FORMER Camden councillor Siobhan Baillie is to have another bite at winning a seat in the House of Commons, and this time she is set up for a much more appetising challenge.
She was this evening selected to stand for the Conservatives in Stroud where the party is involved in a see-saw electoral battle with Labour. Jeremy Corbyn’s party took the seat by just 687 votes at last year’s general election. “Nobody expected this including me,” said winning Labour MP David Drew after the declaration, mindful that in 2010 and 2015 he had lost to the Tories.
It’s an obvious target seat then and Ms Baillie will get more help and resources from central office than her run in Bermondsey and Old Southwark last year. She impressed the local Conservatives south of the river but was never going to be able muscle in on the battle between Labour and the Lib Dems in that constituency.
Her decision to look beyond London follows a little bit of a sore history. She was stopped from even getting a shot at the selection meeting in Hampstead and Kilburn last year – a lot of her friends here in Camden were annoyed she wasn’t able to at least present her case – and further back there was some static about how she had been encouraged to put herself forward for the London Assembly only to be crowded out of the list of candidates. Both may turn out to be lucky escapes in the long term.
None of this lost her the ‘rising star’ label on this site and within the party it will all be water under the bridge if she turns Stroud blue, whenever the country next goes to the polls