WEST Dorset Conservatives have chosen their own constituency chairman, Chris Loder, to be their next parliamentary candidate.
Mr Loder, 34, a former local councillor, has relinquished the constituency chairmanship to fight the seat for West Dorset held by Tory grandee Sir Oliver Letwin since 1997 at the next election.
Sir Oliver is standing down at the end of this parliament and ends his distinguished career in Westminster having the Tory whip withdraw when he was one of 21 rebels voting against Boris Johnson’s BREXIT plans.
In the David Cameron government he held the influential position of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster but he was dropped from the Cabinet after Theresa May came to power.
During the second May government, Sir Oliver rebelled against leading Eurosceptics within the Conservative Party by tabling a cross-party motion to hold “indicative votes“, allowing MPs to vote on several Brexit options in order to establish whether any could command a majority in the House of Commons. As a result, he lost the Conservative party whip and was forced to sit out his days as an Independent MP.
Mr Loder, a senior executive for South West Railways, was chosen as the Tory candidate for West Dorset from more than 100 candidates for the seat which Sir Oliver retained in 2015 with a 19,000 majority, making it one of the safest Conservative seats in the country.
Mr Loder comes from Bishops Down, near Sherborne, where his family have their fourth generation farm. He was born at the Yeatman Hospital in Sherborne in September 1981. Having been brought up at Ryalls Farm, he attended primary school at both Holwell and Bishops Caundle and then went to the Gryphon School, Sherborne, for secondary education.
In 1999 he began his career with the railway on the Waterloo to Exeter line and then as a manager for the Bournemouth to Weymouth line. He was appointed to his present position as head of new trains four South Western Railway in June of this year.
Sixty one per cent of voters in West Dorset voted to leave, including Mr Loder who has been quoted as saying: “I voted to leave the European Union in the 2006 referendum and strongly support the Prime Minister in taking the UK out of the EU by October 31.”