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Our Next MP?

Our Next MPFylde is considered one of the safest Conservative seats in the country. The last election produced a Conservative majority of 12,459 (27.4%). That's due in no small measure to the capability and popularity of our present MP the Rt Hon Michael Jack. So back in March, when he said he was going to retire before the next election, there will have been a scramble amongst Conservative hopefuls for such a good seat.

And next week, (November 8) the final stage of the selection process for our new MP will take place at Lytham St Anne's Technology and Performing Arts College.

The process is quite convoluted, but the number has been whittled down to a final eight, and all members of the Fylde Conservative Association (reportedly up to 500,) will meet and cut the list to just four candidates.  The final one will be chosen from these.

So who are the eight runners and riders left in the race?

counterbalance understands the names are now in the public domain, so we've put together a light hearted prediction for our readers.

Predictions are always dangerous but we're going to have a go. We've also suggested the odds we would offer on them if we were making a book (which we're not). Contrary to our usual practice of accurate information, these odds are based on nothing more than uninformed assumptions, so don't read too much into them or make too much of them!

We've said before we don't think it will be the Commissar who represents Fylde.  Shortlist yes, to save face for him. But we don't think he's going to be Fylde's MP.

We also think it will be a woman this time, which, if we are right, makes the prediction a bit easier, so here goes.....

Mary Robinson    Odds - 2:1 on
Short listed for Chorley, she lost to local man Allan Cullens. Mrs Robinson was born in Lancashire. Originally from Lytham, she was educated in Blackpool and since marrying husband Stephen 30 years ago, has lived and worked in the Preston area. "I studied for a law degree while raising my four children and so I understand the challenges people face in bringing up their families while pursuing a career," Her starememnt for Chorley said: "Having been a director of a small accountancy firm I am very aware of the issues that Chorley businesses and local families face in the current economic downturn. On behalf of the people of Chorley I will be calling for the return of sound money and common sense." Mrs Robinson is a school governor and a borough councillor and was assistant campaign director in the last general election in neighbouring South Ribble. As deputy chairman (political) she led the Conservatives to a 24 seat gain in South Ribble during the local elections last year. "If selected, I look forward to working with and supporting the people of Chorley, I believe involvement in local campaigns and issues is needed to restore public confidence in politics and achieve Conservative success in Chorley."

Dr Fiona Kemp   Odds- Even Money
Conservative "A" list candidate
Candidate for Truro & St Austell in 2005 and a GP.
She was second in Truro to Matthew Taylor, Liberal Democrat 24,089 46.7% where she returned 16,686 32.4%)

Janet Clowes   Odds 3:1
Another Chorley loser. Lived in Crewe & Nantwich and has family scattered from Crewe to Keswick. Her 'roots' are firmly bedded here in the North-West and If selected Mrs Clowes, who has been married for 22 years, pledged to move to Chorley. Being a working mum-of-two her statement for Chorley read: "I fully understand the issues related to juggling work, the housekeeping and family life, particularly in the current economic climate. My own areas of experience and expertise relate to key policy areas of concern to Chorley constituents - health, education and social welfare. I have worked in the NHS (Intensive Care Nursing Sister), in further and higher education as team leader and post-graduate leader in health, social care, health promotion and community studies. I have worked in the voluntary sector and I am currently employed by the pre-school learning alliance, in partnership with Sure Start in Stoke City. I am struck by the similarities of issues experienced here in Chorley and in other North-West constituencies and I believe that my 15 years of political experience in Crewe and Nantwich, combined with my professional knowledge, expertise and commitment will enable me to best represent the people of Chorley".


Kay Mason  Odds 8:1
Stood in 2001 general election. Came second to Ian Gibson, Labour 21,624 47.4% where she returned 15,761 34.6%
Seems she was also short listed for Great Yarmouth

Mark Menzies   Odds  9:1
Conservative "A" list candidate, so he gets the highest male rating. He was a very close second to John Grogan, Labour 22,623 43.1% in Selby, returning  22,156 42.2%. He was born in 1971 in Ayrshire. Educated at Keil School in Dumbarton, and graduated from Glasgow University with an M.A. (Hons) in Economic History. Having started working for ASDA in Scotland in 1995, he now works as a Resourcing Manager in their Leeds headquarters. He feels to be an adopted Yorkshireman and is proud to have the opportunity to represent a Yorkshire seat in Parliament. That may not endear him to Lancastrians though! He has been involved with many charitable events through his work and relishes the opportunity to work with the voluntary sector. Mark has been actively involved in politics for over sixteen years. This culminated in being selected to fight the Glasgow Govan seat at the general election of 2001, which he feels has given him the experience and determination to now fight a slightly more marginal seat!

Andrew Loftus - Odds 10:1
Local man - (Singleton). Knows how to do it. Would be very capable. His family have had a dairy business in Singleton for quite a few generations. He's currently the MD of 'Weetons', a grocery business sourcing high-end foods from local farms. He could be a dark horse in this race. Usually. the national people don't like picking local candidates, but whilst there will probably be a lot of arms up a lot of local backs, we think this candidate would have a good chance if local people were making the decision unencumbered. Only at 10:1 because of his sex and not being on the "A" list.

Jonathan Lord   Odds 12:1
Jonathan lives in Blackheath and, in addition to leading the Guildford Conservative Association as Chairman, he is also chairs the Wonersh and Blackheath Branch. His key aims for last year were to increase membership, to raise the income of the Association through successful events, and to prepare all the groundwork for successful borough-wide election campaigns in both Guildford and Waverley. Prior to living in Bramley then Blackheath, Jonathan was based in central London, where he was a Councillor for the Ward of Little Venice and Deputy Leader of Westminster Council. Born in Oldham, he also stood as the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Oldham West and Royton in 1997. Jonathan has over twenty years' of business experience in advertising, marketing communications and technology. As a Director of Saatchi & Saatchi, he ran campaigns for Hewlett-Packard across Europe and the Middle East. He is currently a Director of LastMile Communications Ltd.

John Coombes Odds 100:1
Supposedly the favourite in many people's eyes. But after being the Leader who closed the a perfectly good modern swimming pool; who reported a loss of £1.2 million because of his financial incompetence, and wasting probably something like £750,000 on plans (mostly now aborted or mothballed) for a New Town Hall that no-one except him wants - but mostly because he sees his role as 'leading' us rather than representing us, and because he cares more about his CPA box ticking result than he does about representing the people who elected him - we rate him at 100 to one against. (But then like the irrepressible Mandy Rice Davies: we would say that wouldn't we?)

Dated:  29 October 2008


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