Tories select thirteen Assembly candidates, with just one 'parachuted' in from Britain

Scott Benton, a Conservative councillor in West Yorkshire, is seeking to become an MLA for Strangford. Picture by Calderdale Council
John Monaghan

THE Conservative Party has selected 13 candidates for the upcoming Assembly election, and has cut back significantly on the number being 'parachuted' into seats from constituencies in Britain.

Of the 13 candidates, almost all are based in the north, with just one currently an elected representative in England.

The Conservatives will not contest Mid-Ulster, North Antrim, Newry and Armagh, North Belfast or West Belfast.

In the 2015 Westminster election, the Conservatives fielded candidates in 16 constituencies but fewer than a third lived in the north, with eleven candidates parachuted in from England and Scotland.

Councillor Scott Benton, the leader of the Conservative grouping on Calderdale Council in West Yorkshire, is to stand in Strangford.

In 2015 Mr Benton put forward a motion - later rejected - to Calderdale Council calling for every school to sing God Save The Queen every day in assemblies, and said he wanted to encourage all schools to fly the Union flag on its grounds.

The party's South Antrim candidate, Mark Logan, who attended Ballymena Academy, was previously the head of communications at the British Consulate in Shanghai and is a fluent Mandarin speaker who interpreted for Prime Minister David Cameron.

Former Mayor of Coleraine, David Harding, who left the Ulster Unionists to become an independent councillor two years ago, is to contest the East Derry race.

George Jabbour, a Syrian-born Christian who moved to the UK aged 22 and is now based in Belfast, will be the party's candidate in South Belfast.

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