Bury St Edmunds Constituency Conservative Association Selection of Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the 2015 General Election

The Bury St Edmunds Constituency Association is in the process of selecting a new Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) in compliance with the “Rules for the selection of Conservative Party Candidates in Conservative held seats in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for the UK Parliament” (July 2013 edition).

The Selection Committee consists of Andrew Speed, Chairman, Sarah Stamp, Deputy Chairman Political, Simon Bennett, Deputy Chairman Membership, Derrick Haley, Vice Chairman and Betty Milburn, President.

The so called “long process” involving Competency Tests and Executive Council interviews of long- listed candidates is being used to ensure full involvement of all local party members during what will be a rigorous and robust process.

The method of final selection of the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) will be by a Special General Meeting of the members of the Association entitled to vote. Voting will be by secret ballot.

The current status is as follows:-

  • 94 CVs were submitted to Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) and these were carefully and thoroughly reviewed independently by members of the Selection Committee.

  • The Selection Committee visited CCHQ in London on Wednesday, 24th September 2014 to sift the CVs and agree a “long list” of Candidates. This list contains 11 names. Both long-listed and unsuccessful Candidates were notified on Friday, 26th September 2014.

  • Sarah Stamp, Deputy Chairman Political, was nominated as the single point of contact with the Association Executive Council for long-listed Candidates.

  • Competency tests for all Candidates were carried out by various members of the Association and Executive Council in the period 18th to 21st October 2014.

  • An invitation to the Special General Meeting was issued by post to all eligible Constituency Association members.

  • Interviews of the eleven long-listed Candidates were undertaken by the Executive Council on Saturday, 25th October 2014. All Candidates were scored by all members of the Executive Council present against a suite of seven competencies in accordance with the Rules. The following candidates (in alphabetical order) were short-listed by the Executive Council using this process:- Johanna Churchill, James Cleverly, Helen Whately and Zehra Zaidi.

    The final step in the process is as follows:-

  • Final selection of the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate from the short list will be carried out at a Special General Meeting of the Association membership on Tuesday, 4th November 2014.


Brief statements have been made available by the short-listed Candidates as follows:-

Johanna Churchill – “In recent weeks I have enjoyed meeting and talking to local people and businesses about the issues affecting them. Living in a rural county, running a successful business, whilst being a County Councillor, wife and mother, I can empathise with the concerns and aspirations faced everyday by your residents.”

James Cleverly – “Having served in the TA in Bury, I know what a wonderful place this is. I’d love the opportunity to serve as your MP. I’ve had a career in business, and started my own company as well as experience in elected office working alongside Boris Johnson at City Hall.”

Helen Whately – “I’m thrilled to be in the final. Bury St Edmunds is a wonderful constituency - full of history, beautiful countryside, and with exciting economic growth. I’ve worked in business and healthcare, I’m a working mother - experience that will help me do a good job if I’m selected.”

Zehra Zaidi – “Having delivered education and health projects, my priority is enabling first class provision. I will use my experience of advising on infrastructure projects to ensure sustainable development. As an army kid, nothing would give me greater pride than representing Bury St Edmunds. I pledge to be visible, accessible and accountable.”

These Candidate Statements, along with their photographs were loaded onto the BSECCA website on Monday, 27th October 2014.

Andrew Speed, Chairman of the Association, commented after the Executive Council meeting – “Following a rigorous selection process we were delighted to interview eleven very strong candidates. Any one of the final four will make an excellent MP for our Constituency.”


Revision 7 – 27th October 2014