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Case Study: The Conservative Party Candidates ‘A list’ (2005-2006)

When David Cameron became Leader of the conservative party in December 2005 he wanted to modernise the party on a number of fronts.

The A List was an attempt to broaden the diversity of parliamentary, European and House of Lords candidates. In particular Mr. Cameron wanted to influence constituency offices during candidate selection processes. 

It was decided that during the selection process at least two members from the list would be put in every open primary. If a primary was not held then those on the A list would be put directly into seats, particularly top target seats for the party. 

In April 2006, a committee reduced around 500 people on the party's list of approved parliamentary candidates to an "A-list" of between 100 and 150 candidates. This move was welcomed by some who saw it as a way to force through a broader range of candidates but others felt the power to choose candidates in their local areas was being removed and people, they perhaps didn’t support, were being imposed.

Who was on the A List?

People on the list saw mixed fortunes in the 2010 General Election. Those who went on to success included:

  • Zac Goldsmith MP
  • Priti Patel MP
  • Amber Rudd MP
  • Anna Soubry MP
  • Esther McVey MP
  • Brandon Lewis MP
  • Elizabeth Truss MP
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