April 23 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Suggestions that London mayor Boris Johnson could be drafted in as the next Conservative candidate for South Suffolk have been laughed off by senior members of the local party.
South Suffolk Conservative Association vice-chairman Simon Barrett said he, and other association officers, had heard the suggestion – but found it difficult to take it seriously.
He said: “I have heard that some members have said ‘Wouldn’t it be good to have Boris’ but that really is pure fantasy.
“The reason we did not re-select the current MP was because members of the party in South Suffolk want to be represented by someone who spends more time in the constituency and is seen to be working hard in the constituency.
“Boris has many qualities, but if he was MP we would be in a similar position to where we are now. He would probably spend most of his time in London anyway.”
Mr Barrett said there had been other wild rumours flying around the area since the de-selection of Tim Yeo was confirmed by a ballot of association members last week.
He said: “I’ve heard some people say Michael Portillo might be persuaded to make a comeback – but I think he’s very happy with his new career as a broadcaster.”
The Association has not yet advertised the vacancy, and is having a meeting this week to decide on its next mood – but members have a clear view of the kind of candidate it wants.
Mr Barrett said: “Ideally we will choose someone in their 40s who knows Suffolk – not necessarily from the constituency, but someone who is prepared to make their home in the constituency.
“I think most of us are keen not to end up with a candidate who’s gone to Oxbridge, ended up with first in Politics and gone straight to work as a special advisor before looking for a safe seat.
“We want someone with more life experience behind them, who wants to devote most of their time to the people in the constituency.”
Mr Johnson’s second term as Mayor of London is not due to end until May 2016, a year after the next General Election, but this has not stopped him being linked with many vacant safe Tory seats.