Tory candidates in Croydon South have their knockers

Voters in Croydon South are being used as human guinea pigs by the local Conservative party.

Sort of.

conservative_party_logoFrom dozens of applicants, the Tories have whittled down to a final 15 the candidates still in the running to replace Tricky Dicky Ottaway as their prospective parliamentary candidate for the 15,000 majority safe seat come the next parliamentary election.

And last weekend, these MP wannabes were given a practical test, examining what Kirsty Allsop might call their “kerb appeal”. They were sent out in two wards in the constituency, knocking on doors to see how good they are at canvassing (or in some cases, dealing with barking dogs), all assessed by a local councillor.

Given that florid-faced Mike Fisher, the leader of the Tory group which controls Croydon Town Hall, is thought to be among the hopefuls, you wonder quite what his “councillor assessor” will have made of his boss’s performance on the doorstep.

Mark Wallace, on the ConservativeHome website, welcomes the initiative to test prospective candidates’ campaigning skills; not that Tricky Dicky has ever had to do much in the way of campaigning in a constituency in which he has never lived.

“All too often selections rely on good interviews and entertaining speeches without testing how candidates communicate when face to face with the electorate,” Wallace writes.

Wallace reveals that the test may have impacted the selection pecking order: “I’m told that the process threw up some genuinely challenging situations, and turned the selection panel’s opinion of several candidates on its head. While some seized the moment and impressed, a couple faltered badly – all of which helps to inform the decision for the final shortlist.”

Among the local Tory members taking part in the sifting process to arrive at a three-person shortlist is none other than the Sage of Selsdon, Anne Piles. “The candidates might struggle to get a word in edge ways,” our mole outside Croydon Conservatives’ Purley headquarters suggested.

Candidate interviews will be held next week, before a final three are put to a vote of Croydon South Tory members.

As Inside Croydon reported earlier this month, those applying included two Downing Street aides, Oliver Dowden and Laura Trott (no, not that one), while Waddon councillor and Viridor delivery boy Simon “I’m cheap but I’m not free” Hoar also put himself forward.

According to our sources in Purley, an interesting inclusion in the 15 is Rachel Joyce, a NHS doctor of 20 years’ experience and mother of two from Hertfordshire with strong links to international human rights organisations. She was the losing Tory candidate in Harrow West at the 2010 General Election. That she was an adviser to Andrew Lansley when he was formulating Tory policy on the health service when in opposition might raise a few interesting questions if she rolls up on your doorstep in the next few months.

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6 Responses to Tory candidates in Croydon South have their knockers

  1. Anne Giles says:

    Actually, I didn’t take part in the sifting process. Four people were selected to attend that meeting, which was in London. I wasn’t and I could not have managed the journey anyway. 🙂

  2. Dr.Rachel Joyce is an excellent candidate who had the highest vote swing from Labour to Conservatives in London in 2010.

  3. The last two “honorable members” for Croydon South have been parachuted in by Tory Central Office. Why should it be any different on this occasion?

    Look on the bright side: at least that would keep the florid-faced Mike Fisher from being the complacent Tory pig’s bladder on a stick that wins the non-contest for a fat salary in an ultra-safe constituency.

    • mraemiller says:

      Secondary modern, Royal Navy, retrained as a solicitor at a red brick university, made a lucky investment with a small oil company, won a by-election by chance …actually Tricky Dicky is the model of real social mobility who climbed the ladder through hard work, cunning and a series of hilarious accidents. So very different from Croydon Central’s incumbent and much of the rest of the political class of today who’ve never done a day’s non-political work in their lives.

      I do indeed wonder what his successor will be like. Maybe it will be a case of you didn’t know when you had it good. He might have been naughty with his expenses but he has some redeeming qualities – he’s not a bigot. Just a man who took a long time to work out he should stick close to his desk and never go to sea…

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