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Final shout for candidates standing in Stratford is today - as criticism over Tory pick Clarkson persists

THE countdown to the general election on 4th July truly got under way in Stratford this week with the finalisation of the main candidates.

The deadline for candidate nominations is today (Friday) - with Stratford District Council revealing full list after 5pm deadline.

The Tories were the last of the major parties to declare, with Chris Clarkson chosen by Stratford Conservative Association to fight the seat at a meeting on Monday night (3rd June).

Until parliament was dissolved last week ahead of the election, Mr Clarkson had been an MP in Greater Manchester.

He beat off competition from two other candidates: Declan Lyons, a special advisor to Rishi Sunak, and Jane Meehan, who lives locally and stood in the district council elections in May 2023 but lost out to the Lib Dems in Bishopton.

Front cover of this week's Herald.
Front cover of this week's Herald.

The other major parties and candidates hoping to win the Stratford seat are: Seyi Agboola, Labour; Manuela Perteghella, Liberal Democrats; James Crocker, Reform UK; and Sherron Guise, Green Party.

The Herald has heard rumours that one or two more candidates are intending to stand as independents.

In an exclusive interview with the Herald, Mr Clarkson defended his surprise selection after criticism that he was a ‘parachute candidate’ with no local knowledge.

He said: “The association saw I was sincere about wanting to be a good community MP. Thankfully, they liked what I said and I’m absolutely thrilled to bits.”

Mr Clarkson is staying in temporary accommodation in Shottery while campaigning in the constituency starts with a vengeance.

However, not all Conservative voters were convinced that Mr Clarkson was a sound choice. David Spencer, who formed Stratford CAN in opposition to Nadhim Zahawi and to fight for a local candidate, said: “Chris Clarkson is the parachute politician Stratford CAN has been fearing for some time. He has no links to Stratford and no interest in, or understanding, of local issues.

“As a Red Wall MP in Greater Manchester, he was only elected thanks to Boris Johnson’s promise to get Brexit done. His record in parliament for the people of Heywood and Middleton was execrable and he has run away from that seat because he knows he will not win it again.

“If elected, Mr Clarkson will be another absentee MP who will do nothing for the people of Stratford-upon-Avon. It is simply not good enough. Stratford CAN do better than this.”


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