As we reported a few days ago, Conservative candidate selections for the General Election will follow a number of different processes depending on the seat. Tory-held seats where the MP is standing down will have competitive selections from a shortlist of three. Target seats will also have competitive selections, unless CCHQ, the local association and the candidate all agree to reselect the 2015 candidate, in which case there’ll be a reselection vote with a sole candidate. And non-target seats held by other parties will have their candidates chosen for them by the central Party, without a vote of the association. (In Scotland, things work differently – as I reported last night.)
Many Conservative MPs have already been formally reselected by their associations, with many other meetings arranged to confirm MPs over the next few days. The latest date I’ve yet discovered is Surrey Heath, where Michael Gove will be up for reselection on 5th May, but each association is arranging Special General Meetings as fast as possible.
I’m now in a position to start publishing shortlists and selection information for a number of target and Tory-held seats. There are, of course, many other shortlists and selections yet to be concluded, so should you have any information on any contests, please do contact us by email at news AT conservativehome.com We always protect the anonymity of our sources, and any assistance from ConservativeHome readers is greatly appreciated.
Here is the latest information on selections that are underway:
Reselecting 2015 candidates:
NB to be allowed to reselect the 2015 candidate uncontested, a seat must be a “key target” according to the selection rules – though we don’t yet know whether all such seats will receive the same targeting resources.
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, has been approved by the Party and the local association to stand for reselection unopposed. The selection meeting is planned for Thursday 27th April.
Bishop Auckland (Labour majority 3,508): Christopher Adams, who contested the seat in 2015, is up for unopposed reselection by the local association on Wednesday 26th April. He runs a technology business, and acted as Campaign Director for the pro-Union ‘Day of Unity’ rallies ahead of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.
Candidate shortlists in “key target” seats
Where known, we have stated the dates of selection meetings. All candidates are listed alphabetically.
Darlington (Labour majority 3,158): The association will be selecting on Tuesday 25th April from:
- Peter Cuthbertson: The director of the Centre for Crime Prevention, Cuthbertson contested the seat in 2015, and was the Conservative candidate for Durham Police and Crime Commissioner in 2016. He has written a number of times for this site.
- Paul Howell: Howell is currently contesting the Aycliffe North and Middridge ward in the Durham County Council elections.
- Cllr Matthew Vickers: A Stockton Borough Councillor, Vickers was the Conservative candidate for Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner in 2016.
York Central (Labour majority 6,716):
- Matt Freckelton: The Deputy Chairman of York Conservative Association, Freckelton is a York University graduate and tech entrepreneur, who found social media monitoring company Yatterbox. He’s a director of local television company That’s TV.
- Cllr Zoe Metcalfe: A Harrogate Borough Councillor and businesswoman, Metcalfe contested Doncaster Central in 2015.
- Ed Young: Currently Corporate Communications Director at Tesco, Young grew up in the area and is a former York Minster choirboy. He is a former speechwriter for David Cameron and co-authored a biography of Disraeli with Douglas Hurd in 2013.
Tynemouth (Labour majority 8,240): The association will be selecting on Saturday 29th April from:
- Duncan Crute: A Tyneside businessman, who owns a tailoring firm, Crute contested Newcastle upon Tyne East in the 2015 General Election and stood for Newcastle City Council in 2014.
- Cllr Tanya Graham: A councillor on Craven District Council, as of May last year Graham was Communications Officer for Kris Hopkins, MP for Keighley. She stood for Parliament in Bradford South in 2015.
- Cllr Nick Varley: A councillor on Chiltern District Council, Varley was Head of Ground Campaign for Vote Leave in the EU referendum. Brought up in County Durham, he recently consulted with Change Britain, the pro-Brexit campaign group and currently works for Stonehaven, a corporate strategy firm.
Hyndburn (Labour majority 4,400):
- Bob Eastwood: A former Chief Superintendent with Lancashire Police, Eastwood contested the Blackburn constituency at the 2015 General Election.
- Kevin Horkin: A pet specialist and TV presenter, Horkin stood in Hyndburn in 2015 – having been a councillor there in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was Mayor of Clitheroe in 2013/14.
- Cllr Paul White: A Lancashire County Councillor, and Deputy Leader of the Conservative group on Pendle Borough Council, White’s day job is in marketing and brand management.
Great Grimsby (Labour majority 4,540):
- Lia Nici-Townend: The Executive Producer of Estuary TV, Grimsby’s community television company, Nici-Townend is a former Parish Councillor in Laceby, North East Lincolnshire.
- Kelly Smith: An entrepreneur with a background in IT, Smith is a former Lincolnshire County Councillor. He was shortlisted for the Sleaford and North Hykeham by-election in November 2016.
- Cllr Siobhan Weller: A former soldier, Weller sits on East Lindsey District Council. She interned in Parliament as a staffer for Mary Macleod through the Speaker’s Parliamentary Placements Scheme.
Partial shortlists in Conservative-held seats
These hotly-contested seats will all have shortlists of three – here we publish those names we have learned so far, and will publish the others as soon as we find them out.
Chelmsford (Conservative majority 18,250): Alicia Kearns: A counter-terrorism PR specialist who, during her time at the Foreign Office, advised over 70 Governments on tackling ISIS, Kearns is Deputy Chair Political of Cambridge City Conservative Association. She now works at Global Influence, a communications agency.
Tatton (Conservative majority 18,241): Cllr Alex Williams: Deputy Leader of Trafford Council, Williams contested Stretford and Urmston in the 2010 General Election and Bury South in 2005. He has written several times for this site. The association will be selecting their candidate from the shortlist on Wednesday 26th April.
There will of course be many more shortlists and selections to come – ConservativeHome will be working hard to cover them all over the coming days.