Mystery and misinformation surrounds the selection of a Tory candidate for the Kentish seaside seat of South Thanet. Laura Sandys, one of the many female MPs standing down after just one term, announced her intention to quit last year. She did it early on in order to give her successor a chance to properly ‘bed in’ as a candidate. CCHQ however waited until late last month to open up the selection process. Last week that selection was abruptly halted, and those that had applied were told this was due to circumstances beyond the control of the association:
“Please note that due to circumstances beyond our control, there has been a delay in the Selection process.”
Interviews and tests planned for the weekend were suspended.
When Guido put this to CCHQ on Friday afternoon, the story was flatly denied by a press officer who claims to have checked with the candidates department and was confident that the selection process was continuing normally. A miss-speak, at best.
When this morning Guido suggested that they might like to “revise” their thoughts on the issue, in light of the email, a Conservative spokesman said:
“This is a matter for the local association.”
Yet the local association say it is due to circumstances beyond their control. What could it be about the prospect of Nigel Farage standing in the seat that so spooks the Tories?