On this site last Friday, Iain Dale described CCHQ’s handling of the London Mayoral Conservative candidate selection as “outrageous”. In the Times a day later, Matthew Parris labelled it “positively Soviet”. We had previously made the same complaint – in much the same language – and asked: what has it come to when Labour is running a better London Mayoral Selection than the Conservatives?
The background to this triple criticism is that candidates (Andrew Boff, Zac Goldsmith, Stephen Greenhalgh, Phillipa Roe, Syed Kamall and Ivan Massow) are apparently to be whittled down to a list of two or three – which will then be put to an Open Primary.
“Why shouldn’t Londoners have a much wider choice?” wrote Iain. If the candidates are credible, why not put them all through? Labour have just done that, and they are giving people six candidates to choose from.”
We agree with Iain. You may not. But, either way, Party members should surely know who is to make the shortlist decision, and on what basis.
CCHQ has now been in touch. It claims that there is no secrecy about how the six candidates will be reduced to two or three: a committee of Regional London Officers, Area Chairman and Deputy Chairmen, and elected additional area Chairmen will do the sifting, as was the case in the 2008 Mayoral Selection.
ConservativeHome asked why this information hadn’t been made available before (we had asked CCHQ three times, and got no response), and if the names of those on the committee would be released. We also asked whether or not Phillipa Roe, who has joined the race a bit on the late side (she made the case for her candidacy on this site yesterday), has been persuaded to enter the contest and will make the shortlist simply because Downing Street and CCHQ want a woman on it. We wouldn’t have asked were this suggestion not, as many of our readers will know, being widely put about. (One source points out that her campaign website is provided by Blue Tree, which is the standard CCHQ website platform for candidates.)
On names, CCHQ’s answer was that were the names of the committee members to be released, they “would be lobbied” on behalf of the candidates. Our response was to suggest that Party members offering their views to the committee members was surely a good thing rather than a bad one.
On Roe, CCHQ denied any shortlist plot. ConservativeHome hasn’t yet given a view on who the candidate should be but, clearly, Roe is no less qualified than any of the other candidates – and arguably more so than some, since she heads a big London local authority.
At any rate, the names of those on the selection committee have still not arrived from CCHQ, more than two days on. So here they are anyway: we have compiled our own list, since we believe that it’s important to blow as much of the secrecy off this selection as possible.
We apologise if any of the details are out of date, but will be directing any complaint to CCHQ – since it could clear up any confusion simply by releasing the names. After all, as no less senior a person than the Prime Minister once put it: “We are creating a new era of transparency.”
- Ian Twinn – London Chairman
- Gotz Mohindra – London Deputy Chairman (Political & Campaigning)
- Kishan Devani – London Deputy Chairman (Membership & Finance)
- Richard Bunting.
- Paul Canal.
- Matthew Coggins.
- Peter Golds.
- Ahmed Hussain.
- Graham Postles.
- Nicolas Clark.
- Tara Douglas-Home.
- Edward Heckels.
- Nabil Naijar.
- Russell A’Court.
- Edward Hayter.
- Michael Mitchell.
- Michael Rutherford.
- John Samiotis.
- Julian Walden – Field Director (non voting)