Barclay to succeed Malcolm Moss
A JAZZ piano playing, sky diving former army officer, who was special adviser to the Conservative Party chairman at the last general election, is likely to become the next MP for North-East Cambridgeshire. Stephen Barclay, a director of the bank that bare
A JAZZ piano playing, sky diving former army officer, who was special adviser to the Conservative Party chairman at the last general election, is likely to become the next MP for North-East Cambridgeshire.
Stephen Barclay, a director of the bank that bares his name (though they are not related!), won the Conservative Association's hotly-fought contest to succeed Malcolm Moss.
In a nail-biting finale the final six Tory hopefuls battled it out during a marathon six-hour X factor-style experience in Whittlesey.
The six who had made it through to the final were picked from many dozens who had expressed interest in the seat after Mr Moss announced his decision to step down at the next election.
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Mr Moss' majority of almost 9,000 at the 2005 general election means the seat is regarded as one of the Tories' safest in the eastern counties.
When the would-be candidates arrived at Sir Harry Smith Community College on Saturday, all six knew the outcome could determine not only their future but the constituency's future for the next decade.
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In an unusual move, the party had opted for an open primary selection, allowing both party and non-party members to take part and then to vote for their preferred choice.
Each candidate was questioned for 20 minutes by John Elworthy, news editor of the Cambs Times and Wisbech Standard, before a further 10 minutes of questions from the audience. The final five minutes was given over to a few minutes of light relief tackling a 'pot luck' humour question, before packing a punch in a two-minute hard hitting address to delegates.
As voting began it soon became apparent that 35-year-old Mr Barclay was rapidly emerging as hot favourite after a robust presentation and CV which dealt with his business, military, and political career to date.
He promised to fight for a better deal for police, to campaign for dualling of the A47, to address empty shops in March, and ensure the Nene Waterfront at Wisbech "is a catalyst for investment".
James Brokenshire, MP for Hornchurch and Rainham, whose seat disappears at the next election, was the first candidate to be eliminated after the first count, but it needed just a second count for Mr Barclay to be unanimously declared the winner, with David Senior, development director of Action Planning, as runner-up.
One of the first to offer his congratulations was Councillor Martin Curtis, who said: "It was a tough day today in NE Cambs, selecting from some great quality candidates, but Steve really engaged with the audience and performed excellently. I am sure he will be a great asset to the constituency.