A couple of weeks ago we revealed a number of names on the longlist to succeed William Hague in Richmond. Now, the shortlist of four has been picked following interviews and canvassing assessments on the doorstep.

They are:

  • Chris Brannigan. A former Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, with whom he served on eleven operational tours, in 2012 Brannigan was shortlisted to be the Conservative candidate for Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner. After Michael Mates won the selection, Brannigan played an active role in running the campaign. He is now Manager of the Weiss Gallery, which deals in Tudor, Stuart and North European Old Masters.
  • Cllr Robert Light. Cllr Light is leader of the Conservative group on Kirklees Council, where he is the former council leader. He also serves as a Commissioner at the Audit Commission, as Deputy Chairman of the Environment Agency and as Deputy Chairman of the Local Government Association. Outside politics, he is Managing Director of a farming and equestrian business.
  • Wendy Morton. Formerly chairman of the Richmond Association, Morton stepped down in order to apply for the seat. She stood for the marginal seat of Tynemouth at the 2010 General Election, where the Conservative vote share in the seat fell by 2.2 percentage points. She is Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party for Social Action, and runs an electronics company with her husband.
  • Rishi Sunak. A businessman who co-founded a large multinational investment firm and now invests in small and fast growing British businesses, Sunak is also a Governor of the East London Science School and runs Policy Exchange’s BME Research Unit. He went to Oxford and did an MBA at Stanford University, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He recently came second in the Hertsmere selection.

It’s notable that the two advisers to Theresa May who were longlisted, Stephen Parkinson and Nick Timothy, didn’t make the final cut. After last week’s selection of Oliver Dowden in Hertsmere, I don’t think it’s as simple as saying there’s a “curse of the SpAds” – and the range of candidates shortlisted suggests it isn’t simply a question of being local, either.

The selection meeting takes place this Saturday 18th October,

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