Our congratulations to Andrew Lewer MEP, who has won tonight’s selection in the Conservative-held seat of Northampton South.

Lewer, an MEP for the East Midlands since 2014, is a former leader of Derbyshire County Council and worked in publishing before getting into politics. A Eurosceptic, who has written previously for this site, he supported Leave in last year’s referendum – effectively pressing to abolish his own job.

He will now fight to retain the seat for the Conservatives – it was won with a 3,793 majority in 2015 by David Mackintosh, who quit last week before an expected deselection attempt.

Incidentally, it’s a measure of how frenetic this dash to select candidates has become that in some seats, shortlisting is happening on the day of the selection meeting. Lewer was apparently on his way to Brussels earlier today when he took a call informing him he was shortlisted, and had to turn around to get back in time for the meeting.

PS If he is elected, Lewer will vacate his seat in the European Parliament. By rights it ought therefore to go to the next person on the Conservative list in the region in 2014, Rupert Matthews (assuming he is still on the candidates list, which became an issue in a similar succession in Yorkshire last year). Regular readers may remember that Matthews was previously meant to be in line for Roger Helmer’s seat when he intended to step down in 2012 – and when CCHQ tried to block him from becoming an MEP, Helmer defected to UKIP in protest rather than step down.

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