James Cleverly chosen as Conservative candidate for Braintree to replace Brooks Newmark

Bury St Edmunds Conservative constituency candidates at the King Edward VI School last night for the

Bury St Edmunds Conservative constituency candidates at the King Edward VI School last night for the election that will see the winner fight the next general election. James Cleverly - Credit: Archant

The Conservative Party has selected its candidate to fight for the Braintree seat in May’s general election.

James Cleverly, currently a London Assembly member, has been chosen by the Braintree Consituency Conservative Association to fight for the place in Parliament.

A new candidate was needed to replace sitting Tory MP Brooks Newmark who announced last year he was stepping down after being caught sending sexually explicit messages to who he thought was a party PR person in a tabloid sting.

Mr Cleverly, 45, holds the Bexley and Bromley seat in the London Assembly, is chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, served as an officer in the Territorial Army for more than 20 years.

He said: “I am so excited about this opportunity, and feel very lucky to have been selected. I am over the moon.

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“I come from a business background and I really want to see business take off in the area, both in the town centre and those little ones that people don’t realise exist in back bedrooms in the villages.”

Mr Cleverly also stood as a candidate in the Tory selection process to replace Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley.

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Chris Siddall, chairman of the local Conservative association, said: “He is a brilliant candidate.

“We were spoilt for choice, we had four very good options, but he was the stand-out candidate and we are delighted to have him.

“I have been campaigning with him today [Wednesday], meeting local businesses and shoppers, and he was received really well.

“He has family in Bures so he has a local connection which is great, and he is really excited to get going.”

Mr Newmark currently commands a majority of 16,121.

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