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Search begins for John Gummer's successor

PUBLISHED: 11:06 19 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:00 06 July 2010

SUFFOLK Coastal Conservatives today will begin sorting through the applications from candidates who want to succeed John Gummer as the constituency's MP.

SUFFOLK Coastal Conservatives today will begin sorting through the applications from candidates who want to succeed John Gummer as the constituency's MP.

Having advertised the vacancy, Conservative officials will receive the CVs of the men and women who want to inherit Mr Gummer's majority of 9,685.

In neighbouring Central Suffolk & North Ipswich, there were more than 70 who applied for the vacancy caused late last year by the decision of Sir Michael Lord to stand down, and it is expected that even more will be attracted to fight one of the safest Tory seats in Britain.

Roger Burgess of Woodbridge, who is the Tory association's treasurer, is in charge of the short-listing process. Four other officers are on the panel, plus one party member from both the north and south of the constituency.

After completing the initial sift this week, the panel will meet at Conservative Central Office in London on January 28 to pick the three men and three women who will go forward to a selection meeting open to all 1,200 party members on February 6 at Suffolk Showground in Trinity Park.

There has been criticism from Tories in the county that neither Central Suffolk & Ipswich North nor West Suffolk Tories, who are also looking for a new candidate, have included local people on the final short-list.

Mr Burgess said: “We all hope that local people put forward their name for consideration, but we will choose what we consider are the best six applicants to face the Suffolk Coastal members' meeting.”

Candidates must be on the approved Central Office list before they can apply for seats.

Mr Gummer, a former chairman of the Conservative Party and Environment Secretary in John Major's government, announced shortly before the New Year that he would not seek re-election as he wanted to concentrate full-time on working for a climate change agreement following the break down of the United Nations Copenhagen global warming summit.

He has been a Suffolk MP for 31 years - from 1979 to 1983 for Eye and then for the Suffolk Coastal constituency.

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