Marlborough.news can now confirm that – as we have previously reported – the Devizes Constituency Conservative Association (DCCA) Chairman, Brigadier Peter Sharpe, has resigned with ‘immediate effect’ – over disagreements about the list of potential candidates to replace Claire Perry O’Neill who is standing down.
And we can also reveal the names of the three candidates to appear before a special closed meeting in the Devizes Corn Exchange on Saturday, November 9, that will choose the Conservative candidate to stand at the December General Election. The three are: Antonia Cox, Sir Ashley Fox and Danny Kruger.
In a letter to members dated 5 November, the DCCA’s President, Ann Merrett also confirmed Brigadier Sharpe’s resignation and announced that Wiltshire Councillor Stuart Wheeler who is DCCA’s Deputy Chairman-Political, will act as chairman of the DCCA Executive Council and of the selection meeting.
The selection meeting will be moderated by Sir Nigel Thompson who lives in Mildenhall. He will ‘…present and conduct the interviews with the candidates’.
Ann Merrett writes: “A secret ballot then takes place to decide our candidate.”
Antonia Cox is currently a City of Westminster councillor. Sir Ashley Fox is a former leader of Conservative MEPs – and represented the South West Constituency.
Danny Kruger is currently the Prime Minister’s Political Secretary. He was the speech writer for David Cameron while he was in opposition – and coined the famous ‘hug a hoodie’ phrase. He is the son of Prue Leith.
So it looks as though Conservative Central HQ has won the battle over the list which at one time consisted of six hopefuls.
However marlborough.news has heard there is unhappiness among some DCCA members as at least one local applicant never even made the ‘long list’. And there are mutterings about candidates being ‘parachuted in’ to a very safe seat.