Congratulations to Siobhan Baillie, who won the selection meeting last night to become the new Conservative candidate for Stroud, one of the first tranche of target seats to open the selection process.
A family law solicitor by profession (a topic on which she has written for ConservativeHome, here and here), Baillie contested Bermondsey and Old Southwark at last year’s General Election and is a former councillor in Camden. She was born and raised in Yorkshire, and achieved her legal qualifications by putting herself through night school while working as a secretary and teaching aerobics.
Baillie won on the first round of the selection ballot, meaning she must have achieved an outright majority of the votes cast, no mean feat. I’m told that during Q&A, members of the audience expressed concerns about the Prime Minister’s Chequers plan – a source in the room says that while all three candidates urged members “to get behind Theresa May”, “Siobhan’s [answer] was closest to saying ‘just get on with it'”.
The selection brings to a close the epic five-election battle for Stroud between David Drew and Neil Carmichael. Drew currently holds the seat with a majority of 687 votes.
In other candidate selection news, ConservativeHome can reveal that Peterborough Conservative Association has decided to invite candidate applications – apparently in preparation for a possible Peterborough by-election, Labour incumbent Fiona Onasanya is set to stand trial on allegations of perverting the course of justice.
Many speculated that the seat’s former MP, Stewart Jackson, might throw his hat in the ring once more – he was a Special Adviser to David Davis before the latter’s resignation as Brexit Secretary. However, I’m told by sources familiar with the situation that Jackson is “unlikely” to stand – probably to the relief of Downing Street, which is not enthused by his Chequers critique.