Another keenly anticipated contest is the selection in Richmond Park, where the association is due to pick its candidate tomorrow night. I can exclusively reveal the full, confirmed shortlist:
- Laura Farris: A barrister specialising in employment and equality law, Farris is Vice-Chair of Tooting Conservatives and sits on the panel of Counsel for the Equality and Human Rights Commission. A former BBC and Reuters journalist, she has worked for Hilary Clinton in the Senator’s New York office.
- Zac Goldsmith: MP for the seat from 2010 until the 2016 by-election, when he stood as an independent and was defeated by the Liberal Democrats, Goldsmith is an outspoken opponent of Heathrow expansion, and former editor of The Ecologist. After his defeat in the London Mayoral election, the by-election added insult to injury, but he is now hoping to be reselected and to return to the fray in Westminster.
- Luke Parker: Sales Transformation Leader at IBM, Parker has spent his career in the IT industry. The son of publicans, he is a former Chairman of London South Conservatives. He helped to found the St Richard Reynolds College in Twickenham, and has campaigned in defence of faith schools. In 2013 he came second in the Twickenham Open Primary and was longlisted for Havant, before contesting Brent North in the 2015 General Election. In a curious twist of fate, in 2015 he represented London South on the selection panel that chose Goldsmith as the London Mayoral candidate.