Suffolk Tories move with the times

CONSERVATIVES in the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich constituency have released the details of the six candidates short-listed for the seat.

Graham Dines

CONSERVATIVES in the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich constituency have released the details of the six candidates short-listed for the seat.

The announcement follows criticism that no local people have been selected in the bid to find a successor for Sir Michael Lord as MP.

An open primary is being held next week, to which any person on the electoral register can apply to attend and vote for a candidate to defend Sir Michael's 7,856 majority.


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A number of Tory activists in the county, including the Conservative group on Mid Suffolk district council, have criticised openly the absence of local people from the short-list. Many had wanted council leader Tim Passmore to have the opportunity of winning the nominations.

Tories from the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich association drew up the short-list after sifting through more than 170 applications. Chairman Stephen Britt denied any pressure had been put on them by party officials at Conservative Central Office to only pick names which were on leader David Cameron's preferred A-list.

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As the biographies and photographs of the short-listed candidates were released by Tory officials, the names have emerged of two further hopefuls with local connections but did not make the final cut -

Professor Hugo de Burgh, director of the China Media Centre at the University of Westminster, who lives in Woodbridge, and former Ipswich parliamentary candidate Edward Wild

The short-listed six are Katy Bourne from Sussex, who is an adviser to start-up renewable energy companies; Tim Clark, a head teacher in Kent; Joanna Gardner, Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea in 2008-9; Dan Poulter, a hospital doctor and deputy leader of Reigate & Banstead council in Surrey whose fianc�e was educated in Stowmarket; Dominic Schofield, who was born in Essex and is a senior consultant to a firm of head hunters; and Claire Strong, who lives in Hertfordhsire and who fought the last two European Parliament elections in the East of England constituency.

All six have pledged they would move to the constituency if they are selected.

Constituents, who do not have to be Tory Party members, have until noon on Monday November 23 to apply for tickets for the primary on November 27 by emailing mail@centralsuffolk.co.uk

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