NHS director Gregory Stafford has been selected as the Conservative Party candidate for the new Farnham and Bordon parliamentary seat, incorporating Haslemere.
Mr Stafford was one of three candidates to make the local Conservative Association branch’s final shortlist – alongside Aphra Brandreth and Adam Hanrahan.
Aphra, daughter of TV personality and former MP Gyles Brandreth, led the race after the first round of interviews – and promised to deliver some of the ‘star power’ the area has become accustomed to after two decades of Jeremy Hunt.
But while Ms Brandreth faltered in the second round, Mr Stafford emphasised his historic family connections to the area and, according to one local Tory member, showed he was “concentrated on the constituency”.
Likewise, Mr Hanrahan faded after members deemed he had not been open enough about his Lib Dem past. Prior to taking a job with Jeremy Hunt, the PR manager had been a former Lib Dem councillor in Sheffield and worked as party leader Nick Clegg’s election co-ordinator.
As such, Mr Stafford was confirmed as the Tories’ chosen candidate at the branch’s special general meeting last Thursday in Liphook.
Mr Stafford was leader of Ealing Council between 2014 and 2022, having served as a councillor since 2007. He was the Greater London Assembly candidate for Ealing and Hillingdon in 2021, and has worked as the director of policy and engagement at Getting it Right First Time, a clinically-led programme designed to improve the quality of NHS care.
His brother Alexander is already an MP, representing the Tories in the South Yorkshire constituency of Rother Valley.
Mr Stafford said: “I am truly honoured to have been selected as the Conservative candidate for Farnham and Bordon.
“My family has a century-long connection to this seat, and I know the challenges local people face, from finding affordable housing to dealing with crime and anti-social behaviour.
“I have a track record of achieving positive change in my professional life as an NHS director, through my work as a local councillor, and as a trustee of numerous charities.
“Working with Jeremy and Damian, I immediately intend to put those skills to use for local people. I pledge to campaign hard in every part of this new constituency for the people of this area and win their trust and support at the general election, ensuring I am their next Conservative MP.”
Jeremy Hunt, who has represented South West Surrey since 2005 but will contest the new Ash & Godalming seat at the next general election, said: “Although I am personally devastated to be losing two wonderful towns in Farnham and Haslemere, I am delighted they will be represented by someone as brilliant as Greg.
“He is as local as you can get and his NHS background will make him a formidable campaigner for local health services. We are very lucky to have him and I am sure he will contribute as much at a national level as he does locally.”
East Hampshire MP Damian Hinds added: “Greg Stafford is an outstanding candidate to represent the new constituency of Farnham & Bordon, which includes Liphook, Headley and Headley Down, Lindford, Grayshott, Whitehill & Bordon, and around, that it is my honour now to represent.
“This was a really strong field of contenders for the candidacy, showing the breadth of talent in the Conservative party.
“Greg is highly regarded as a hard-working community champion with a depth of experience across the private and public sectors and local government.
“At the general election, I will be proud to support Greg Stafford’s candidacy for the Farnham & Bordon constituency.”
No other parties’ candidates for Farnham & Bordon have yet emerged. The next UK general election must be held no later than January 24, 2025.