Another selection to replace a long-serving but retiring Conservative MP, and once again, no local candidate has made the final shortlist. After the shortlisting committee in Central Suffolk and North Ipswich announced their final six, members of the Conservative Group on Mid Suffolk District Council wrote to the East Anglian Daily Times to have a bit of a whinge about the fact that none of them had been successful. Indeed, they're not the only ones wondering aloud about the seeming exclusion policy for local Tories, with Ellie Seymour asking, "Where are the local Suffolk candidates?".
However, according to the EADT, Matt Hancock, chief of staff to shadow Chancellor George Osborne, has emerged as favourite to represent Newmarket, Haverhill and Mildenhall. The other five candidates are Natalie Elphicke, Anthony Frieze, Sam Gyimah, Sheila Lawlor and Lucille Nicholson.
So, either Conservative activists in Forest Heath, St Edmundsbury and Mid Suffolk aren't very ambitious, or they aren't very good. Answers on a postcard? On the other hand, Iain Dale won't be suggesting that anyone is whoring themselves around the country in search of a safe seat. After all, between them, the six shortlisted in Suffolk West have only sought selection in Gosport, Penrith and the Border, Salisbury, Skipton and Ripon, Hammersmith, Macclesfield, Sleaford and North Hykeham, Hexham, Hampshire East, Congleton...
Totally take exception to this 'whoring themselves around' comment. So what are candidates meant to do? Apply for one seat, then meekly say goodbye to their lifelong dreams of entering politics if they don't succeed? Come on, Iain Dale, don't be facetious and cynical. These are real people, with real hopes - and all for £65k and the chance to be abused by people like you for the rest of their careers. We should be thanking them, not slagging them off.
I agree wholeheartedly. I've been a returning officer for PPC selections, I've assessed potential candidates so that they can be on the approved list, and I am still amazed that people are willing to put their egos on the line in such a way.
I think that Iain was being supportive of his Party's campaign in Norwich North when he laid the 'whoring herself around' charge against the Liberal Democrat candidate and, whilst I thought that he was pushing the boundaries of common decency at the time, he has laid himself, and his fellow Conservatives, open to the same charge.
The best candidate for any Party and any constituency is one who truly wants to serve the electorate, and it doesn't matter where they come from, or who they are, as long as they understand the issues and can represent them in Parliament.
If we want the best people in politics, we shouldn't put artificial barriers in their way.
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