Mike Wood was selected as the Dudley South Conservative candidate at next year’s General Election at an open caucus of voters earlier this evening. The vacancy came about after the incumbent MP Chris Kelly announced earlier this year that he would not be seeking re-election have decided that it was “increasingly difficult to find the right balance between my work and my personal and family life”.
The shortlist of candidates seeking the Labour candidacy for Cynon Valley has been announced today. Ann Clwyd, the sitting Labour MP for Cynon Valley who is seeking to reverse her decision to stand down at the next election, will have to see off a challenge from:
- Katie Antipass (@KatieAntippas) – Vice-President of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) Welsh Government Group and Vice-Chair of Cynon Valley CLP. She narrowly missed out on being elected to the Cardiff Council in 2012.
- Sue Pickering – Councillor for Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council representing the Ynysybwl ward. Case officer for Mick Antoniw, Welsh Assembly Member for Pontypridd.
- Dr Aysha Raza (@DrAyshaRaza) – Councillor for Greenford Green, Ealing Borough Council and Research Associate (neuroscience) at University College London and science tutor, originally from Aberdare (according to the BBC).
Hustings and selection are due to take place in December.
There have been numerous studies and articles analysing the demographics of UKIP voters in the last few months, but virtually nothing has been written about the actual UKIP candidates who are hoping to change UK politics at the 2015 General Election. Looking at the 50 seats which are most talked about, identified as being possible targets or considered the most ‘UKIP friendly’, 38* of these UKIP Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) have so far been selected to fight for a Westminster seat.
38 top UKIP parliamentary candidates (names and constituencies listed below)
UKIP have today confirmed that Robin Hunter-Clarke is to be their candidate in the top target seat of Boston & Skegness. With a degree in law from the University of Chester, Hunter-Clarke is a Lincolnshire County Councillor and Skegness Town Councillor, all at the tender age of 21. He was elected as a UKIP NEC member in March this year and is chairman of Boston & Skegness branch.
Given all the rumours and speculation, on this occasion, the principle of Occam’s razor comes to mind.
Speculation continues about the identity of the UKIP candidate for Boston & Skegness that was selected last week. Although an announcement was originally expected on Monday, following endorsement by the party’s National Executive Committee, it is not now expected until this weekend, once tomorrow’s Rochester & Strood by-election is out of the way. In the absence of any solid information, a range of theories have circulated – the candidate will be a newly defecting sitting MP, Victoria Ayling moving from fighting Great Grimsby to B&S (which was quickly denied) and even the UKIP-supporting former DJ Mike Reed (see the tweet below from the Conservative candidate Marc Jones in Great Grimsby). The most likely name mentioned is that of Robin Hunter-Clarke, a local councillor and the party’s branch chairman.
You might have assumed with less than six months to go before the 2015 General Election that the pace of candidate selections – and all the potential advantages that might bring – would have quickened. In fact it has proceeded at a slow pace. Two months ago in late September when this blog last considered the overall numbers of candidates selected, the figures were 196 Conservatives candidates still to be decided, 89 Labour and 450 Liberal Democrats. Labour is getting ever closer to completing its 2015 team, but there has not been a dramatic improvement for either the Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats.
Dudley South Conservatives have released their shortlist of the four candidates hoping to see of a Labour challenge and retain the seat won by Chris Kelly at the 2010 General Election. The seat is Labour’s 74th target seat (3,856, 10% majority) and is being contested by Natasha Millward, an Area Organiser for Unison.
The four seeking the Conservative selection in an Open meeting of pre-registered constituency voters on 26th November are:
- Sibby Buckle
- Helen Harrison
- Cllr Greg Smith
- Cllr Mike Wood.
ConHome’s Mark Wallace has all the details here.
The shortlist of Labour candidates hoping to replace Gerry Sutcliffe as the Labour MP for Bradford South has been announced. Gerry Sutcliffe, who announced that he is standing down in May 2014, has represented the seat since 1994 and will leave the new Labour PPC defending a 4,622 vote majority (12.2%). The All-Women Shortlist is:
- Adele Brown – (to be confirmed) Basildon Councillor, teacher at an academy school
- Cllr Judith Cummins – Leeds City Councillor, previously shortlisted for the Leeds East seat
- Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe – Bradford City Councillor with Employment, Skills & Culture portfolio, background with Business in the Community
- Cllr Michelle Swallow – Bradford City Councillor, works for the debt counselling charity, Christians Against Poverty (CAP) – headquartered in Bradford.
UPDATE: Judith Cummins was selected to fight the seat on Saturday 22nd November. She is currently a full-time councillor on Leeds City Council, representing Temple Newsam. She was previously a councillor, representing Royds, on Bradford Metropolitan District Council. In 2010 she acted as the agent for Chris Leslie who successfully won the Shipley seat. According to her website she has worked in Westminster in the Whips’ Office and as a life-long trade unionist for the Civil & Public Service Association (CPSA), she was educated by the trade union movement at Ruskin College, University of Oxford.
The tweets below tell the story so far – a UKIP candidate was selected last night for their target seat of Boston & Skegness, but we don’t know who it is yet. But it is not former Conservative MP and now UKIP Deputy Chairman, Neil Hamilton.
In their book, ‘Revolt on the Right’, Rob Ford (@RobFordMancs) of Mancheser University and Matthew Goodwin (@GoodwinMJ) of Nottingham University identified Boston & Skegness as the second most demographically “UKIP-friendly” Conservative seat in the country. In October, the Boston Standard reported on a Survation poll (595 respondents), commissioned by UKIP, that put the party on 46 per cent, with the Conservatives on 26, Labour 21 and the Lib Dems on two per cent with ‘others’ on six. Another study has shown that Boston & Skegness also has the most negative opinion of immigration. Unsurprisingly it was named as one of UKIP’s top 12 target seats by Sky News.
The Conservatives selected Matt Warman as their PPC in late October, after Mark Simmonds, who has represented the constituency since 2001, announced his retirement at the next election.
UPDATE: The Boston Target and other local papers are reporting that the chosen candidate is believed to have local connections with the constituency and took 85 per cent of the vote. UKIP say they cannot reveal who the candidate is until it has been agreed by the party’s National Executive Committee. Also added that Neil Hamilton is a Deputy Chairman of UKIP.
The political website ConservativeHome broke new ground in the months running up to the 2010 General Election. Never before had a website provided so much background, analysis and gossip about who the likely future (Tory) MPs would be, their former careers and their political views. ConHome was perfectly placed to do so. The question was not if, but how many would be elected. Which is why it stung when Tim Montgomerie, the then editor, criticised a feature that was based upon research I had conducted into the likely Class of 2010 new MPs. This John Harris piece in The Guardian (‘Why public schools are likely to rule in 2010′, 7 November 2009) bemoaned the lack of diversity of the next generation of Conservative MPs. [The piece is not available online at present unfortunately].
In Montgomerie’s response, ‘We should look beyond gender and ethnicity in discussion of candidate diversity’, he argued that journalists and commentators were obsessed with gender and ethnicity (and presumably educational background), making the case that “the focus on diversity is too narrow, too superficial”. In a later piece he referred to “the formulaic obsession with the colour, gender and sexuality of PPCs”. Rather than judging a party’s candidates and future MPs on gender, ethnicity etc, he wanted to know about higher numbers of candidates from business, social entrepreneurs, the public sector and “more people from outside of London”.