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Bromley and Chislehurst Selects Bob Neill 3 June 2006

Posted by David in Conservatives.

Conservative Home is reporting that the Bromley and Chislehurst Bob NeillConservative Association has selected GLA member Bob Neill as their candidate at the by-election. He beat A-listers Syed Kamall MEP and Julia Manning. Eric Forth's widow was one of those sadly knocked out earlier in the selection process. There was no set piece speech, in accordance with new rules, but instead a questions/answers session.

Concerns have been expressed that Bob Neill is rather too pro-integration with Europe. This is risky as it is against party policy and membership, as well as damaging in a by-election likely to have a strong UKIP campaign by local MEP Nigel Farage, a collapsing Labour vote, and Lib Dems. He is however a local candidate, and cannot be attacked as an A-list parachute candidate. Although I hate image based politics and analysis, the media image given is grey pin stripe suit, male, white, over-50. It should not stand against him, but it's a rather uninspired choice coming after Eric Forth and certainly not what the party leadership wanted.

I see Bob Neill's selection as a victory for local candidates, but also an indication of the complex selection process involving luck to a fairly large extent. B&C was never going to select an A-lister. With two A-listers going through to the final three, the 'local candidate' was going to accumulate all anti-priority list support and win selection. On the balance; A-lister (with allegations of imposition) or local but Europhile, he was probably the least worst option. I sadly however can see the Lib Dems winning due to a large UKIP vote, and a near zero Labour vote.



1. RUK - 3 June 2006

You are right that UKIP might play a part in the result – especially with Farage who makes good speeches. But equally UKIP have not been inspired since they lost momentum by falling out with Kilroy Silk. In the Council elections their gains were nil. If Farage doesn’t make headway here, they will be at rock bottom.

If labour/Lib Dem voters work tactically, your assessment might be right. But look on the bright side. Cameron’s pulling well down South.

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