Four candidates have been shortlisted in the race to represent Bury St Edmunds for the Conservatives at next year’s General Election.
Johanna Churchill, James Cleverly, Helen Whately and Zehra Zaidi are seeking to replace MP David Ruffley who has decided to step down.
They were chosen after members of the Executive Council of the Bury St Edmunds Constituency Conservative Association interviewed 11 longlisted candidates who had been selected from 94 applications for the seat.
The final candidate will be adopted by secret ballot at a special general meeting of association members on Tuesday, November 4.
Andrew Speed, Association Chairman said: “Following a rigorous selection process we were delighted to interview 11 very strong candidates. Any one of the final four will make an excellent candidate, and hopefully MP, for our constituency.”
In statements from each of the candidates, Johanna Churchill said: “In recent weeks I have enjoyed meeting and talking to local people and businesses about the issues affecting them. Living in a rural county, running a successful business, whilst being a county councillor, wife and mother, I can empathise with the concerns and aspirations faced everyday by your residents.”
James Cleverly said: “Having served in the TA in Bury, I know what a wonderful place this is. I’d love the opportunity to serve as your MP. I’ve had a career in business, and started my own company as well as experience in elected office working alongside Boris Johnson at City Hall.”
Helen Whately said: “I’m thrilled to be in the final. Bury St Edmunds is a wonderful constituency - full of history, beautiful countryside, and with exciting economic growth. I’ve worked in business and healthcare, I’m a working mother - experience that will help me do a good job if I’m selected”.
Zehra Zaidi said: “Having delivered education and health projects, my priority is enabling first class provision. I will use my experience of advising on infrastructure projects to ensure sustainable development. As an army kid, nothing would give me greater pride than representing Bury St Edmunds. I pledge to be visible, accessible and accountable.”