Clacton voters will choose Tory candidate for by-election at 'open primary'

Clacton Conservative Association chairman Simon Martin

Clacton Conservative Association chairman Simon Martin

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Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

THE people of Clacton will choose the Conservative candidate to take on Tory defector Douglas Carswell.

Mr Carswell’s resignation has triggered a crunch by-election in Clacton, for which he will stand for the UK Independence Party.

The Conservative Party has revealed to the Gazette that its candidate will be selected at an “open primary” at a meeting on September 11.

All Clacton constituency voters can have their say – not just Tory party members.

Simon Martin-Redman, chairman of Clacton Conservative Association, said: “We have decided to have an open primary.

“We will not be going down the route of the association choosing the candidate. All 65,000 voters in the constituency can have their say.

“We believe it’s crucial because it is such an important decision, not just for the Conservative association, but for everyone in the constituency.

“Douglas Carswell himself proposed open primaries in the past to bring democracy into the process.

“But he has shafted Roger Lord, who was democratically selected to be UKIP’s candidate at the next General Election.”

Mr Carswell was selected by UKIP’s national executive committee rather than UKIP local association.

Mr Lord called Mr Carswell “arrogant”, but UKIP leader Nigel Farage said polling suggested Mr Carswell stood a better chance.

Mr Martin-Redman added: “At the moment, the party is still interviewing potential candidates and a list of names will come to the local party.

“The shortlist put to the meeting will have a maximum of four names – and we will be giving people choices.”

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