I've just got home from the Maidstone and the Weald selection - leaving the association executive mulling over which of the final 5 applicants to chose as their candidate. It was great to be in the final 9. I've discovered a beautiful part of the country, learnt a lot and met some wonderful people. I have also been involved in a highly professional selection process.
James Brokenshire MP summed it up a bit like this.... "The Association has clearly defined what skills they are looking and is properly testing each of us on each of those those skills" (actually James described it even more intelligently than that). During the past 6 weeks we have drafted press releases, door to door canvassed, met representatives from the voluntary sector, and been interviewed and questioned at least twice. Ian Hislop was the question master this morning - I asked him if he felt better or worse about politicians after his experience. "Much better" he said. He went on to explain that he thought all the candidates were of a far higher calibre than he had expected.
There has been flak in the papers about the number of men and women in this selection - it was even suggested that I was there as a token girl. I've enjoyed this selection, enjoyed meeting all the candidates and will be sorry if the stories in the press distract from the most in depth selection process that I have been involved in.
p.s. have just heard that Helen Grant has won the nomination - she was charming and intelligent and will make a great MP