Anne Marie Trevelyan deservedly won the open primary that took place on Friday night in the Assembly Rooms in Alnwick. There were around 300 people there - from all across the Berwick constituency, to see 3 excellent local candidates answer questions both from the moderator, my colleague James Wharton MP, and from the floor.
All candidates were asked the same first few questions, as to why they would be the best candidate, where they would live if selected, whether they would rather be a rebellious backbencher or supportive Minister, what were their strengths and weaknesses, and then a variety of questions on wind farm policy, the PM's approach to Europe, and around 8-10 further questions from the floor on everything from broadband to same sex marriage. Both Chris Galley and Lucille Nicholson spoke well and demonstrated a good grasp of issues, but Anne Marie was a deserving and very popular winner, backed by both the Conservatives in the room and the neutrals who came to take part in a Primary. Alan Beith will have a fight on his hands. She is a tireless campaigner, and leads our march for both better broadband and academy schools. She will be an excellent MP.
As to the process it is clear that a Primary does widen the scope of the selection procedure of candidates. I had hoped for even more to attend but it genuinely was standing room only at the back. Full credit to everyone who organised the event.