Sunday, 18 September 2011

Flashback to 2007 - selection the Tory way!

A number of Tory blogs seem to think their use of a Primary = open to all - to select Ben Gummer was a roaring success. Below I have posted my original piece from 2007 to remind us all it was not!

Just after the Ipswich Primary, the Tories in the South West of England used one to select a candidate. The person selected was not the choice of the local Tory Party, so they just did not endorse him.

So Mr Spencer, West and Algar - remember that the local party could overturn the decision of the primary.

I attended the Ipswich Conservative Party's new fangled "select a candidate" Primary in Ipswich last night. Two big adverts in local papers plus they distributed 9,000 flyers in Ipswich advertising the event and the outcome? 55 Ipswich constituents turned up to attend the evening, and as well as myself there were four other non Tories from a Pro Life organisation attending. At least 14 Conservative councilors attended and the remainder were made up of their partners and other Tory party members. So it had not got the people of Ipswich that interested though the local Tories are hailing the Primary as a publicity success.

The Four candidates were, Chloe Smith, James Tumbridge, Samantha George and Benedict Gummer.

The evening consisted of each candidate being interviewed for 10 minutes by a moderator then facing 20 minutes of questions. The second candidate, Chloe Smith was asked two questions by the Pro Life supporters- on abortion and embryo research, when she gave her answer it led to a shout of "shame" from the back of the hall. Now the first candidate had not been asked that question, so a quick pause and the Tories decided to make sure that the remaining two candidates received the same questions that Chloe had received.

Gummer replied that he would like to see a restriction on 'abortion on demand', this answer was welcomed by the Pro Life activists.

All four candidates were asked for their Three Tory heroes- all named thatcher and Churchill, Gummer's third choice was Lord Shaftsbury.

I thought that Samantha George, the most experienced candidate but the only one without an East Anglian connection was the best candidate, but after the vote it was announced that Benedict Gummer was the winner with over 50% of the vote.

So now we may see a father and son double act as John Gummer MP's seat borders the Ipswich constituency- maybe the local burger vans will do a roaring trade when the Gummer family are posing for local media pictures!

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