On Saturday, association officers in two target seats interviewed longlisted candidates in order to produce shortlists of three to present to local members at forthcoming selection meetings. ConservativeHome can reveal the resulting shortlists are:

Ipswich (Labour majority: 836)

Cllr Joel Charles: Cllr Charles is Deputy Leader of the Conservative opposition on Harlow council. His past experience includes working Parliamentary Assistant to Julian Brazier MP, managing communications for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, and two years working on policy for a national employment and disability charity. He is now Director of Government Relations at Future Care Capital, a health and social care charity. He recently wrote for ConservativeHome about the future of ground campaigning.

Alex Deane: Born and raised in Suffolk, Deane is currently Senior Managing Director of public affairs firm FTI Consulting. He served as Chief of Staff to David Cameron when the latter was Shadow Education Secretary, before spending four years as a barrister. From 2009-2011, Deane served as Director of Big Brother Watch, and he is a Board member of Conservative Way Forward as well as a member of the Management Committee of The Freedom Association (disclosure: alongside the author of this post). He spent six years as a Common Councilman of the City of London Corporation, and campaigned for Ben Gummer in Ipswich in the 2017 General Election. He has written for ConservativeHome on a wide range of subjects, most recently on the need to create more Leave-supporting members of the House of Lords.

Tom Hunt: A former East Cambridgeshire District Councillor, Hunt contested Doncaster Central in the 2017 General Election and stood in the East of England constituency in the 2014 European Elections. He has worked as a Parliament Assistant to Oliver Dowden MP, before running media relations for the Countryside Alliance. Hunt is currently Chief of Staff to James Palmer, the elected mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough (a role that required him to give up his council seat). He has written for ConservativeHome on a number of different topics, most recently the electoral impact of the issue of fox hunting.

Warwick and Leamington (Labour majority: 1,206)

Cllr Stuart Anderson: A Herefordshire County Councillor, Anderson is a British Army veteran who served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Kosovo. Following military service, he spent 12 years in the private security industry, from providing close protection to running a business providing training and personal security around the world. Since 2013 he has worked as the founder and chief executive of his own digital travel safety company. Anderson is also Deputy Chairman (Political) of Hereford and South Herefordhsire

Cllr Charlotte Hodivala: Elected to Birmingham City Council in May of this year, Hodivala also contested Birmingham Perry Barr in the 2017 and 2015 General Elections. Hodivala works as a sales manager in the pharmaceuticals sector, and earlier this year founded Mindsafe, a social media platform aimed at supporting patients with dementia. She is also a former mayor of Sutton Coldfield, and has written for ConservativeHome about the success of localism in the town.

Cllr Jack Rankin: Rankin is Cabinet Member for Economic Development in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, and contested Ashton-under-Lyne in last year’s General Election. Since securing a Master’s degree in Mathematics and Physics, he has worked for Centrica in a variety of roles involving analysis of the energy sector. Rankin is also Deputy Chairman of Windsor Conservative Association.

Congratulations to all six candidates for making the cut – the final selection meeting in Warwick and Leamington will take place this Friday, 21st September, while the final in Ipswich will be held next week, on Thursday 27th September.