Following the truncated selection process we reported on Sunday, Faversham and Mid Kent’s Agent, Andrew Kennedy, has now announced the shortlist of four candidates seeking to succeed Sir Hugh Robertson. I’ve enclosed the full letter below.

Here are the four finalists:

  • Sarah Macken. Currently Chief Executive of ESCO, the industry body for the electronic systems sector, Macken previously worked at the British Chambers of Commerce. She writes her own blog (and has written occasionally for this site) on which, among other things, she expresses her support for Grammar Schools. In 2005 she stood against Stephen Timms in East Ham, where her vote suffered due to an unexpectedly high RESPECT entry into the field. She previously made the final four in Louth and Horncastle and in Braintree.
  • Laura Trott. Not to be confused with the Olympic cyclist of the same name, Trott is an adviser to the Prime Minister on Education and Family policy. Previously Special Adviser to Francis Maude at the Cabinet Office, she is a former Councillor in Camden. In 2013 was longlisted in Croydon South, and in October was longlisted for Havant.
  • Helen Whately. A management consultant working in the health sector, Whately stood against Ed Davey in Kingston and Surbiton in 2010, where she increased the Tory vote share by 3.5 percentage points. Having worked at PwC among other firms, she helped launch the first online film service in the UK for AOL, and advised the Conservatives in Opposition on Media policy. She was a finalist in Wealden, North East Hampshire, South CambridgeshireBury St Edmunds and Banbury.

Kennedy gives a brief prebuttal to any critics on his blog:

“1. Yes – it’s four women
2. Yes – they were selected by the Sift Committee on their own accord
3. No – there was no pressure from CCHQ”


The selection itself takes place on Tuesday 24 February 2015at the Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel, starting at 7pm.

Faversham and Mid Kent