The head of technology at the Daily Telegraph has won the race to become the Boston and Skegness Conservative candidate for May 2015 in a hotly contested competition.
Matt Warman took the title following four rounds of voting at the Conservative’s Open Primary today (Saturday), with votes almost too close to call.
Following the vote, at the Peter Paine Sports Centre, Mr Warman said: “I’m feeling very pleased, but I feel we’ve got an awful lot of work to be getting on with. There’s a campaign to start running right from now and we’ve got to be making the Conservative case to the people of Boston and Skegness.”
He praised all the candidates who had reached the final describing them as ‘strong’ and said the people of Boston would have been very proud whichever candidate had been chosen.
The four candidates - Mr Warman, Karen Buckley, Paul Bristow and Tim Clark - each had 20 minutes in front of members of the public in order to answer questions on issues such as immigration, health services, campaigns, tourism and business, where they would live if elected, badger protection and transport and bypass concerns.
During the meeting, Mr Warman, who has family in Boston, told members of the public that he would be stepping down from his role at the Telegraph should he be elected.
The question and answer session was hosted by BBC Radio Norfolk presenter Nick Conrad.
This was followed by a series of ballots, which at first totalled 81 votes. In the first round Paul Bristow, who runs a medical consultancy and is from Whittlesey near Peterborough, was knocked out, and he was followed in the second round by family lawyer and Fylde Borough Council councillor Karen Buckley.
Following only 80 votes being cast in the third round of the ballot, Mr Warman and Mr Clark found themselves in a tie and were brought back out for members of the public to put names to faces before another vote was cast - with Matt taking the victory.
Boston and Skegness Conservative Party president Dudley Bryan said the afternoon, which took place betwen 1.30pm and 5.15pm today went ‘extremely well’.
He said: “I’m very pleased that we chose to use the open primary system to select a candidate to give everybody on the electoral register the opportunity to come along today and make the final choice”
He added he was ‘disappointed’ that only 81 people did vote but said it followed the pattern of consultations carried out by other authorities.
He said he was not surprised by the result and said he believed that the quality of candidates was ‘very high’.
He added: “What today shows is we’re looking forward, we’re not looking at the past, we’re looking forward to the future.”
In the video above constituency party chairman Ruth Street welcomes Mr Warman to the area as candidate for May 2015, and he tells The Standard how he’s feeling about his victory.
For more on this story, keep an eye out online and see next Wednesday’s Boston Standard.