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More people can have say on MP Peter Luff's replacement
4:20pm Monday 14th October 2013 in News
CONSERVATIVE party officials are to hold an American-style "open primary" to select the person they want to be the next MP for Mid Worcestershire.
The decision means anyone who lives in the constituency over 18 years, and who is on the electoral role, will have the chance to vote on the candidates shortlisted by the Mid Worcestershire Conservative Association - even if they do not belong to the party.
It is the first time such a process, will have been used to select a Conservative candidate in Worcestershire.
The selection process for a successor to MP Peter Luff, who is to step down in 2015, was agreed by the constituency association on Thursday, October 10.
As many as 300 potential applicants are expected to bid to become the candidate for what is considered to be a safe Conservative seat.
There has been speculation that Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, could be interested in throwing his hat in the ring but that now seems highly unlikely.
The final selection meeting will be held in late November or early December, after the association has drawn up a final shortlist of four candidates. Anyone on the electoral roll in the constituency will be able to attend that meeting and vote.
Gerry O’Donnell, the chairman of the association, said: “We decided to go down this path because it is a very democratic process, and after all, our MP represents all the Mid Worcestershire electorate, and not just the Conservative voters.
“In addition, these days, fewer people belong to constituency associations and we wanted it to be open to as many voters as possible. The reality for all parties these days is that people do not always want the commitment of belonging to an association, but an open primary is also an opportunity to gain new members.”
At the 2010 general election, the Conservatives used an open primary process to select a candidate for Totnes in Devon. That candidate was Sarah Woolaston, who became MP.
The idea of using primaries has been advocated by the coalition as a way of involving and engaging ordinary people in politics.
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