ASKING the public to choose the Conservative Party candidate for the Berwick constituency at the next general election could be risky in a marginal seat, according to Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
But she is ready to rally her supporters and work hard to secure the nomination at next month’s open primary in Alnwick.
The chartered accountant, who stood as the Tory candidate at the last general election, was widely expected to be selected by the party again after running a strong campaign in 2010.
But she must now win the support of the public rather than the party. Mrs Trevelyan will be up against two other Conservative candidates who have yet to be named after the party opted to stage an American-style open primary on February 8.
An open invitation to choose the Conservative candidate has been issued by the party to all residents registered to vote in the Berwick constituency.
Mrs Trevelyan managed to cut Sir Alan Beith’s majority in 2010. The Liberal Democrat MP for Berwick held onto his seat by just 2,690 votes, which will make Berwick a key Tory target going into the next election.
“It’s an interesting way of doing it,” said Mrs Trevelyan of the open primary format. “In some ways it reaches out to the wider community. This is what the party’s senior management have gone with and it’s certainly an interesting process.
“In a highly marginal seat there is always a possibility of the vote being hijacked by supporters of other parties. But that’s the risk you take in an open primary. I hope the people who I work with will support me again and help me get elected as the Conservative candidate.
“I’ll be working hard to energise my supporters. I’m a politician, so I’m no shrinking violet. I like a fight and I’m up for the challenge.
“In the meantime I’ll continue to do the campaign work I’m doing on dualling the A1 and bringing superfast broadband to Northumberland.”
Mrs Trevelyan has secured a meeting with transport secretary Patrick McLaughlin at the end of February to discuss her campaign to upgrade the A1 to dual carriageway all the way from Newcastle to Berwick. But progress has been slow. The department of transport has yet to undertake the detailed research necessary for such a major undertaking to be considered.
“It hasn’t even been processed by the department of transport yet,” said Mrs Trevelyan. “It needs to be processed before we can move the debate on.”