To see all of our reports on shortlists, nominations and selections from the past few days, click here. Thanks to the help of many of our readers, ConservativeHome has been first for selection news, ahead of the national press. If you have any information to share on who is up for selection and where, please click here – all our sources are strictly anonymous.
Another day brings more news of Conservative selections. If you missed it yesterday, during the day I confirmed shortlists in Brentwood and Ongar, Richmond Park and Hampstead and Kilburn (more on which below).
As we predicted last week, there are some signs that seats are being deliberately managed in batches in order to give candidates defeated in selections for top targets the opportunity to be added to shortlists in other seats, avoiding losing some of those deemed rising stars the opportunity to stand somewhere. One pattern that has emerged in the last 24 hours is for some seats selecting later this week to have shortlists of only two, leaving CCHQ a window to add a third based on the outcomes of selection meetings elsewhere.
- Blackpool South (Labour majority 2,585): Peter Anthony. A professional singer from Lytham St Anne’s, Anthony stood in this seat in 2015. He was readopted unopposed last night.
- Darlington (Labour majority 3,158): Peter Cuthbertson. The director of the Centre for Crime Prevention, Cuthbertson contested the seat in 2015, and was the Conservative candidate for Durham Police and Crime Commissioner in 2016. He has written a number of times for ConservativeHome. He defeated Paul Howell and Louis Mosley in a selection vote last night. Cllr Matthew Vickers withdrew shortly before the contest.
- Eltham (Labour majority 2,693): Cllr Matt Hartley. The Leader of the Conservative Group on Greenwich Council, and an Eltham councillor, Hartley fought Greenwich & Woolwich in 2015. He is a local school governor and credit union volunteer, and works for a national debt advice charity. He has written several times for this site. Hartley defeated Alex Crowley, Boris Johnson’s former political director, last night.
- Hampstead and Kilburn (Labour majority 1,138): Cllr Claire-Louise Leyland. A professional art therapist, Cllr Leyland leads the Conservative Opposition group, representing Belsize ward. She is also a Stakeholder Governor of the Tavistock and Portman Foundation NHS Trust. Born in South Africa, she contested the West Tyrone constituency in the 2015 General Election.
Reselecting 2015 candidates in key target seats
- Barrow and Furness (Labour majority 795): Simon Fell. Having previously run his own small business, Fell now works as director of a fraud-prevention not-for-profit. Born and raised in Lancashire, he contested the seat in 2015 and fell only a few hundred votes short of unseating John Woodcock. His mother, father and grandfather all worked at BAE, a major local employer. The local association will vote on his unopposed reselection tonight, Wednesday 26th April.
- Dagenham and Rainham (Labour majority over UKIP 4,980 – Conservatives third in 2015): Julie Marson. A grammar school girl, who spent her career in finance, Marson faced a strong UKIP challenge in this constituency in 2015. Born in Barking and raised in Chadwell Heath, she is a former Thanet councillor and has served as a magistrate. During the EU referendum campaign she sat on the board of Women for Britain, which supported Vote Leave.
- Gedling (Labour majority 2,986): Carolyn Abbott. The director of a wrought ironwork business in Sheffield, which she runs with her husband, Abbott stood in Gedling 2015. Previously, she was the Conservative candidate in Sheffield Heeley in 2001, Barnsley East and Mexborough in 2005 and Chesterfield in 2010. In 2014 she stood for Yorkshire and Humber in this year’s Euro Elections. The unopposed reselection vote will take place on Friday 28th April.
- Tooting (Labour majority 6,357): Dan Watkins (pictured, top right). Having fought here in 2015 and then in the 2016 by-election after Sadiq Khan’s election as London Mayor, this will be Watkins’ third crack at the constituency. An entrepreneur, who runs his own legal technology business, he has written several times for this site. His official, unopposed, reselection meeting will be next Wednesday, 3rd May, but I gather that enthusiastic campaigning in the seat has already begun.
- Wythenshawe and Sale East (Labour majority 10,569): Fiona Green contested the seat in 2015, and previously stood for Manchester City Council in Northenden ward in the constituency. She serves as Deputy Chairman of the local association, who will vote on her unopposed reselection on Saturday 29th April.
Candidate shortlists in key target seats
Brentford and Isleworth (Labour majority 465): Narrowly won from Labour in 2010, this ultra-marginal was even more narrowly lost again in 2015. Mary McLeod, the former MP, is seeking to stand again to take it back, but faces some stiff competition at the selection tonight, Wednesday 26th April. The shortlist is:
- James Cracknell: The Olympic champion rower and adventurer has been named as a possible Conservative MP for some time, and was selected third on the list for the South West in the 2014 European Parliament elections. His most recent foray into politics was as a supporter of Vote Leave in last year’s EU referendum.
- Mary Macleod: The former MP for Brentford and Isleworth was a management consultant and adviser to the Queen before entering politics. Following her election defeat, she became a Special Adviser to David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland, and then pursued various business interests.
