Tories select candidate for gay marriage row seat
Conservatives in a Somerset constituency that came to symbolise the divisions within the party over gay marriage have selected their next parliamentary candidate.
Local man David Warburton has been selected to contest the Somerton and Frome Constituency at the General Election in 2015 for the Tories.
Last month the constituency party hit the headlines when its chairman Edmund Costelloe resigned, criticising Prime Minister David Cameron as he did so for alienating much of the party’s grassroots support.
Within days of that, high profile gay businessman Ivan Massow declared his intention to try to secure the candidacy, but Mr Warburton has now been selected.
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He lives in the Mendips with his wife Harriet and their two children and taught at an inner-city secondary school before going into a successful business career.
He said: “I am thrilled and honoured to have the opportunity to stand up for the residents of Somerton and Frome.
“As a husband and father I understand the demands and pressures that families are going through. Having been a cleaner, a van driver and a shopkeeper before going into teaching and setting up my own business, I know what it is to have struggled. These are experiences that I am keen to take to Parliament to benefit local people.”
The seat has been held for the Liberal Democrats by David Heath, currently the farming minister, since 1997.
Meanwhile, a former BBC journalist who sits on Swindon Borough Council has been nominated as the Conservative Party’s candidate for North Devon, at the next General Election.
Peter Heaton-Jones, who has presented the news on BBC Radio Essex, 5 Live and BBC Swindon, will stand against current North Devon MP Nick Harvey in the election, which will take place in 2015.
Mr Heaton-Jones, who was also head of marketing at Australian radio station ABC, was selected by local party members after a three-week interview process.
The 49-year-old, who was born in Surrey, was one of seven candidates chosen by three local members who travelled to London to review an extensive pile of CVs from people who wished to be considered for the role.