Published: 00:00, 03 December 2004
THE Conservatives in Tunbridge Wells have chosen their candidate to fight the next general election.
He is 37-year-old Greg Clark, married to Helen and with two daughters - Allegra, five, and Leila, aged 22 months.
For the past three years Mr Clark has been Director of Policy for the Conservative Party and attends Shadow Cabinet meetings to advise on policy and preparation of the party's manifesto.
His chance to become an MP follows a decision by the sitting Tory MP, Archie Norman, 50, not to seek re-election after seven years in Parliament.
Though Mr Norman took over the 184th safest Tory seat in Britain and will be leaving it as the 20th safest, with a majority of 9,730, his successor is in no way complacent.
Mr Clark said: "I'm taking nothing for granted and will be working hard from now until the election to show voters that I intend to champion the things that are important to them.
"I want to maintain pressure to ensure that the new district hospital at Pembury is built; I want to get more police on the beat; I want to get proper investment in our roads and to see more done to promote traffic calming in local villages, and I want to protect the green fields from development."
While acknowledging he has "huge shoes to fill" in following Mr Norman as the party's candidate for Tunbridge Wells, Mr Clark is determined to give his best.
He said: "This is the place that has everything: great schools, a vibrant town and some of the most beautiful villages in England.
"Being selected in such a wonderful place is the proudest moment of my life after marrying my wife and the birth of my two daughters."
Mr Norman has pledged to continue campaigning for Tunbridge Wells' interests until his time as MP runs out, but said he was delighted at the constituency party's choice as his successor.
He said: "Greg is a top calibre guy. He will be a great candidate and a huge asset to our community."
The Liberal Democrats' prospective Parliamentary candidate for Tunbridge Wells is mother-of-two Laura Murphy, an independent management trainer and consultant. No other parties have yet named their choices to challenge for the seat.