Local Tories Furious as CCHQ Excludes Favourite Candidate in Delayed Safe-Seat Selection

After six months of wrangling and intrigue, it looked like there might finally be a resolution to the selection in the plum Tory seat of Chester South and Eddisbury. Late last week, the selection committee met and agreed a final shortlist – comprised of Adam Wordsworth, Sanjoy Sen and chicken-running Kieran Mullan. One local source told Guido people were “coalescing around” “well known, strong local candidate” Wordsworth.

Of course, Mullan once again saw the writing on the wall and got CCHQ to lend him a hand. After Wordsworth sent out letters to members describing the current Crewe MP as being “parachuted in”, Mullan complained to the party. The Tories acted quickly to have the local favourite kicked out of the contest – and even off the approved candidates list. The selection vote, due for Friday, has been paused pending an investigation…

Local activists are “furious”. After Eddisbury’s previous experience with Antoinette Sandbach, there is a perception that the seat is again being stitched up for the preferred party candidate. Local activists are aggrieved at Wordsworth’s ousting and have little faith that a fair and democratic contest will be allowed by CCHQ. This is exacerbated by the sense of a double standard. Mullan has also contacted activists, the same crime which saw Wordsworth removed from the contest. As one member put it to Guido “I don’t know how he got my number, I don’t know how he got my address”. Local sources say Greg’s Hands are all over the stitch-up. It wouldn’t be the first time…

mdi-timer 7 September 2023 @ 11:42 7 Sep 2023 @ 11:42 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Local Tories Furious as “Meddling” Hands Ignores Concerns to Select Mike Wood in Gavin Williamson’s Old Seat

The approval of Mike Wood MP as the candidate for the new seat of Kingswinford & South Staffordshire has gone down like the proverbial bucket of cold sick, after Greg Hands has been accused of intervening to stitch-up the process. Mike had a clear first stab at the re-jigged constituency, comprised of his own seat and Gavin Williamson’s current home, after Gavin opted for the new Stone, Great Wyrley and Penkridge seat instead. Local Tories weren’t going to let this happen so easily.

The contest to approve Mike’s re-adoption was incredibly close fought and tensions boiled over after one activist was found to have cast their vote despite having an invalid membership. According to one local source, this lead to an “enormous” number of local complaints and they had right to be aggrieved. Due to the close nature of the contest, Guido hears that one vote could have been “meaningful”…

Following these developments, the South Staffordshire Area Chairman wrote to activists, explaining that he had sent a report to CCHQ detailing potential next steps. This was swiftly ignored following “a recommendation” from the Party Chairman and Mike Wood was successfully adopted. Unsurprisingly, local activists, who still hold animosity towards CCHQ after controversy surrounding nearby MP Theo Clarke’s re-selection, aren’t happy. One activist said Greg had to make sure “his cronies got what they wanted” as another involved in the selection lamented that “all I want to see is democracy”. CCHQ invariably tries to tip the scales in favour of incumbents. Nevertheless it all seems a bit heavy handed from Greg.

Co-conspirators can read the full letter from the Staffordshire Area Chairman below:

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Seb Payne Narrowly Misses Out on “Knife-Edge” Selection as Nick Timothy Takes Hancock’s Seat

Seb Payne’s political ambitions faced yet another setback over the weekend, as he came second in the race to represent the safe Tory seat of Bromsgrove. Seb, who described himself as a “part-time Michael Gove stunt double”, can take some positives from his defeat in the Battle of Bromsgrove. Insiders say he performed well and came across as credible in a very tightly fought race – with the winner being decided on a “razor-fine” margin. Winner, Bradley Thomas’s local links gave him the edge.

There was some discontent in the association, as reported by Michael Crick, as a ‘refer back motion’ to restart the selection was proposed – though eventually defeated. Over the weekend another Westminster insider did get one step closer to the green benches, as Nick Timothy won selection in Matt Hancock’s West Suffolk seat. Guido’s heart bleeds for Neil Hudson

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Seb Payne Makes List for Selection to Saj’s Safe Seat

The selection process for the seat of Bromsgrove, currently occupied by Sajid Javid, is well underway. As a rare Tory safe seat, even on current polls, the competition has been fierce. One cause for conflict was the fact that a leading front-runner, former MP Paul Uppal, was also the Association Chair responsible for running the contest. Paul gave a strong non-denial when Guido asked about his candidacy last month.

Since then, the process has been delayed (and restarted), a new Association Chair has been selected and a long-list drawn up. Amongst those on the list are Paul Uppal and Neil Shastri-Hurst, whilst Michael Crick reports Birmingham Tory Bobby Alden is also in the running. Though one name in particular will stick out to SW1-based readers: Seb Payne has made the cut following his payneful night in Selby. Onward and upward…

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CCHQ Forces Kieran Mullan into Chester Selection Shortlist, Facing Off Against Tory MP Andy Carter

CCHQ has doubled-down on their attempt to stitch-up the safe seat of Chester South and Eddisbury. After failing to build local support, chicken running MP Keiran Mullan had re-opened the field to competition, however it didn’t stop the local party voting against his re-adoption. This didn’t bother CCHQ, who pressed ahead and shoehorned him into the final shortlist anyway…

Set to join Mullan in the final round is Warrington South MP, Andy Carter, who is launching his own charm offensive on the local party. Kieran Mullan has a tough task on his hands to make his chicken run a success, local activists aren’t happy with a perception that he’s tried to take credit for Edward Timpson’s work on a local hospital. The final shortlist is still to be decided, with selection to take place over the summer.

Alas, Guido hears Iceland nepo-baby Richard Walker has been frozen out of the contest by CCHQ as they only want “certain people” selected. Perhaps related to the fact he’s previously campaigned alongside Extinction Rebellion

mdi-timer 9 June 2023 @ 16:45 9 Jun 2023 @ 16:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Kieran Mullan’s Stitch-Up Switich-Up Opens Door to Tory Chicken Run Showdown

Kieran Mullan has abandoned his plans to stitch-up the nomination for Chester South and Eddisbury, opening the door for a selection battle in the safe Tory seat. A meeting of the selection committee had been scheduled for 19th May to confirm or reject Mullan’s selection, however a statement has since been circulated confirming that the Crewe MP is now willing to open the field to competition. Mullan said:

“I have benefited from being able to speak to a wide variety of people locally (both involved and not involved in the selection process) and I have given all the feedback I have received a great deal of thought.

I would like to feel any process that selected me was fair and credible and would have the support of members. I think the only way to achieve that now is to be put forward to the final alongside other candidates to allow a choice by members. I appreciate the time and effort many of you have put into this process to date and thank you for your time.”

To translate – he spoke to local members and realised he was about to lose. Mullan was initially offered a place in the final three back in February, however he rejected it, claiming he was “entitled” to be the incumbent.

Mullan’s decision means a scrap for a rare Conservative safe haven is on the cards. Local sources expect a number of MPs will attempt the chicken run, whilst Richard Walker’s name is still getting mentioned as a potential candidate. Topping the list of potential seat-switchers is Andy Carter. Chris Clarkson is also rumoured to be interested as Stuart Anderson’s name got a mention too. All of whom are forecast to lose their seats on current polls…

mdi-timer 17 May 2023 @ 13:59 17 May 2023 @ 13:59 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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