July 24 2014 Latest news:
Monday, June 23, 2014
Well over 100 hopefuls have applied to replace Tim Yeo as Conservative candidate for the South Suffolk constituency at the next general election.
Officials from the constituency party are now whittling down the applicants and are expected to draw up a long list and then a short list over the next fortnight.
Eventually there will be six potential candidates who go forward to a selection meeting on July 11.
All fully paid-up members of the South Suffolk Conservative Association will be eligible to take part in that meeting. Whoever is selected will then have almost 10 months to get to know the constituency in the run-up to the General Election in May next year.
We understand that there has been a wide range of applicants – both men and women – for the seat that became vacant after Mr Yeo failed to win the backing of the association earlier this year.
The constituency’s executive had earlier refused to automatically re-select him over concerns about his age and the amount of time he was seen to be spending in the constituency.
All the applicants have been approved by Conservative Central Office.
South Suffolk is considered an attractive prospect for aspiring Tory MPs because Mr Yeo had a majority of 8,700 over the Liberal Democrats at the 2010 General Election.
There has been speculation that some familiar names could throw their hat into the ring for the South Suffolk seat, but it is understood that most members of the association are keen to select someone who is committed to spending as much time as possible in the constituency.