Gay A-Lister selected for Tory seat

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An openly gay member of the Conservative Party’s A-list has been selected to run as Eltham’s Parliamentary candidate in Greenwich after a primary selection process this week.

David Gold beat Jackie Doyle-Price, the Parliamentary candidate in Sheffield Hillsbrough last year, and Eric Ollerenshaw, former opposition leader of the London Assembly and leader of Hackney Conservatives.

The primary was held at the Bob Hope Theatre in Eltham and was introduced by Shireen Ritchie chairwoman of the Candidates Committee, each of the finalists gave a short presentation on local issues, followed by an interview with Michael Portillo and questions from the floor.

Mr Gold is a former Conservative Party researcher and was once diary secretary to William Hague, the Shadow Foreign Secretary.

In 2001, he contested the General Election as parliamentary candidate in Brighton Pavilion which saw a 1.6% swing to the Conservatives from Labour. In 2005, he played a key campaigning role in helping Stewart Jackson take Peterborough for the Conservatives.

Mr Portillo, writing in the Sunday Times, praised the primary system, allowing local Tory members to choose their candidate, he said the party “should choose the candidate who appeals to the voters, rather than the one that Tory members like.”

The A-List is an initiative from Conservative leader David Cameron encouraging “priority targets” such as women and gay people, to join a list of candidates for priority selection to stand at the next election.

A source within the Conservative Party has expressed frustration to at the fact that some constituencies are still resisting A-list candidates and spoke of a desire to further centralise the election process to see a more diverse set of candidates being selected.

The source also claimed it is proving difficult to get newcomers to the Conservative Party selected which was one of the aims of David Cameron’s agenda.