Six Tory candidates for South West Norfolk seat

AT least six people are in the running to be the Conservative Party's next parliamentary candidate for South West Norfolk.

AT least six people are in the running to be the Conservative Party's next parliamentary candidate for South West Norfolk.

The news comes after the South West Norfolk Conservative Association's Executive Council held interviews for shortlisted hopefuls in Swaffham on Saturday.

The association's agent Ian Sherwood said more than six candidates were interviewed on Saturday but would not reveal the exact number.

He said: “The interviews went very well. The process started at 10am and was completed by 3pm. The Executive Council was pleased with the applicants that came forward and they have decided to take six candidates forward to the final stage on October 24.”

The successful candidate will be announced on October 24 following an open meeting for all qualified party members where each candidate will speak prior to a ballot being held. The successful candidate for the seat, which will be vacated by current MP Christopher Fraser at the next election, needs to secure more than 50pc of the vote.

The association has said it will not confirm or deny the names of candidates throughout the selection process.

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However, the Times understands from a source close to Westminster that among those interviewed on Saturday was London-based barrister James Tumbridge, who was born and raised in Banham, near Diss, and who stood against Ian Gibson for the Norwich North seat at the last general election.

Other people it has been suggested were interviewed on Saturday are:

t David Rutley, a former special adviser to the Treasury and Conservative candidate for St Albans in the 1997 general election. His name is also linked to the Macclesfield seat which becomes vacant at the next election when Sir Nicholas Winterton steps down.

t Therese Coffey, a Wigan-born former director for Mars Drinks UK and Tory candidate in the South East MEP election in June.

t Elizabeth Truss, brought up in Leeds and currently living in Greenwich as deputy director of think tank Reform. In 2005 she fought the Calder Valley seat in Yorkshire, and before that she stood for Hemsworth in 2001.

t Christine Emmett, grew up in Liverpool and has carved out an impressive business career. Her newly updated website cites her experience as buyer for the Marks and Spencer store expansion plan, managing �450 million of procurement for the Channel Tunnel project and a range of public service work including a role as Non-Executive Director of University Hospitals in Leicester. For the Tory party she has worked for John Redwood's economic competitiveness policy group and advised Chris Grayling in his role as shadow transport secretary.

t Clare Whelan, a conservative councillor for Thurlow Park ward in the London borough of Lambeth and who was also a candidate for the MEP elections in the eastern region.