Tory election chaos as more candidates quit in lead up to nominations deadline

Tory election chaos as more candidates quit in lead up to nominations deadline
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The Conservatives’ election campaign was hit by chaos as a candidate announced they were pulling out just 50 minutes before nominations closed.

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The party also faces a nervous wait to see if Reform UK stands a high-profile candidate, 90s pop star Holly Valance, against its chairman Richard Holden.

It is unclear whether the Tories have been able to select a candidate for every seat in the UK.

At least five people on the candidates list have told The Independent that they refused to stand for unwinnable seats.

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Rishi Sunak (PA)
Rishi Sunak (PA) (PA Wire)

It comes amid fury over accusations that advisers and those close to the prime minister’s inner circle are being parachuted into safe seats.

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There is anger among activists in the nominally safe seat of Basildon and Billericay after Mr Holden was forced on them as their general election candidate.

In February Mr Holden described himself as “loyal to the North East” of England.

He was the MP for North West Durham, but that ceased to exist following the boundary review.

He secured the new seat by after he was presented to the association on a shortlist of one.

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But he could face a tougher time contesting the constituency than expected, after suggested former Neighbours star Valance was considering standing for Reform.

She has been an outspoken supporter of the party’s leader Nigel Farage.

At 3.50pm, less than an hour before nominations closed, Jaymey McIvor the party’s candidate for Hemel Hempstead announced he was not standing, citing “personal reasons”.

Earlier unwell former MP David Duguid hit out at claims he was too sick to stand after he was ditched at the last minute to make room the leader of the Scottish Tories, Douglas Ross, in another nominally safe seat of Aberdeenshire North and Moray East.

Rishi Sunak’s allies have been accused of “operating a chumocracy” in ”parachuting” special advisers and others into winnable seats.

David Goss, the prime minister’s deputy political secretary, has been selected for Wellingborough and Rushden, recently lost to Labour in a gruelling by-election.

He followed former army officer James Clark, a special adviser to defence secretary Grant Shapps, being selected for Great Yarmouth.



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