Conservative Home have just announced the shortlist for the constituency PPC selection to take place on February 6th. The new PPC will replace John Gummer who announced in December that we would be standing down to focus on environmental issues. John had a majority of nearly 10,000 at the last election.
The list is a mixture of external and local candidates, many of whom have an impressive record in business, community service and voluntary activity:
- Tim Clark, who was PPC for Sheffield Brightside in 2005 standing against David Blunkett and is Headmaster of a state secondary school in Lincolnshire.
- Hugo de Burgh, Director of the China Media Centre at the University of Westminster, who lives in the constituency.
- Therese Coffey, who was a candidate at the 2009 European election in the South East and was PPC for Wrexham in 2005. She works for the BBC and is a Chartered Management Accountant.
- Kay Mason, who was PPC for Norwich North in 2001 and is a is businesswoman and farmer from Norfolk.
- Sophie Stanbrook, who stood for Suffolk County Council in 2009 and Ipswich Council in 2007 and is a lawyer in Ipswich. She is related to former MP Ivor Stanbrook.
- Nadhim Zahawi, who was PPC for Erith and Thamesmead in 1997 and served on Wandsworth Council for twelve years. He is a co-founder and CEO of YouGov.
Unlike West Suffolk, which holds its Open Primary tomorrow 30th January, this list has a far stronger representation of “local” and active candidates with a non-political background who bring a different perspective to political life. It is a good shortlist that reflects well on the constituency selection process and augurs well for the future of Suffolk Coastal.
While many aspiring PPCs (like myself) will be disappointed today, the grassroots of the party and those who have made the effort to get on the candidates list will be reassured that there are still contituencies out there that are prepared to give new and local candidates access to the selection process.