Although this weekend may have brought the declaration from Oliver Dowden that he would like to see half of all Conservative candidates be female at the next election, ConservativeHome can announce that this will not be starting in Chesham and Amersham.
Nevertheless, congratulations are due to Gareth Williams, who was selected as the Parliamentary spokesman and prospective parliamentary candidate in Chesham and Amersham on Saturday. He is the Deputy Leader of Buckinghamshire Council, as well as the Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration.
Those unsuccessful in being selected this time around included Louise Staite, an Amersham resident and former parliamentary candidate in Oxford East, and Peter Fleet, who had been the candidate at the June by-election last year. That is a reminder that the seat was lost last year to the Liberal Democrats, in the aftermath of the death of Dame Cheryl Gillian.
On that occasion, Sarah Green won 56.7 percent of the vote, an increase of 30.4 percent and a swing from the Conservatives of 25.2 percent. Nevertheless, that was the first time a non-Conservative candidate has won the constituency since its formation in 1974.
With the seat’s loss attributed to local opposition to planning reform, HS2, and the perception the Government was disinterested in the South, the selection of Williams – a local figure, and a vocal supporter of the Green Belt – can hopefully neutralise a few of those issues.