By Matthew Barrett
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Michael Mates, who was the Member of Parliament for East Hampshire (Petersfield 1974-83) from the October 1974 election until the last election has won the nomination to be the Conservative candidate for the post of Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Mr Mates was an ally of Michael Heseltine during the 1980s, and led the parliamentary rebellions against the poll tax. He was also the cause of some negative headlines during the early 1990s, having to resign a junior Ministerial post for his association with the businessman Asil Nadir (who is currently on trial at the Old Bailey).
While in Parliament, Mates was a senior backbencher, being Chairman of the Defence Select Committee during the 1987-1992 parliament, and the Northern Ireland Select Committee during the second term of the last Labour government, and Mates was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 2004.
There are two notable elements to Mates' selection. Firstly, the fact that he used to be an MP and Minister is interesting because it makes him one of the few (former) politicians on the national stage to have won a selection contest for the Conservatives. Figures like Colonel Tim Collins and the Falklands veteran Simon Weston were rumoured candidates, but few have decided to stand. Secondly, Michael Crick has calculated that Mates will be, by a relatively narrow margin, the second-oldest candidate to be selected for such a major office: he will be 78 years and 159 days old if elected in November.