Selection "well underway" for new Rushcliffe Conservative parliamentary candidate

4 September 2019, 12:25 | Updated: 4 September 2019, 12:29

Ken Clarke MP

The selection process for the new Conservative candidate for Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire is "well under way" after the whip was removed from Ken Clarke.

Neil Clarke, chairman of the Rushcliffe Conservatives, said he is in discussion with the party to get somebody in place "pretty damn quick" in case a general election is called.

After Mr Clarke was effectively expelled from the Conservatives, Neil Clarke described it as a "sad end to an illustrious and distinguished career", adding that the veteran Tory knew the consequences of voting against his own party.

He said that given Mr Clarke had already announced he would not be standing in the next election, the selection process for a new candidate had already started - but nobody has yet been selected.

Neil Clarke said: "It is a sad end to an illustrious and distinguished career.

"He was elected as a Tory MP and nobody needs to give him a lecture on how politics works.

"He will know the consequences of voting against his own party and against the Government.

"I have been making sure he has been fully aware of the anger amongst the association members at him threatening to vote against the Government.

"I also recognise that he was representing the majority of the Rushcliffe constituency who voted to Remain."

Asked whether a new candidate for the seat has yet been selected, Neil Clarke said: "Ken had already confirmed that he would not be standing so we have a selection process well under way.

"We haven't got a candidate in position at the moment."

Asked how close the party is to selecting a new candidate given the potential for a snap general election, he added: "That is why I am in discussion with the party - to get somebody in place pretty damn quick."