The following email was sent out the candidates’ list a few minutes ago:
GENERAL ELECTION 2017
I wanted to write to you as soon as possible following the announcement of the General Election on 8 June. As you are on our list of Parliamentary Candidates you will of course be keen to hear how we are going to make sure that we have 650 candidates in place by the close of nominations on 11 May.
The selection rules have now been agreed by the Party Board. Inevitably it has to be a somewhat shorter process than we usually use. Essentially seats will fall into five categories:
1. Sitting MPs who wish to stand again
2. Conservative-held seats where the sitting MP is retiring or has not been endorsed by the members
3. Fast-track key target seats where the 2015 candidate is keen to stand there again and the Association would like them to re-stand.
4. Opposition-held key target seats
5. Opposition-held non target seats
We are just in the process of drawing up the list of target seats and ascertaining where sitting members may have decided not to stand again.
We will not be advertising seats, due to time constraints. Each Conservative-held seat and opposition-held Target seat that is selecting will be given a shortlist of three candidates to put to a General Meeting of the Association. There will be consultation between the Candidates team and the Officers of the Association in drawing up the list.
As far as we can manage in the time available we will try to bear in mind your interest in any specific seats. If you have not already done so, please let me know by sending an email to <EMAIL ADDRESS REDACTED>. I would ask that you do not flag up more than three or four seats as a maximum.
In the case of the remaining seats that are not targets, the Chairman of the Party and Chairman of the National Conservative Convention will be appointing candidates after consultation with local officers.
If we are able to offer you a place on a shortlist or a seat to fight we will be in touch as soon as we can and, given that nominations close on 11 May, this will not be too long.
If you are not successful in being selected for a seat this time around I do hope you will join the campaign of a key target seat and help us to achieve the best possible result on 8 June.
This highlights the speed with which CCHQ is trying to get candidates in place, but also the extent to which power over selections is being centralised – even this morning, a variety of senior people in the Party had expected that there would at least be a short window for any candidates on the list to apply for seats, but instead there won’t even be an application process beyond those who express an interest in a short email.