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The chase for Peter Luff's replacement is on - but it won't be Boris Johnson
MORE than 300 people are expected to try and become the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Mid-Worcestershire in 2015 - with Boris Johnson effectively ruled out.
Two years ahead of the crunch general election, your Worcester News can also reveal how a USA style ‘open primary’ selection process will be used to select the candidate.
It means anyone aged 18 or over, who lives in the constituency and is on the electoral roll can apply, even if they are not currently members of the party.
It is only the second time in Conservative history that the method has been used, with the only previous occasion being Devon in 2010.
Mid-Worcestershire Conservative Association has insisted that the Mayor of London is “unlikely” to become the candidate.
Last year rumours surfaced that Mr Johnson was eyeing up the seat as it has a safe 15,864 majority, meaning a Tory victory in 2015 is extremely likely.
But the party's regional organisers say they are after fresh talent, rather than parachuting somebody in.
Judging by the early interest, and the fact the party is opening it to non-members, the branch says it expects well over 300 applications.
Peter Luff, the current MP, is stepping down in two years time after first entering parliament back in 1992.
The ‘open primary’ move follows concerns too many people are disconnected from the process for becoming an MP.
It also follows years of declining party membership, with the Conservatives having 134,000 members across the country now, a 50 per cent drop on the tally in 2005.
Gerry O’Donnell, the chairman of the association, said: “We decided to go down this path because it is a very democratic process.
“After all our MP represents all the Mid-Worcestershire electorate, and not just the Conservative voters.
“In addition, these days fewer people belong to constituency associations and we wanted it to be open to as many voters as possible.
“The reality for all parties these days is that people do not always want the commitment of belonging to an association, but an open primary is also an opportunity to gain new members.”
The selection meeting will be held in late November or early December, after the association has drawn up a final shortlist of four candidates.
Anyone on the electoral roll in the constituency will be able to attend that meeting and vote.
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