by Paul Goodman
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Spirits are being raised and dreams shattered as I write. The post-election assessment process for those on the old candidates' list is over. Letters have been sent from CCHQ to those who were on it, letting them know whether or not their names are still to remain on. The signature at the bottom of those letters is that of Carlyn Chisholm. Jonathan reported last year that she was to co-chair the Candidate Committee with Baroness Browning.
I saw Chisholm earlier this week at CCHQ, and write briefly about her background below. But facts first - those that are available, at any rate. CCHQ won't say how large a list it's aiming for - when I floated a figure of a thousand, Chisholm told me that "it won't be as high as that" - but I gather from other sources that it will most likely settle down at about 700. Unsurprisingly, CCHQ is keeping mum about how many people have been removed from the old list. There will be no "A-list".
Parliamentary Assessment Boards will start soon and carry on all the way through until 2015, assuming the Parliament lasts that long. However, the new constituency boundaries don't come into effect until late 2013. This raises a question: if a candidate passes a board this summer, what is he or she going to do for the next two and a half years? The answer is that each one will choose a region to be assigned to, and be expected to work there. I expect that attendance at by-elections will be compulsory.