Tories select election candidate to replace Jeremy Lefroy in Stafford
The Conservatives have selected a foreign aid campaigner an as the party's candidate for Stafford in the next general election.
Theo Clarke will defend the seat for the Tories after seeing off the challenge of two other contenders at an association meeting.
She will contest the seat in place of Jeremy Lefroy, who is stepping down at the next election having been the MP for Stafford since 2010.
Ms Clarke, who grew up in Gloucestershire, contested both the 2015 and 2017 elections for the Tories in Bristol East, finishing second to Labour on both occasions.
She said: “I am delighted to be selected as the Conservative candidate for Stafford at the next general election.
"I look forward to speaking to as many people as possible about my positive vision for our communities and how I will fight for local services, seek further investment and above all be a strong voice for the people of Stafford, Penkridge and surrounding communities at Westminster."
Entrepreneur Ms Clarke is the founder and chief executive of the Bill Gates-backed Coalition for Global Prosperity, a campaign group calling for Britain to be a force for good in the world through "a strong aid budget and an active diplomatic and defence strategy".
Previously a director of the Conservative Friends of International Development, she has described Brexit as an "opportunity to forge an even more positive, global future for ourselves", and says she wants to ensure the UK remains a global leader in international development.
She pledged to focus on "what voters care about in Stafford", such as more funding for schools and the NHS, and more police on the streets.
Mr Lefroy, who announced he was stepping down in June, said: “I’m delighted that Theo has been selected to stand for the Conservatives in Stafford.
"She brings with her a brilliant track record of working with business, charities and communities across the country. She will be an excellent representative for the residents in Stafford and I look forward to working with her.”
At the next election Ms Clarke will be up against The Brexit Party's Anne Grahamslaw, Labour's Joyce Still, and Alex Wagner for the Lib Dems.
The Tories secured a 7,729 majority over Labour at the 2017 poll.