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Julie Marson selected to replace MP Mark Prisk as Conservative candidate for Hertford and Stortford in General Election

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The Conservatives have chosen their candidate to succeed Mark Prisk as Bishop's Stortford's MP at the General Election, which is expected before Christmas.

On Thursday evening (Oct 24), members of the Hertford and Stortford Conservation Association selected ardent Brexiter Julie Marson to replace the man who announced in September he would not be seeking re-election having been the constituency's MP for 18 years.

In July, the wife and mother – who claims to have supported Brexit "all her life" – was on the Conservatives' short list of four as candidate to replace Nick Boles for the Grantham and Stamford seat in Lincolnshire.

Julie Marson with Hertford and Stortford Conservatives, following the vote to select her as their PPC (20138964)
Julie Marson with Hertford and Stortford Conservatives, following the vote to select her as their PPC (20138964)

In the last two General Elections she contested the Dagenham and Rainham seat. In 2015 she finished third with just under a quarter of the vote, 7,338 behind Labour's Jon Cruddas. In 2017 she was second with 40% of the vote, 4,652 behind Mr Cruddas.

According to right-wing political blog Conservative Home, Barking-born Ms Marson is a grammar school girl who spent her career in finance. She is a former Thanet councillor and has served as a magistrate. During the EU Referendum campaign she sat on the board of Women for Britain.

She was selected to contest Hertford and Stortford ahead of:

+ Nick de Bois, a former Enfield North MP and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab's chief of staff when he was Brexit Secretary. He lives in the constituency and is a broadcaster on TalkRadio;

+ Dr Rachel Joyce, medical director of East and North Hertfordshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Group and former deputy police and crime commissioner for Hertfordshire; and

+ Cllr Reena Ranger, founder and chair of Women Empowered and a Three Rivers district councillor who contested Birmingham Hall Green in 2017.

Conservative Home claims that despite assurances to the contrary from Hertford and Stortford Conservative Association chairman Cllr Alex Curtis, the long list of candidates was compiled by Tory central office rather than through an open contest.

Writer Mark Wallace alleges: "The candidates' list – the collected hundreds of aspiring MPs who are eligible to apply for seats – are furious because the seat was not advertised to them and they, therefore, had no opportunity to apply for it.

"Instead, it seems CCHQ's candidates' department drew up a long list of its own accord, based on unknown criteria, from which the above short list has been chosen on the basis of a sift of CVs, not the standard interview process. Understandably, quite a lot of people are displeased."

Brexiter Ms Marson, however, was very pleased. She took to social media and tweeted: "Absolutely thrilled to be selected as the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for @HertStortford last night. Looking forward to working with all the brilliant people in the association and constituency. Lots to do. Can't wait!"

The Green Party has already selected Bishop's Stortford woman Lucy Downes as its candidates while the Lib Dems are fielding North Herts College lecturer Chris Lucas. On Wednesday evening, Labour chose Harlow councillor and Dunmow teacher Chris Vince.

Hertford and Stortford General Election result 2017

Mark Prisk (Con) – 36,184 votes, 60.3% (+ 4.2%)

Katherine Chibah (Lab) – 17,149 votes, 28.6% (+ 10.7%)

Mark Argent (Lib Dem) – 4,845 votes, 8.1% (+ 0.3%)

David Woollcombe (Green) – 1,814 votes, 3% (– 1.7%)

Majority: 19,035 (31.7%, – 6.5%)

Turnout: 59,992 (72.8%, + 1.5%)

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