Amid the Clacton ruckus, don’t forget that tomorrow night Uxbridge Conservatives will select their candidate for the next General Election, following Sir John Randall’s decision to step down.
We now have the names of the four finalists who were whittled down from 62 applicants:
- Cllr Simon Dudley is Deputy Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. He was born in the constituency, and is a founder of Holyport College, a free school sponsored by Eton. He opposes Heathrow expansion.
- Suella Fernandes is a Harrow-born barrister, and stood against Keith Vaz in Leicester East in 2005. She is a co-founder, former chair and now trustee of the Africa Justice Foundation, and a co-founder of the Michaela Community School, a free school in Brent. *UPDATE* Suella has been in touch to confirm that she is opposed to a third runway at Heathrow.
- Boris Johnson is a little-known figure, recognisable for his shy nature and tidy dress sense. In seriousness, the Mayor needs no introduction. On Heathrow, he opposes a new runway – and interestingly last week backed down from his previous plan to close the airport entirely.
- Cllr David Simmonds is Deputy Leader of the London Borough of Hillingdon, Uxbridge’s local council. His ward, Ickenham, was in the constituency until the boundary changes in 2010, which left it just over the border in Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner. Cllr Simmonds is also a non-Executive Director of the local NHS Trust. He opposes Heathrow expansion.
One name which is notably missing is the Olympic champion James Cracknell, who was widely touted to be seeking the selection. It may be that he didn’t make the final cut, but it’s certainly a surprise given all the hype in advance.
*UPDATE* I’m told that Cracknell withdrew his application on the basis that he felt his presence was likely to generate headlines that detracted from the seriousness of the process.