I have just heard the news that Bob Stewart has been selected to replace Jacqui Lait as Conservative candidate for Beckenham. Sally Marks was eliminated on the first ballot and he won the requisite 50%+1 on the second ballot.
He described himself on the Beckenham website prior to the primary thus:
"Bob Stewart is a former British Army officer who saw extensive service in Northern Ireland and commanded the first British United Nations Bosnian deployment in 1992 – 93. He left the Army in 1995 being first a political consultant with Hill and Knowlton UK Ltd and then Managing Director of WorldSpace, a digital satellite company. Currently he is a freelance writer, analyst, and lecturer specialising in leadership and strategic issues."
This afternoon an open primary meeting is being held in Beckenham to select a successor to Jacqui Lait as Conservative candidate.
Significant boundary changes at the general election will make the seat far safer for the Conservatives than it is at present. In fact, the notional Conservative majority of 16,913 will make it - in percentage terms - the safest Tory seat in the country, according to the projection of Professors Rallings and Thrasher of the University of Plymouth.
There are five names battling it out for the nomination (the sixth, Daniel Poulter, was selected in Suffolk Central and Ipswich North and it was apparently too late for Iain Dale to take his place):
- Tariq Ahmad
- Lynne Hack
- Sally Marks
- Jo-Anne Nadler
- Bob Stewart
I will let you know the result as soon as I have it - most likely between 5pm and 6pm.