To see all of our reports on shortlists, nominations and selections from the past few days, click here. Thanks to the help of many of our readers, ConservativeHome has been first for selection news, ahead of the national press. If you have any information to share on who is up for selection and where, please click here – all our sources are strictly anonymous.
The dash to select Conservative candidates in time for the nomination deadline of 11th May is intensifying. If you missed it yesterday, during the day I confirmed two further shortlists of candidates hoping to succeed retiring Conservative MPs – in Tatton, and in Hornchurch and Upminster.
The very latest details of selections, shortlists and nominations are revealed below.
Types of constituency
It’s worth noting that CCHQ appears to be dividing seats into six tiers which dictate, to an extent, the type of selection process but also the degree of activist and financial support will be allocated to each campaign. The details of exactly which seat is in which tier are being tightly controlled, but these are worth bearing in mind when assessing May’s strategy.
Tier One – Held by a sitting Conservative MP (including those where the MP is retiring)
Tier Two – Held by the Conservatives recently, but currently held by another party (particularly those lost in 2015)
Tier Three – Key target seats, either not held before or not for some time, where the Conservatives have a reasonable expectation of victory
Tier Four – Target seats currently held by the opposition that the Conservatives hope to win as secondary objectives
Tier Five – Development seats, which the Conservatives do not expect to win but which will receive some financial support to nurture them to become future targets
Tier Six – Non-target seats, so securely held by other parties that they will not receive targeted activist or financial support
The lines aren’t entirely clear, but broadly Tier One seats will all have contested selections from shortlists of three. Tier Two, Three and Four seats will normally have contested selections from shortlists of three, unless CCHQ and the local Association agree to put forward the 2015 General Election candidate for a reselection vote of the members as a sole candidate. Tiers Five and Six are seats in which CCHQ reserves the power, with at least nominal consultation locally, to impose a single candidate without a vote of local members. Which tier each seat falls into is not being released, but can be at least roughly deduced from the type of selection process used (except for Scottish seats, which are almost all selecting from shortlists of one by default).
Shortlists in Conservative-held seats
Barring any further retirement announcements, there are only two shortlists in Conservative-held seats which we have not yet published. Aldershot’s shortlist is being disputed by the local association, as I revealed on Sunday, so may not be finalised, but today I can reveal two-thirds of the remaining constituency’s shortlist:
Brentwood and Ongar (Conservative majority 21,810): The selection will take place on Friday 28th April, from a shortlist of the following (plus one candidate whose name we are yet to learn):
- Sarah Heald. Currently Director of Corporate Affairs and Investor Relations at Pennon Group, the utility firm which owns South West Water, Heald is a former Associate Partner at financial PR firm Finsbury and investment banker at the Bank of Montreal. In 2014 she was longlisted in Havant and in Banbury. Her father is Sir Oliver Heald, MP for North East Hertfordshire.
- Cllr Gagan Mohindra. An Epping Forest Councillor since 2006, Cllr Mohindra currently holds the Finance Portfolio on the District Council and is contesting the Chigwell and Loughton Broadway ward in the forthcoming Essex County Council elections. He is a self-employed businessman, serves as Chairman of Epping Forest Conservatives, and fought North Tyneside in the 2010 General Election.
- Aberdeen South: Ross Thomson MSP represents the North East Scotland region at Holyrood, and secured a 19 per cent increase in the Conservative vote last year in the overlapping Aberdeen South and North Kincardine Scottish Parliament constituency. He stood for Westminster in Gordon in 2010.
- Carshalton and Wallington: Matthew Maxwell Scott, the 2015 General Election candidate for this intriguing case of a Lib Dem-held seat (majority: 1,510) which voted 56 per cent Leave in last year’s referendum, was reselected by the local association last night. A speechwriter by background, Maxwell Scott is Director of the pressure group Access to Justice and works in government relations for a large firm of solicitors. He serves as the Chairman of the Sutton Conservative Association, which is local to the constituency, and has written several times for this site.
