competitive selection vote last night.
- Enfield North (Labour majority 1,086): Nick de Bois, who fought the seat in 2001 and 2005, then served as the constituency’s MP from 2010-2015 before Joan Ryan won it back for Labour, was reselected unopposed last night.
- Halifax (Labour majority 428): Cllr Chris Pearson. A Calderdale councillor, Pearson runs his own home care agency. He was selected to fight the marginal constituency last night.
- Harrow West (Labour majority 2,208): Hannah David, a solicitor, fought this seat in 2015 and was reselected unopposed last night. David is the National Director of the Conservative Policy Forum, co-founder of the Planning Futures think tank and a former Hertsmere Borough Councillor.
- Mansfield (Labour majority 5,315): Cllr Ben Bradley. The Leader of the Conservative group on Ashfield District Council, Bradley was selected last night to contest this interesting seat. After university, Bradley worked in a variety of sectors including recruitment and hospitality before taking up his current role, assisting Mark Spencer MP and Nick Boles MP with their constituency work.
- Sedgefield (Labour majority 6,843): Dehenna Davidson. Currently studing for a Master’s degree in International Politics, Davison stood in Kingston upon Hill North in the 2015 General Election. Alongside her studies, she works as a shop assistant, and won Sedgefield’s competitive selection vote last night.
- Southport (Lib Dem majority 1,322): Cllr Damien Moore, who fought the seat in 2015, was reselected last night. He also serves as Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group on Preston City Council, and spent much of his careeer in retail.
- Westmorland and Lonsdale (Lib Dem majority 8.949): Cllr James Airey: Born and raised in the constituency, Airey is Leader of the Conservative Group on Cumbria County Council and a councillor on South Lakeland District Council. He is a sheep farmer. He won the competitive vote to take on Tim Farron last night.
- Wrexham (Labour majority 1,831): Andrew Atkinson fought the constituency in 2015, halving Labour’s majority, and last night won an unopposed reselection vote. Atkinson began as a self-employed window cleaner at the age of 17 and his enterprise has now grown into a large cleaning business, operating in the Wrexham area.
Shortlists in target seats
Chester (Labour majority 93): Eye-wateringly close in 2015, this seat has the smallest Labour majority in the country. I’ve previously noted a pattern that some seats are being given two-person shortlists, rather than the usual three – sometimes to allow CCHQ to add someone late on in the process, but increasingly for a swifter process. This is such a seat – the association will select tomorrow, Saturday 29th April, from a shortlist of:
- Will Gallagher: Chester born and raised, Gallagher returned to the city after university to help to run his family business. He contested Alyn and Deeside in 2010, and from 2012-15 he served as a Special Adviser to Chris Grayling at the Minister of Justice. A former Operations Director of the National Citizen Service, he is now Director of the East West Railway.
- Cllr Pamela Hall. A Shadow Cabinet member at Cheshire West and Chester council, Hall has represented Great Boughton ward for the last decade, and contested Liverpool West Derby in 2010. She has a successful career in HR and Project Management working with firms in media, pharmaceuticals and financial services. She has been Cheshire and Wirral Area Deputy Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the North West Region.
Dewsbury (Labour majority 1,451): The local association will select its candidate tonight, Friday 28th April, from a shortlist of two:
- Cllr James Daly: A criminal defence solicitor by profession, Daly has been a Bury councillor since 2012 and is currently Leader of Bury Conservatives. At the end of 2015, he was selected as Conservative candidate for the Oldham West and Royton by-election.
- Beth Prescott: The creator of the #workingclasstories hashtag, Prescott contested Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford in the 2015 General Election at the age of 22. Born and brought up in Dewsbury, she is a former apprentice and supermarket worked. Prescott worked for a time for Simon Reevell, then the Conservative MP for Dewsbury, and has gone on to work in the charity sector. She is a locally licensed Christian preacher.
Workington (Labour majority 4,686): Another seat where the UKIP vote at the last election was much larger than the Labour majority, the Cumbrian Conservatives have had their eye on Workington since their victory in Copeland. The local association will selects its candidate tonight, Friday 28th April, from a shortlist of two:
- Stephen Haraldsen: A Research Fellow at the University of Central Lancashire, Haraldsen fought the Copeland constituency in 2015. A former Copeland councillor and chairman of the Copeland Conservative Association, many local activists were surprised when he wasn’t chosen by the party to contest the recent by-election.
- Clark Vasey: A founder of the group Blue Collar Conservatism, Vasey contested Birkenhead in the 2015 General Election. Born and raised in Cumbria, he currently works in corporate affairs for Fujitsu. He has written several times for this site.
Selection meetings tonight
Aldershot: Shortlist and candidate biographies here.
Birmingham Edgbaston: Shortlist and candidate biographies here.
Birmingham Northfield: Shortlist and candidate biographies here.
Brentwood and Ongar: Shortlist and candidate biographies here.
Bristol East: Shortlist and candidate biographies here.
Dagenham and Rainham: Julie Marson – sole candidate, biography here.
Dewsbury: Shortlist and candidate biographies above.
Gedling: Carolyn Abbott – sole candidate, biography here.
Hove: Shortlist and candidate biographies here.
Lancaster and Fleetwood: Eric Ollerenshaw – sole candidate, biography here.
Leicester West: Shortlist and candidate biographies here..
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland: Shortlist and candidate biographies here.
Westminster North: Cllr Lindsey Hall – sole candidate, biography here.
Workington: Shortlist and candidate biographies above.
There may well be other selections underway tonight of which we are not yet aware – if we have missed yours from the list, do contact us and we will update it.