Aisha Cuthbert has been selected as the Conservative candidate for Sittingbourne and Sheppey. Comprising 91.6 per cent of Gordon Henderson’s current Sittingbourne and Sheppey constituency, and with an implied majority of 21, 829 in 2019, it appears to be one of the safest Tory seats in the country.
Having grown up in Canada, Cuthbert has been a councillor in Bromley since 2018, holds the portfolio for the Environment, and stood in Lewisham West and Penge in 2019. She is a former Team GB national synchronized swimmer and has previously won the gold medal at the French Open.
Alongside Cuthbert in the final three were Ayesha Azad, a former councillor and council leader in Woking and a Surrey county councillor since 2017, and Michael Wang, who grew up in China, has lived in the UK since 2001, stood in Manchester Central in 2015 and 2017, and Hammersmith in 2019.
According to a local source, Cuthbert treated the selection as a “dating situation”, gave an impression that she personable and funny, and had familiarised herself with councillors and other members through previous campaigning. Like Azad, she was from outside the constituency. Wang lives locally.
Despite being “the underdog”, Cuthbert won on the first ballot. A local source said all three brought different things, and were a good crop of candidates, and the selection was free of any particular egomania. Cuthbert said she is “keen to start running a positive and respectful campaign” and “look[s] forward to meeting with local residents, businesses, schools, organisations, and more.”
Meanwhile, Laura-Beth Thompson has been selected as the Conservative candidate for Heywood and Middleton North. Won by Chris Clarkson in 2019, the new seat contains 80.5 per cent of the current Heywood and Middleton seat, and 10.3 per cent of Rochdale.
Thompson has served as a Conservative Area Officer in Lancashire since 2018, as an Assistant Planning Officer at Rochdale Borough Council since 2019 and has campaigned around the issue of birth trauma. She also previously served as a parliamentary case worker for Jake Berry. She is currently serving on Rossendale Borough Council.
Although Electoral Calculus only currently give Thomspon a two per cent chance of victory, ConservativeHome wishes her all the best – especially as both Cuthbert and herself will ease CCHQ’s concerns about a lack of female candidates. As ever, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any selections information you might have.