The Cambridge News reports that the South Cambridgeshire Conservative Association has chosen a shortlist of four to be the party’s candidate for the next election, when our existing MP Andrew Lansley retires. South Cambridgeshire is the 90% rural parliamentary constituency to the west of the city, which has Queen Edith’s ward awkwardly tacked on to it, and the vote is traditionally dominated by the Conservative Party. Whoever gets chosen is highly likely to be our next MP, despite our own part of the constituency not having elected a Conservative in a local election since 1996.
With such a great chance of getting the job at Westminster, there were unsurprisingly over 100 applicants for the candidature, according to the News. However (and disappointingly), none of the final four come from the county, and I’m sure that all of them will hurriedly be poring over a map to learn the difference between Shelford and Swavesey. The prospective candidates are Heidi Allen, a district councillor from St Albans; Jo Churchill, a county councillor from Lincolnshire; Charlotte Vere, who stood in Brighton at the last election but lost to the country’s only Green MP; and Helen Whately, who stood in Kingston and Surbiton at the last election but lost to Lib Dem Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey.
At least three of the candidates have tried and failed to become candidates in other constituencies in the past year. Helen Whately was not selected from the shortlist for North East Hampshire in November; Charlotte Vere didn’t get past the shortlist to be the Conservative candidate in Croydon South at the same time; and Heidi Allen similarly lost out in South East Cambridgeshire earlier this year.