I hope CCHQ has also told them how hard it will be to get a seat.
When I ran the Conservative Christian Fellowship and met a regular stream of people interested in becoming Tory MPs I like to think I did a good job of putting them off. I told them horror stories of people who had spent much of their life and wealth pursuing their ambition to reach Westminster. I talked about the big implications for family life. I also said that there were many other ways of achieving political change.
In today's Mail on Sunday ex-TV anchor Linda Duberley writes a long article about her frustration at not being adopted by a Conservative Association since Francis Maude helped her become an approved candidate. As far as I can tell she has only tried for three seats but her anger is obvious:
Didn’t he realise his list of candidates already has those ordinary folk on it but that very few associations will pick a non-local candidate, particularly one with no experience? Meanwhile, naive candidates like me, lulled into believing there is a point to joining the list, don’t have a clue how the system works and are destined to spend hours, as I have, neglecting their work, their family and friends for the joys of stuffing envelopes, shoving leaflets through doors and trying to develop a footprint Mr Cameron doesn’t want them to have.
Last year, I had to join the Conservatives before I could go in front of the PAB, at a cost of £225 plus VAT. Now, Mr Cameron says that anyone is welcome, whatever their political background. How does that work? Will I get a refund?
Also, we are told there is a level playing field. But the past year has taught me that many of the candidates are pre-selected, the procedures a formality. Even the PAB may not strictly be necessary. I met one candidate who had been invited to compete for a seat before being approved by the board. Others on the list were openly shocked to hear that I had been delivering pamphlets and canvassing. ‘Why?’ asked one, simply and tellingly.
I’ve written to Mr Cameron expressing my concerns, stating that I believe the Conservative process continues to favour special advisers, single barristers and scions of political dynasties over ordinary people and that he has to decide if he wants Joanna Lumley or Joanna Soap at his side. "
There are ten Tory-held seats currently seeking candidates. That number will probably double but hundreds of candidates will chase the slots. CCHQ and David Cameron must tell people that becoming an MP is likely to be a long, hard road and probably fruitless.