Three more candidate selections from the last couple of days:
In Great Grimsby, Cllr Marc Jones was successful. He is a Lincolnshire County Councillor and Chairman of Lincoln Conservative Assocation, and was born in Grimsby. He has spent 15 years working in property. The seat should be an interesting one – Austin Mitchell, the anti-EU Labour MP, is standing down, and Victoria Ayling, who came within 714 votes of winning there for the Conservatives in 2010 will be the UKIP candidate next year.
In Tynemouth (the constituency where I grew up, to declare an interest), Cllr Glenn Hall was selected yesterday. Born and bred on Tyneside, he moved to Tunbridge Wells, where he serves as a Borough councillor, to pursue his career as a solicitor. In 2010 he stood in another Tyneside seat, Blaydon, where he increased the Conservative vote share by 7.9 percentage points. Labour’s Alan Campbell currently holds Tynemouth with a 5,739 vote majority. Away from politics, Cllr Hall and his wife campaign for the National Autistic Society.
Bury South’s new candidate is a familiar face – Daniel Critchlow, who was the Conservative candidate in the Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election. He grew up in Prestwich, in Bury, and works in Trafford. Unusually among parliamentary candidates, he is a Church of England Minister. In Bury South, he will be chasing Labour’s 3,292 majority from 2010.
Aside from all being held by Labour, there is one thing the three constituencies all have in common: each is a seat the Conservatives could reasonably hope to win, either at the next election or the time after that. And yet, the chosen candidates only have a little over eight months to fight for them, thanks to the inexplicable decision to delay hundreds of selection processes.
All three will be challenging battles, made more so by the likely increase in the UKIP vote since 2010 – why on earth did the party decide to hold off on picking candidates, reducing their window of opportunity to get stuck in?