Castle lands top Tory job

A SENIOR Essex councillor who stood for the Conservatives in Suffolk as a parliamentary candidate has been elected Tory president, the most senior post in the voluntary section of the party.

By Graham Dines

A SENIOR Essex councillor who stood for the Conservatives in Suffolk as a parliamentary candidate has been elected Tory president, the most senior post in the voluntary section of the party.

Stephen Castle will be conference chairman at both the party's Spring Forum in Manchester this weekend and at the national conference being held in Bournemouth this October.

Mr Castle was born and raised in the south of the county and has a long record of campaigning, consolidating Conservative successes both in Essex and across the country.


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At 41, he is one of the youngest candidates elected to the position, reflecting the growing trend within the party of appealing to the new, younger, generation of voters.

He is married with two young children and runs a local family business. In 1997, he was the party's candidate in Ipswich and was narrowly defeated when he sought the nomination in Castle Point in 2001.

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“Being president puts me in a unique and very fortunate position at a time where the prospects for the Party are improving by the day,” said Mr Castle.

Lord Hanningfield, Leader of Essex County Council and Shadow Front Bench spokesman in the House of Lords, said: “This is great news for Essex Conservatives. Having Stephen as our president, nationally, firmly puts Essex on the political map.”

Paying tribute, Rayleigh MP Mark Francois said: “This move recognises the hard work that he has voluntarily put in to the party both locally and nationally. I have every confidence that he will make an excellent president.”

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