As I’ve previously reported, it’s been a bit of an anxious summer for members of the Conservative Party candidates’ list – after a tough time in the campaign, they were all accidentally given the impression that they had been dropped, then were told that the Candidates Committee would be deciding their fate on 11th July.
Those frustrations boiled over Amanda Sater, co-chair of the Candidates Committee, was apparently heckled by candidates at the ‘thank you’ reception in June – an event for which candidates had to buy tickets, and which was inexplicably not attended by the Party Chairman. I’m told by people who were there that Amber Rudd had to “defuse an angry mob”. The crowd might not have been setting buses on fire or throwing bins through windows, but given that candidates are normally on best behaviour at official Party functions, openly heckling the officials in charge of deciding their futures is the Tory candidate equivalent of open revolt.
After a two-month wait for news, and more than a few bitten fingernails, last week they received an update.
Again, the first some heard was an automated Direct Debit email, informing them that a new subscription had been created for their candidates’ list subs – it turned out this was good news for those who received it, who have been returned to the list without any further hurdles. Those back on include some who stood unsuccessfully, and some who were not selected to stand anywhere in the recent election.
For others, the wait continues. Some have been asked to provide a 300-word statement about their work in the campaign by the end of this month, following which they will face an interview “by individuals who are unlikely to be known to you” during the week of 4th September. Over the course of 30 minutes, the interviewers, “a senior Party Volunteer and a senior Professional”, will assess “campaign leadership and motivation, communication and the ability to relate to people, depth and intellect, energy and commitment, manner and attitude and commitment to inclusion and diversity….[and the candidate’s] campaigning track record and capabilities, either as a Candidate or in support of target seats”.
An assessment panel will then review the interviewers’ report, and the final verdicts will be delivered by the Candidates Committee in late September.
A smaller category of candidates up for review is those who were fast-tracked onto the list during the campaign via the so-called “ePABs”, remote assessments put in place as a fast substitute for the normal assessment board weekends. I gather some of these candidates will now be asked to undergo a full, traditional PAB to retain their place on the list.