In November, Stephen Dorrell announced his decision to step down at the General Election. Tonight, the Charnwood Conservative Association will select a candidate to take his place.
For some reason, this selection has been kept particularly quiet – one source has kindly provided us with the list of the four finalists who will be competing for the nomination, but it seems that even the candidates themselves haven’t been informed of who they are up against. This seems somewhat unfair on them, but even more unfair for those Association members who will make the decision – it ought to be normal practice that they should have advance warning and thus be able to do some research into the four candidates beforehand.
The finalists are:
- Edward Argar. A Westminster councillor and Cabinet member for City Management, Transport and Environment, he fought the Lib/Lab marginal constituency of Oxford East at the 2010 General Election, where he increased the Conservative vote share by 1.5 percentage points. Before moving to a career in the private sector, he worked for Michael Ancram when he was Shadow Foreign Secretary. Argar has been a finalist in a number of selections over the last couple of years.
- Cllr Simon Hoare. Cllr Hoare represents Witney West and Bampton on Oxfordshire Country Council, and also sits on West Oxfordshire District Council. In his professional life, he is Managing Director of Community Connect, his own public affairs agency which works in the property development sector. In 2010 he fought Cardiff South and Penarth, where he increased the Conservative vote share by 4.4 percentage points.
- Stephen Mold. Currently the Chairman of the East Midlands Regional Conservative Party, Mold fought Derby North in the 2010 General Election, missing out by just 613 votes after a Liberal Democrat squeeze saw the Tory vote share fall by 3.7 percentage points. He lives in Northampton, and is European Sales & Marketing Director for a US software company. Aside from work and politics, he is a trustee of Grandparents Plus, a charity which champions the role of grandparents in children’s lives. In 2013 he contested the Primary for Northampton South.
- David Skelton. A County Durham lad, Skelton is a former Deputy Director of Policy Exchange. Last year he founded Renewal, an organisation exploring the key question of how to restore Conservative prospects outside the party’s core in the South East. He stood in North Durham in 2010, where he increased the Conservative vote share by 4.3 percentage points, taking second place from the Lib Dems.