London isn’t chock full of naturally promising Conservative targets, which is why tonight’s Hampstead and Kilburn (Labour majority 1,138) selection is the focus of a lot of excitement on the candidates list and in the London Conservative Party.
I reported this morning that the shortlist had been reduced to two, after one candidate declined CCHQ’s invitation, and that it was unclear whether a third would be added to the contest today.
We can now reveal that a third candidate has indeed just been added to the shortlist:
- 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 was shortlisted for Banbury in 2014, and Eddisbury in 2015.
She completes the shortlist, alongside the two existing candidates whom we named this morning:
- Cllr Claire-Louise Leyland: A professional art therapist, Cllr Leyland leads the Conservative Opposition group, representing Belsize ward. She is also a Stakeholder Governor of the Tavistock and Portman Foundation NHS Trust. Born in South Africa, she contested the West Tyrone constituency in the 2015 General Election.
- Henry Newman: Director of the Eurosceptic Open Europe think tank, Newman serves as Deputy Chairman of the neighbouring Holborn and St Pancras Conservative Association and is a Camden council candidate for Highgate ward in next year’s local elections. Prior to taking up his role at Open Europe, Newman was a Special Adviser to Michael Gove at the Ministry of Justice, and prior to that he advised Francis Maude in the Cabinet Office. He has previously written for this site.