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Unforeseen circumstances blamed for delay in search for general election candidate to succeed Laura Sandys in Thanet South

By Paul Francis

The search for a Conservative candidate to succeed MP Laura Sandys in Thanet South at the general election has been stalled - but it is not clear why.

The constituency is expected to be a key target seat for UKIP and there is speculation that party leader Nigel Farage intends to stand.

Candidates who had applied for the Thanet South seat have been told by the local association the original timetable had stalled due to unspecified circumstances.

The final selection meeting was due to take place on July 4 but it is no longer clear whether that will happen or has been put back to another, as yet unknown, date.

In a note to would-be candidates, the association said: “Please note that due to circumstances beyond our control, there has been a delay in the selection process.”

Initial interviews and testing was due to take place this weekend, with a shortlist to be drawn up by the middle of next week.

One candidate told the KM Group: “It is very frustrating for all of us. No-one seems to know why this has happened.”

The association website had contained a message for candidates that made clear it wanted a Euro-sceptic candidate who was prepared to call for a referendum eve before 2017.

It stated:

“We will be seeking a new candidate for South Thanet. That candidate must be able to convince this association and our electorate that not only has he/she fully taken the voters concerns on board but it is vital the Conservative government delivers a referendum on our continued membership of the EU as soon as possible.”

That statement can no longer be seen.

The KM has approached the association for comment but has not yet heard back.

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