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Tories line up high flyers in contest for safe seat

PUBLISHED: 16:44 18 November 2009 | UPDATED: 10:11 12 August 2010

Colonel Bob Stewart - DSO 
on Tory Candidate List

Colonel Bob Stewart - DSO on Tory Candidate List

Jeremy Young

A HIGH profile shortlist of six parliamentary candidates for one of the safest Tory seats in the country contains just one local contender

WRITER: Jo-Anne Nadler.

A HIGH profile shortlist of six parliamentary candidates for one of the safest Tory seats in the country contains just one local contender.

The Conservative shortlist for Beckenham includes former UN Commander, Bob Stewart DSO, from Kingston, broadcaster and William Hague's biographer, Jo-Anne Nadler, and former newsreader and Surrey councillor, Sally Marks.

A candidate will be chosen by an open primary next month, where residents will vote for their choice after hearing all six speak.

This comes after the MP for the seat for nearly 12 years, Jacqui Lait, announced in September she will resign at the next general election, expected next May.

Possible successors include the deputy leader of Reigate and Banstead Council, Daniel Poulter, who works as a doctor at the Princess Royal Hospital, Farnborough, in obstetrics, gynaecology and women's health, who was born in Beckenham.

Another Surrey County Council councillor on the list is Lynne Hack, a Cancer Research scientist. She has also been Leader of Reigate and Banstead Borough Council and was born in Croydon and lives nearby with her husband and 18-year-old son.

Merton councillor Tariq Ahmad is currently a director of marketing, strategy and research of commodities trading and brokerage firm, Sucden Financial.

He failed in his bid to win the Croydon North parliamentary seat in 2005 which Labour held.

And last year, he was appointed as vice chairman of the Conservative Party with responsibility for cities.

Former chairman of the Beckenham Conservative Association Rod Reid said the constituency needs a local candidate.

He said: "The shortlist is very worrying. It is clear they have turned their back on a local candidate.

"Have the Conservative Party learnt anything from the expenses row?

"David Cameron promised to have more local accountability and devolve power more locally.

"What better way is there to do that than have local

candidates?

"What seems to happen is that the best seats are given to the people part of the Conservative mill.

"It doesn't matter how good they are in their individual field - we need a local candidate.

"They need to have the commitment to get some of the services Beckenham has lost."

Current Chairman Tony Power said: "I am delighted that we are able to offer such a high quality list of candidates and hope that as many voters as possible will register to come to the open primary."

* The open primary will be held on Sunday, December 6, at 2pm, with a reception at 12.45pm, at Langley Park School for Boys.

All electors in the new Beckenham Constituency will be invited to attend and vote and must register by November 30.

Electors must pre-register and be present for all the candidates' presentations.

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