The usual rush around Conservative Party conference led to a break in candidate selection coverage, while target seats continued selecting, so first off let’s do a round-up of recent results since my last update.

Newly-selected candidates

Congratulations to four new candidates in target seats:

  • Bishop Auckland: Dehenna Davison: A postgraduate researcher, Davison contested Tony Blair’s former constituency of Sedgefield last year, and Kingston upon Hull North in 2015. She is a former Parliamentary secretary, a local government officer, and worked as a retail assistant to fund herself through her recent MA in International Politics.
  • Bristol North West: Cllr Mark Weston: The Leader of the Conservative group on Bristol City Council, Weston works as Chief of Staff to Ashley Fox, MEP for the South West. He was the Conservative candidate for Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner in 2016, and contested Bristol South in last year’s General Election. He has written twice for this site.
  • Crewe and Nantwich: 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.
  • Ipswich: 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.


Meanwhile, I can reveal two new shortlists for forthcoming selection meetings.


The selection meeting for Bedford (Labour majority: 789) takes place tonight. The three finalists, from which association members will choose their candidate, are:

  • Paul Bristow: Conservative candidate in Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland in 2010, and also a former Hammersmith and Fulham councillor and cabinet member. Bristow is Managing Director of his own public affairs consultancy, and chairman of the Association of Professional Political Consultancies. He served as Conservative Future national chairman from 2003 to 2005. He has written for ConservativeHome, including on the topic of Momentum.
  • Cllr Ryan Henson: An East Hertfordshire councillor, Henson’s day job is as Senior Political Advisor to CAFOD, the international development charity. He too has written for ConservativeHome, most recently on social mobility and opportunity for working class white boys.


Parvez Akhtar has withdrawn from the contest, and has therefore been replaced by:

  • Cllr Darren Henry: A Wiltshire councillor, and Conservative Party Area Chairman for Wiltshire, he holds the council’s planning portfolio. Henry is a former Squadron Leader in the RAF, and spent 26 years in the armed forces. He contested Wolverhampton North East in the 2015 General Election, and in his spare time he is a rugby referee.

Bury North

The Bury North (Labour majority: 4,375) selection will take place on Saturday 20th October. Best of luck to the three finalists, a trio of councillors:

  • Cllr James Daly: A criminal defence solicitor by profession, Daly has been a Bury councillor since 2012, representing the North Manor ward, and is currently Leader of Bury Conservatives. At the end of 2015, he was selected as Conservative candidate for the Oldham West and Royton by-election, and he contested Bolton North East at the 2017 General Election.
  • Cllr Laura Evans: Evans runs a fibre optic technology business, and has been a Trafford councillor since 2011. She is a former executive member and now serves as a Shadow Cabinet member in the borough, and  contested Liverpool Walton last year for the Conservatives.
  • Cllr Jane Howard: A Rochdale councillor, and Shadow Portfolio for Adult Social Care, Howard contested the Rochdale constituency in last year’s General Election. Formerly a self-employed communications consultant, she currently works for the University of Salford on Internal Communications. She writes a blog on politics here.