Recent Presentations: MP selection – an inside view on the MP selection process
Richard Cuming of the Bygones tourist attraction, Torquay, talked to Bishopsteignton Probus Club about his experience in the process leading to his selection as a parliamentary candidate.
Richard moved rapidly up the ladder as a Young Conservative: club chairman, area chairman, then as a member of the national Young Conservatives he met the prime minister. At the age of twenty-four he became the youngest-ever Torbay councillor, being Leader of the Opposition when the Liberals ran the Council. He also served as a Personal Assistant to Torbay Conservative MP Rupert Allason.
His experience as a parliamentary candidate started with an interview by a panel of the local “great and good” which decided he should go forwards to a selection board, where he faced intense questioning and was given a scenario in which there was a major accident and he had to say how as the local MP he would react to the media. This expanded with various further complications to the initial disaster. Having succeeded at this stage, he went onto the party’s parliamentary candidates list, was interviewed and selected as the Conservative candidate in 2001 for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, the strongest Labour seat in the country, where he increased the Conservative vote. In 2005, he stood as the Conservative candidate in Plymouth Devonport, another Labour stronghold. He lost, but it gave him an opportunity to cut his teeth as a candidate and the experience helped him decide that as a conviction politician he might not get elected as an MP.
Richard Cuming (right) is thanked by club member Roy Halsey.