Witham victory for Priti Patel

WITHAM Conservatives last night chose William Hague's former media adviser Priti Patel as their candidate for the next General Election.Ms Patel, 33, defeated three male candidates for the right to fight the plum seat, which is expected to have a Tory majority of more than 10,000.

By Graham Dines

WITHAM Conservatives last night chose William Hague's former media adviser Priti Patel as their candidate for the next General Election.

Ms Patel, 33, defeated three male candidates for the right to fight the plum seat, which is expected to have a Tory majority of more than 10,000. It has been created under major boundary changes in Essex, and comprises parts of the existing Colchester, Maldon & Chelmsford East, Essex North, and Braintree divisions.

It took three ballots for Miss Patel to emerge as outright winner, although she was ahead throughout the meeting of more than 200 activists.


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Anne Jenkin, chairman of the campaigning Tory group Women2Win, said she was “absolutely delighted” at Ms Patel's success.

Losing finalists were Euro MP Geoffrey Van Orden, Hornchurch MP James Brokenshire - whose seat disappears under boundary changes in north and east London, and Charlie Elphicke.

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Ms Patel, who contested Nottingham North at the last election, won though just days after Asian candidate Ali Miraj failed to make the shortlist, claiming he had been previously told by a number of Tory MPs that they would be “shocked” if Witham did not choose a white middle-aged man.

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