Tories stage ‘open primary’

Author: By Tom Palmer, Press Association

Nearly 400 people were at Torbay Leisure Centre in south Devon to hear from Dr
Sarah Wollaston, Sara Randall Johnson and Torbay Mayor Nick Bye who are all
bidding to stand for the Totnes seat.

Sitting MP Anthony Steen announced he would stand down at the next election in
the wake of the expenses scandal.

Mr Steen said he would go after it was revealed he had spent £87,729 in four
years towards the upkeep of his £1 million mansion.

The three candidates were allocated 30 minutes each before they took questions
from the floor.

Political commentator and former MP Matthew Parris chaired the event.

Ballot papers have been sent to all 69,000 voters in Totnes.

The open election of a candidate is thought to be the first held by a British
political party and was hailed as “historic” by the Tories.

A party spokesman said votes must be in by 30 July and they hope to announce
the winner by the end of the month.

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