- Moray: Douglas Ross MSP, represents the Highlands and Islands region at Holyrood, and stood against Angus Robertson for the Westminster Moray seat in 2010 and 2015. He also fought the Moray Scottish parliament seat in 2011 and 2016, gaining an 18 point increase in the Conservative vote there last year.
- West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine: Andrew Bowie. After serving for three years in the Royal Navy, Bowie became North Scotland Campaign Manager for the Conservative Party. After a stint advising an MEP on rural affairs, he took up his current job as Head of Office for Liam Kerr, Member of the Scottish Parliament for North East Scotland. He won a contested selection of the association last night, from a shortlist of two.
Reselecting previous candidates in key target seats
- Alyn and Deeside (Labour majority 3,343): Mike Gibbs. In Wales, it seems key target seats are also allowed to request the chance to vote on adopting their previous Welsh Assembly candidate in an unopposed selection. Gibbs, a medical practitioner in the NHS, fought the Alyn and Deeside Assembly constituency, which has the same boundaries as the Westminster seat, last year.
- Delyn (Labour majority 2,930): Cllr Huw Williams. A farmer and Denbighshire County Councillor, Williams is another 2016 Welsh Assembly candidate who will face a selection vote unopposed. He fought the Delyn Assembly constituency, which has boundaries close to those of the Westminster seat, last year.
- Lancaster and Fleetwood (Labour majority 1,265): Eric Ollerenshaw. A familiar face to many readers, Ollerenshaw served as MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood from 2010, before being unseated in the 2015 General Election. A former London Assembly Member, he was born and brought up in Lancashire and has written several times for this site. He will be the sole candidate up for selection at a vote of the association on Friday 28th April.
- Stockport (Labour majority 10,061): Daniel Hamilton. A Senior Director at FTI Consulting, the international public affairs and communications agency, Hamilton fended off a challenge for second in Stockport in 2015 by UKIP’s Steven Woolfe. He contested the 2014 European Elections on the list for North West England, and has written numerous times for this site.
- Wrexham (Labour majority 1,831): Andrew Atkinson fought the constituency in 2015, halving Labour’s majority, and is now up for an unopposed reselection vote. Atkinson began as a self-employed window cleaner at the age of 17 and his enterprise has now grown into a large cleaning business, operating in the Wrexham area.
Candidate shortlists in key target seats
Hampstead and Kilburn (Labour majority 1,138): This London marginal will be selecting at a meeting tonight. Last night, Monday, three candidates were invited to join the shortlist, but one declined – at the time of writing there are only two shortlisted candidates, and it is unclear if a third will be added before the selection meeting. They are:
- Cllr Claire-Louise Leyland: A professional art therapist, Cllr Leyland leads the Conservative Opposition group, representing Belsize ward. She is also a Stakeholder Governor of the Tavistock and Portman Foundation NHS Trust. Born in South Africa, she contested the West Tyrone constituency in the 2015 General Election.
- Henry Newman: Director of the Eurosceptic Open Europe think tank, Newman serves as Deputy Chairman of the neighbouring Holborn and St Pancras Conservative Association and is a Camden council candidate for Highgate ward in next year’s local elections. Prior to taking up his role at Open Europe, Newman was a Special Adviser to Michael Gove at the Ministry of Justice, and prior to that he advised Francis Maude in the Cabinet Office. He has previously written for this site.
Clwyd South (Labour majority 2,402): On Wednesday 26th April, the Association will select from a shortlist of two. Unusually, both are recent candidates in the constituency:
- Simon Baynes: A former Partner at JP Morgan Cazenove, Baynes was a County Councillor in Powys from 2008-2012. He contested the Welsh Assembly constituency of Clwyd South in 2016, and previously fought Dwyfor Meirionnydd in 2010 as well as Montgomeryshire in 2005.
- Cllr David Nicholls: A barrister, Cllr Nicholls represents Redcliffe Ward in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. He contested the Clwyd South Westminster constituency in the 2015 General Election.