by Kate Burt
EUROPEAN SELECTION MEETING.
On Saturday 8th June I attended the Regional Selection College Meeting, at Soham Community College in Cambridgeshire, as a representative of Central Suffolk & North Ipswich Conservative Association.
The meeting was well attended and consisted of: The Regional Chairman and Regional Deputy Chairmen; the former Regional Chairman who conducted the selection process in 2009; Area Management Teams (elected) Conservative Women’s Organisation Regional Chairman and elected officers; and Conservative Future Regional Chairman and elected officers; together with each Westminster Constituency Chairman plus one extra constituency representative per 200 members.
The morning session was arranged as a series of interviews; the first commencing at 10.30am with each of our 3 remaining Regional MEP’s presenting their candidate CV’s and political priorities in order. (Robert Sturdy MEP. had previously declined re-election)
This involved David Campbell Bannerman MEP, Vicky Ford MEP and finally and most impressively - in my opinion - Geoffrey Van Orden MBE; MEP being put through their paces, and quite rigorously by every one of the attendees present, as defined earlier as making up the Regional Selection College.
Prior to lunch, there was a ballot conducted to decide which of those MEP’s we wished to declare to a postal ballot of party members.
Vicky Ford and Geoffrey Van Orden were re-selected, and will go through on merit, but it was decided that a considered selection of David Campbell Bannerman MEP; would have to be based on the results of the postal ballot, going out to party members during the summer recess.
The afternoon session started promptly at 13.30pm as the Regional Selection College believed that all 6 applicants should actually be interviewed; prior to joining David Campbell Bannerman MEP; on the postal ballot list being put to the membership shortly for selection and ranking.
As we had to select 5 of the 6 applicants previously selected for interview by the Sifting Committee (consisting of 12 Regional and Area Officers; the Chairman and two Deputy Chairman only) a fairly gruelling session was anticipated.
In the end, the decision was not so difficult. The main issue being on which 1 of the 2 least impressive applicants should be excluded from the list altogether. A large percentage of those present and making up the Regional Selection College; seriously considered only 4 of the 6 applicants on the day, to have proved themselves truly worthy of promotion to the members postal ballot.
Unfortunately, this would not have given the Eastern Region Party Members a reasonable choice of candidates when they received their ballot papers. After much debate, and ultimately a show of hands, the Regional Selection College finally agreed to proceed to ballot and declaration.
The meeting was declared closed, as planned at 17.00pm.