CCHQ Already Preparing For Next Election

Tory HQ was caught on the hop by the snap election, initially struggling to find enough candidates to fill seats having culled their list of approved prospective MPs. They are determined not to make the same mistake in the event of another early election – Guido hears preparations have already begun. CCHQ Head of Candidates Gareth Fox emailed the old candidates list yesterday inviting them to apply be considered for the new list. This would not normally happen for several months after an election, instead the process has been accelerated and is already underway less than a week after polling day. Applications from candidates are wanted “as soon as you can”, and by no later than 10 July. CCHQ wasn’t ready when Theresa May called the June 8 election, they want to make sure they are all set to go if they have to in the autumn…

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Tories Start Candidate Selection Process Early

The Tories have started the first stage of their candidate selection process early, Guido can reveal. CCHQ has told its parliamentary candidates list that the Team Seats programme in 44 seats will be beginning “early”. Team Seats, formerly known as City Seats, is the preliminary stage of the selection process in urban constituencies and Labour strongholds. It allows potential candidates to put their names forward and establish themselves locally before the formal selection process takes place. Candidates have been set a deadline of February 20 to apply – Tories on the list tell Guido the programme is usually launched much closer to a general election. Those who received the email yesterday were surprised to say the least – it has set a cat among the pigeons.

The email from CCHQ Head of Candidates Gareth Fox acknowledged that the party had brought forward the process:

We recognise that the early appointment of teams are essential to build trust with the Associations and for the candidates to establish themselves locally.”

Formal selection will take place “later in the parliament”. The 44 seats are in Doncaster, Rotherham, Durham, Manchester, Merseyside, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, North Tyne and South Tyne. These safe Labour seats are usually selected close to an election. A fascinating move that will help prepare the Tories either for a snap election or for an unprecedented assault on Labour seats in 2020…

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Tory Candidate Fury Mounting at “Slack” CCHQ

Given that four months out the Tories still have 81 candidates to select in England, plus all of Northern Ireland still to do, you might have thought it would be all hands t’mill over at the CCHQ candidates department. Apparently not.

According to the ‘out of office’ Gareth Fox – Head of Candidate Selection – it’s still holiday season:

“Thank you for your email, I am currently on leave until 12th January and I will respond when I return.”

Tory sources say everything is tickety boo and Fox is ‘around’ – a fact disputed by angry potential PPCs unable to get an answer to calls and emails. “This man is about as popular as herpes,” writes one co-conspiratorial candidate to Guido…

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