- Christopher Salmon: Elected in 2012 as Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed Powys, Salmon was defeated by Plaid Cymru when he sought re-election in 2016. From 2003, he served as an officer in the British Army, and contested the Llanelli constituency for the Conservatives in the 2010 General Election. He has written several times for this site.
Bristol East (Labour majority 3,980): The Labour majority here has collapsed since its 1997 high of over 16,000, and with a squeezable UKIP vote of over 7,000 votes in 2015 it looks like a good prospect. The contested selection, which includes the 2015 candidate, will take place on Friday 28th April. Those shortlisted are:
- Theo Clarke: An art historian and entrepreneur, Clarke stood in this seat in 2015 and is seeking reselection. She grew up in Gloucestershire and attended Bristol University, and also serves as the director of Conservative Friends of International Development.
- Cllr Claire Hiscott: Bristol City Councillor for Horfield ward, Hiscott contested Bristol West in 2015, a seat heavily targeted by the Green Party. A pharmacist by profession, she serves as cabinet member for Education and Skills in the Labour mayor’s “rainbow cabinet” of members from several different parties.
- 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. He has written twice for this site.
Chorley (Labour majority 4,530): A UKIP surge saw the Conservative vote slip back here slightly in 2015, but it now looks like Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle will face a serious challenge this time. The selection is due to take place on Thursday 27th April, when local party members will choose from a shortlist of:
- Cllr Chris Clarkson: A Salford councillor, Clarkson contested Wallasey in 2015. In his day job, he is a consultant with Virgin Group, and in his spare time runs marathons with Alex Williams (shortlisted in Tatton) and Sean Anstee (Conservative candidate for Manchester Mayor). Clarkson is a former chair of Greater Manchester Conservative Young Professionals and is currently Deputy Chair (Political) of Salford Conservatives.
- Cllr Caroline Moon: A borough councillor in South Ribble, Moon is a National Commitee Member of the Conservative Workers and Trade Unionists. She is director, with her husband, of a commercial gardens and grounds maintenance firm, and also chairs the board of governors for a school in her local area.
- Andrew Snowden: Treasurer of the Chorley Conservative Association, and a ward chairman in Chorley Rural East, Snowden is also a candidate for Hoghton with Wheelton ward in the forthcoming Lancashire County Council elections. He currently works as Strategic Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor at University of Salford.
Ealing Central and Acton (Labour majority 274): This became one of the most marginal seats in the country in 2015, when Angie Bray was unseated by Labour’s Rupa Huq. It is not clear if the shortlist is only of two candidates, if there is a third we have yet to discover or if a space is being kept open in order to make a late addition. Given that the selection takes place tonight, Wednesday 26th April, we present the names of the two shortlisted candidates we have so far been able to identify:
- Cllr Joy Morrissey: A councillor in Ealing, representing Hanger Hill ward since 2014, Morrissey is the former shadow portfolio holder for health and adult social services. She currently works as Events and Network manager at the Centre for Social Justice, and is a former parliamentary assistant to Angie Bray, the ex-MP for the constituency. She was a list candidate in last year’s London Assembly elections.
- Cllr Greg Smith: Leader of the Opposition on Hammersmith and Fulham council since 2014, Smith was previously Deputy Leader of the council and has represented Town ward since 2006. He volunteers on the Trust Board of Riverside Studios, a West London arts and television venue, and runs his own marketing and campaigns business. In 2014 he was a finalist in the Dudley South open primary.
Wirral West (Labour majority 417): Held by Esther Mcvey from 2010 to 2015, this seat was narrowly regained by Labour at the last General Election and appears to be ripe for the retaking. This is one of the selection shortlists I mentioned at the start of the article, where a shortlist of two has been proposed, perhaps allowing CCHQ to add a third before the selection takes place on Saturday 29th April, should someone suitable emerge unsuccessful from an earlier selection elsewhere. For now, at least, the shortlisted candidates are:
- Tony Caldeira: A textile entrepreneur, who went to school in St Helens, Caldeira is better known as the current candidate for the post of Liverpool Mayor – he also contested the election for the same role in 2012. In 2013, he was a finalist in the Wealden Open Primary.
- Tony Cox: An engineer at Jaguar Land Rover, who began his career as an apprentice, Cox contested Newcastle-under-Lyme in 2015, missing out by just 650 votes. A local to the seat, he is also a former primary school deputy chair of governors.
The following constituencies are due to select their candidates tonight (if your constituency is selecting and has not yet come to our attention, click here):
- Barrow and Furness: Simon Fell – uncontested, biography above.
- Brentford and Isleworth: Shortlist and biographies above.
- Ealing Central and Acton: Shortlist and biographies above.
- Hornchurch and Upminster: Shortlist and biographies here.
- Richmond Park: Shortlist and biographies here.
- Tatton: Shortlist and biographies here.