On Monday there was a piece on this site by Nabil Najjar and Alan O’Kelly emphasising the importance of a strong campaign for the Conservative London Assembly candidates. The elections will take place on May 7th next year, on the same date as the election for Mayor of London. Naturally, our Mayoral candidate, Shaun Bailey, will have the highest profile and we will chronicle his activities and proposals extensively. But it is also true that he can’t do everything on his own. Reviving Conservative fortunes in the capital will a team effort. Given that London is so large and diverse the Assembly candidates have an important role in ensuring that the campaign is cohesive but that issues in different boroughs are not ignored.
So I am pleased we are getting on with sorting out our candidates. For the purposes of the Assembly, London is split into 14 constituencies. The Conservatives hold five. In three of these, the sitting members have been reselected. Gareth Bacon (Bexley and Bromley), Keith Prince (Havering and Redbridge) and Tony Devonish (London West Central). Congratulations to them. The electoral system also allows for a “top up” of 11 London-wide members. This mainly benefits minor parties who would otherwise not be represented – UKIP, the Lib Dems, the Green Party. However, it also currently includes three Conservatives – Shaun Bailey, Andrew Boff and Susan Hall. The selection of the Conservative candidates for this “London-wide” list has not yet been made.
In the other two Conservative-held London Assembly constituencies, our sitting Assembly members have decided to stand down. They are Tony Arbour in South West London and Steve O’Connell in Croydon and Sutton. So new candidates are being selected.
The South West London constituency contains Hounslow, Kingston, Richmond, and Twickenham. The short-listed final four are:
- Cllr Antonia Cox – represents Hyde Park Ward on Westminster Council. A former Evening Standard journalist, she contested Islington South at the 2010 General Election Candidate.
- Cllr Kevin Davis – Leader of the Conservative Group on Kingston Council Group and a representative for Old Malden Ward.
- Jane Keep – a Conservative activist in the Richmond Park and Kingston North constituency association.
- Nicholas Rogers – Chairman of the Kingston & Surbiton Conservatives.
For Croydon and Sutton the Conservatives have shortlisted:
- Stephen Carr – former Leader of Bromley Council.
- Cllr Neal Garratt – represents Belmont Ward on Sutton Council.
- Cllr Simon Hoar – represents Purley Oaks and Riddlesdown Ward on Croydon Council.
- Joseph Lee – a Conservative activist in Croydon.
Good luck to them. Of course, we will be fighting hard to gain seats as well. For example, Labour’s majority in the Wandsworth and Merton seat is only 4,301. We will provide further selection news when it is available.