As long-term readers will recall, the Conservative Party has had a few different interpretations of the term “open primary”. At the most comprehensive end was the selection of Sarah Wollaston in Totnes by a full postal vote of the constituency, and at the most restrictive were some peculiar efforts by local associations a few years ago to refer to normal selection meetings by the term. Over time, however, the standard definition appears to have settled around the concept of an open meeting, at which any registered voter from the constituency can attend and have their say, but at which they must vote in person.
Crewe and Nantwich
The first selection of this Parliament on those rules takes place tomorrow, Monday, in Crewe and Nantwich. Having been gained for the Conservatives by Edward Timpson in the 2008 by-election, the seat became a hyper-marginal in 2017, when Labour’s Laura Smith unseated Timpson by 48 votes.
There are two candidates in the final for the Conservative nomination:
Robert Largan. A chartered accountant at Marks and Spencer, Largan grew up in Bury and contested Bury South for the Conservatives in 2017. He served as a Hammersmith and Fulham councillor from 2014-17, and worked in Parliament for Greg Hands MP, before returning to the North West.
Dr Kieran Mullan. A doctor by profession, Mullan currently works in Accident & Emergency, and in health policy for the National Clinical Audit Commissioner. He contested Wolverhampton South East for the Conservatives in 2017, and Birmingham Hodge Hill in 2015. In addition to his work and political commitments, he is also a volunteer special constable. He has written for ConservativeHome, most recently on the Gosport hospital scandal.
Warwick and Leamington
Meanwhile, congratulations to Cllr Jack Rankin on his victory in Friday night’s selection meeting in Warwick and Leamington. Here is a re-cap of the new candidate’s sketch bio:
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.
We’re expecting a series of other target seat selections to take place over the next fortnight, and ConservativeHome will endeavour in the interests of transparency and democracy to report on them as closely as possible. As ever, any tips on timings, shortlists and so on from readers are gratefully received.