Just got back from the meeting to select the Conservative Party's candidates for the Coulsdon West ward at next year's council elections.
I'm not standing for re-election (I don't think you should be an MP and a councillor and whilst I could stand for re-election as a councillor and then resign if I get elected as an MP, it would be wrong for me to hedge my bets in that way - it costs a lot of money to run a by-election) so the local Conservative branch asked me to chair the meeting in a non-voting capacity. We interviewed eight people - my current colleagues David Osland and Brian Cakebread, our agent Ian Parker, Jeet Bains, Adam Kellett, Badsha Quadir, Sohail Qureshi and James Thacker.
Three quick observations:
All eight people would make excellent local councillors. I've sat through a fair few selection meetings in my time and the quality of the applicants last night was the best I have ever seen. It's great news for the Conservative Party that so many high calibre people want to be Conservative councillors.
The three successful applicants were David Osland, Ian Parker and Jeet Bains. I felt for my colleague Brian Cakebread. He's worked hard over the last four years and been a great support to me since I got selected as the Parliamentary Candidate for Croydon Central.
Having said that, I am thrilled for our excellent agent Ian Parker and for Jeet Bains, who will be a great addition to the Conservative Group at the Town Hall if elected next May. He's in politics for the right reasons - and his selection is another step in ensuring that our Group is representative of the make-up of Croydon.