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Jeremy Hunt Selected as Tory Candidate for New Godalming and Ash Constituency

Published on: 29 Jan, 2023
Updated on: 30 Jan, 2023

Jeremy Hunt the selected Conservative for Godalming & Ash and Angela Richardson, hoping to be reselected for Guildford, photographed when fundraising for charity.

By Martin Giles

Jeremy Hunt has been selected as the Conservative candidate for the new Godalming and Ash constituency, which includes the village of Hambledon where Hunt lives. The announcement was made on Saturday afternoon.

The Conservative selection panel including, to the right of Jeremy Hunt (centre), Bob Hughes, who chaired the meeting as Surrey Area chairman. Second from the right is Michael Parsons, former Mayor of Guildford.

Hunt, who is Chancellor of the Exchequer, told the Farnham Herald earlier this month: “The boundary changes have been a nightmare for me because they have essentially cut the seat in half and it has been like asking a parent to choose between one of their two children.”

The proposed new boundaries for local parliamentary constituencies.

Meanwhile Angela Richardson has confirmed that she will stand for re-selection as the Conservative candidate for the newly shaped Guildford Parliamentary constituency. She told The Guildford Dragon NEWS this evening: “It’s correct that I’m putting myself forward for readoption in the new Guildford seat.”

The Guildford wards in the redrawn Parliamentary constituency

It is understood that a local selection committee is being drawn up with representatives from around the Guildford Conservative Association, representing each ward.

The committee is expected to be asked first if they want to proceed with Richardson only, or if they would like to see other candidates too. Currently Ms Richardson lives in Ewhurst, which falls outside the new Guildford constituency boundary, but MPs do not have to live in their constituency.

Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, is expected to remain as the Tory candidate for Surrey Heath. With the new boundaries in place, the Woking and Mole Valley constituencies will no longer overlap those of Guildford Borough.

See: Guildford ‘Will Be More Marginal’ Under Proposed Changes to Surrey’s Constituency Boundaries

Godalming & Ash wards in the new Parliamentary constituency

Following last year’s boundary review, Guildford borough will overlap three constituencies: Guildford, which will gain the areas of the east of the town; Godalming & Ash, which will include the existing Ash borough Council wards, plus Pilgrims and Worplesdon; and Surrey Heath, which will lose the Ash wards but gain Pirbright and Normandy.

The Mole Valley constituency, which used to include the borough’s eastern wards, is, now called Dorking and Horley. It has new boundaries that exclude any part of Guildford borough.

Both Guildford and Godalming & Ash are likely to see closer contests between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

In Guildford Richardson, if selected, would face Zoe Franklin, who will feel more confident having cut the Conservative majority to just 3,337 in 2019. But that was with Guildford’s former Conservative MP Anne Milton taking over 4,000 votes as an Independent.

Another factor will be the unpopularity of the Conservatives in the eastern wards because of the unpopular building development caused by the controversial Local Plan, adopted under the pre-2019 Conservative administration GBC. The plan was, in turn, driven by Conservative national planning policy.

Guildford General Election result 2019 – Wikipedia

Whether that issue plays big in the next general elections is a major question that could affect the outcome.

Jeremy Hunt, as the MP for South West Surrey since 2005, has been consistently re-elected with comfortable margins.

In the 2005 general election he had a majority of 5,711 votes, then in 2010 his majority increased to 16,318 and in 2015 to to 28,556 votes.

Cllr Paul Follows

However, in the 2017 general election, his majority went down to 21,590 votes and then further in 2019 to just 8,817 votes as the Lib Dem share increased.

Former Lib Dem adversary Paul Follows, the leader of Waverley Borough Council, has already been confirmed as the prospective Parliamentary candidate by the Lib Dems. Along with Zoe Franklin, he might well have high hopes of success.

Zoe Franklin

The Lib Dems are known to be hopeful of breaking through the “Blue Wall” in the home counties, normally the Conservative heartlands, and Guildford remains on the Lib Dem target list; Guildford at number 11 and the former Surrey South West at number 19.

As for the interesting question about who will step forward to be considered by the Conservatives for the Surrey/Hampshire Farnham & Bordon seat, Angela Richardson said: “There are a huge number of talented candidates. I’m sure Farnham and Bordon will be spoilt for choice when they select their Conservative candidate.”

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Responses to Jeremy Hunt Selected as Tory Candidate for New Godalming and Ash Constituency

  1. Stuart Barnes Reply

    January 29, 2023 at 9:56 pm

    The Conservatives must be mad. Jeremy Hunt!?

  2. Jules Cranwell Reply

    January 31, 2023 at 9:09 am

    Hunt would have better chances, had he not surrounded himself in the photo with yesterday’s men, such as Paul Spooner who caused the almost total collapse of the Tories in Guildford, due to his ruinous Local Plan.

  3. Craig Ellis Reply

    February 1, 2023 at 11:18 am

    Have the Tories entered into a mutual suicide-pact to ensure that they get annihilated in the next election?

    No one wanted Sunak, no one wants Jeremy Hunt. The guy failed at Health and failed twice to be a PM contender. Yet the globalist Tory wets still have him foisted upon us.

    Also, I very much doubt that the local Conservative Association approves of his selection outside of nodding politely to pressure from central office.

    How can they be so removed from general opinion? Do they even care?

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