London Tories complain about conflict of interest as MP candidate to be chosen

By Staff

Local Tories have expressed concerns over the race to replace Nickie Aiken as the next Conservative candidate for the parliamentary seat of the Cities of London and Westminster. They are calling on association chair Thomas Borwick to step aside after it was alleged three of the eight longlisted candidates for the seat are clients of Mr Borwick’s employer, College Green Group, where he is a director and listed as a person with significant control, according to Mr Borwick’s LinkedIn account and Companies House.

They are calling for the race to be re-run. It also emerged one of the candidates who applied for the seat was Mr Borwick’s mother, former Kensington MP Victoria Borwick. MyLondon understands Ms Borwick was not longlisted.

One source told MyLondon: “How could someone be objective when they had to consider their mum as a candidate? He should have stepped aside. It seems obvious to anyone that if someone has a financial interest in a process that they should recuse themselves from that process.”

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They added: “I have got significant concerns about the process being tainted.” It is understood the three longlisted candidates are former Tory candidate for Lewisham East Jonathan Clamp, former Loundsley Green & Newbold county candidate and Aberdeen North candidate Sanjoy Sen and communication consultant and Tory Reform Group national vice-chair Alex Challoner. MyLondon has seen a WhatsApp group for College Green candidates where Mr Borwick is admin. The group, called ‘Prospective Candidates ’24’, includes Mr Clamp and Mr Sen.

Mr Challoner said his website was developed by College Green last year during his bid to become the Conservative candidate for London Mayor and he has not used the consultancy for any other services. Mr Clamp and Mr Sen have not responded to our attempts to contact them. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing on the part of these candidates.

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Sources also claim Mr Borwick sat on the influential sifting committee, which is responsible for longlisting candidates. It is understood Tory members will vote from this list for their preferred candidate to represent the constituency at the next election.

The same source claims James Spencer, the treasurer for the Cities of London and Westminster Conservative Association and Tory candidate for the seat of St Albans, also sat on the sifting committee at the last minute after one of the panellists applied for the seat. The source said though it was not uncommon for an association chair to sit on the sifting committee, it was more unusual to have a candidate running for a separate seat to do so.

They also claimed it was unusual that no sitting councillors were added to the longlist. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing on Mr Spencer’s part.

Mr Borwick and Mr Spencer have been contacted for comment. A vote on who will be the candidate for the Two Cities is expected to take place this weekend (March 23/24). Conservative Campaign Headquarters said it will not be commenting when contacted by MyLondon.

MyLondon understands the candidates on the longlist are: Tim Barnes, Sanjoy Sen, Jonathan Clamp, Jessica Stewart, Alex Challoner, Sarah Bool, Jamie Wallace.

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