At a packed public meeting, Nusrat Ghani was chosen to become Wealden Conservative’s Parliamentary Candidate for the General Election in 2015, when Charles Hendry retires after 14 years’ service as the constituency’s MP.
Wealden Conservatives elected to hold a public primary to give every voter the right to choose their next candidate rather than just restrict the process to Party members.
They had four candidates: Edward Argar, Tony Caldeira and Helen Whately and, of course, Nus. Their interviewer was former MP, Rob Haywood.
More than 400 voters registered to attend, with more non-members than members. The room was packed with local community champions, representatives and leaders from across the Wealden district.
All four candidates told the meeting what they would do for Wealden and then took questions from the floor - familiar refrains were on health, education, welfare reform and immigration at the national level as well as questions around local hospitals, businesses, high street, transport network and fracking at the local level.
Huw Merriman, chairman of Wealden Conservatives, said: “All four candidates gave brilliant, but different, performances and gave the voting audience real choice and, as evidenced by the voting figures, a dilemma as to who to pick.
“At the second ballot, Nus emerged victorious and was accompanied into the hall by Charles Hendry MP who passed the baton over. It was poignant that the defeated candidates joined the hall - they will all find constituencies and make brilliant MPs.
“Nus is a truly inspiring candidate and role-model who will make an excellent local MP and a contribution to national politics. We welcome Nus and her family and we wish Charles Hendry an enjoyable final 18 months as our excellent MP. Charles will be as much missed as Nus will feel welcomed.”
Nus said: “I am humbled and honoured at being selected and am looking forward to meeting people from across Wealden constituency.
“The Wealden Association made the bold choice of having an open primary and the fact that so many people showed up was fantastic and shows that, if you give local people an opportunity to engage in local democracy, you will get a great response.
“I will start working immediately with Charles Hendry MP and will run practical campaigns on issues that matter to local people”