27 March 2023

Tory Theo Clarke re-selected after initially being blocked by local chiefs

27 March 2023

A Conservative MP has been chosen to contest the next election despite local party chiefs rejecting her candidacy.

Theo Clarke said on Monday she was “delighted” that members of the Stafford Conservative Association had chosen her to fight to retain the West Midlands seat.

She fought for the backing of the full local party membership after criticising the association executive for de-selecting her after she returned from maternity leave.

Ms Clarke, the niece of former business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg, said on Monday: “I am delighted Stafford Conservative Association members have readopted me as their parliamentary candidate to fight the next general election.

“It was vital the whole membership, not just a minority, were given the opportunity to decide who they wanted as their candidate.”

Last month she said she was “deeply disappointed” not to have been selected by the local selection committee the week she returned from leave.

She also said she received abuse on social media after announcing she was having a baby.

Meanwhile, Wolverhampton South West MP Stuart Anderson cited “personal family reasons” as he became the latest Conservative to announce they will not run at the next election.

The former soldier, a Government whip who was elected in 2019, has previously spoken about being the victim of “sustained violence and intimidation” that has had a “devastating impact on all of us”.

Fellow Conservative Alicia Kearns said she was “desperately sorry” to learn Mr Anderson will not stand again.

“His family & he have faced the most egregious and unforgivable threats, abuse & criminality,” she said.

Another Tory, Nicola Richards, said that due to changes in her “domestic circumstances” she will not seek selection in the new constituency of West Bromwich after a boundary shake-up.

But she added: “I hope I am fortunate enough for this not to be the end of my time in Parliament.”

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