Stamford Tories seek Brexiteer who is 'proud' of constituency in place of Nick Boles MP
Stamford’s next Tory parliamentary candidate must be a ‘Brexiteer’ who is 'proud' of their constituency, says former Conservative Association chairman Philip Sagar.
Grantham and Stamford Conservative Association has now begun accepting applications to be their candidate for the next General Election, following the resignation from the association and the party nationally by town MP Nick Boles earlier this year.
Mr Sagar, who is now the constituency association vice-president, said: “Central Office has opened up applications. We have got applications. We expect it to be very popular.”
"We are looking for a candidate who will engage with and live in the area. Grantham and Stamford is a fantastic place to live."
"They must also be willing to mingle with us and be proud of the area and if they are married, male or female, we get to meet their partner. People like to meet the whole person."
"We want them to be a Conservative. We are a broad church. They clearly have to be in favour of honouring the 2016 European Union Referendum and supporting Brexit."
In March this year, Mr Boles resigned from the local association and then on April 1, he quit the Conservative Party nationally, to become an 'Independent Progressive Conservative.'
The MP cited differences with his party locally for his first resignation and later accusing the Tories of not compromising on Brexit.
Mr Sagar, amongst other Conservatives, also accused Mr Boles of not 'engaging' sufficiently with the party locally.
Before the MP left the Conservatives, many local party members and supported demanded the MP be deselected.
It led the association to start proceedings to 're-select' a candidate.
Now, Grantham and Stamford Conservatives plan to meet on June 10 to help sort out the selection process.
Mr Sagar continued: "In Grantham and Stamford, we want to get a candidate as soon as possible. It will take some time. From the sheer volume of people, a committee will look at a shortlist in detail."
Selection would take place over the summer, including setting up interviews, though he could not say when one would finally be selected.
"We have had lots of phone calls from interested people. We expect to be inundated with applications from the CCHQ-approved list who wants to apply for what is seen as a safe and secure seat."
However, Mr Sagar recalled that in the Tony Blair era, the constituency was more marginal, in contrast to Nick Boles being elected in 2017 with 62 per cent of the vote, gaining a 20,000 majority.
"Quentin Davies got majorities of 4,000-5,000 but in these present times, that could soon evaporate."
His comments today, come in the wake of the European Union Elections, where the Conservatives performed poorly.
In South Kesteven, which covers a similar area to the constituency of Grantham and Stamford, the Tories trailed in third place with 13.6 per cent of the vote share, behind the Liberal Democrats on 17.6 per cent and the Brexit Party. who were way out in front with 42.5 per cent of the vote.
Raising Mr Boles' predecessor, Quentin Davies, who also quit the Conservatives, though to the Labour Party, Mr Sagar added: "We want to make sure we get it right."