Who will replace Robert Halfon as the Conservative candidate for Harlow at the next General Election?

Politics / Wed 27th Mar 2024 at 06:23pm

AFTER yesterday’s news that Harlow MP Robert Halfon will not be standing at the next General Election, we thought we would have a look at who might be the next Conservative candidate.

This is pure idle speculation and written by a reporter whose last winner of the Grand National was 1994 (Miinnehoma if you must ask).

We are not saying who we think is the best candidate or the right candidate, we just thought we would give a few for things.

We have no idea when the selection process takes place. We imagine the Conservatives will want to concentrate on the local elections on May 2nd and then see how the land lies.

Harlow Council leader Dan Swords

A lot of people will expect the 23-year-old council leader to throw his hat into the ring but that may not be the case.

Councillor Swords has made quite the impression since he took the helm but he may well have not fully decided if being an MP is for him.

He has already spent some time in the House of Commons and that can often put some off. We get the impression that he may see a political future but one that continues in local not in central government.

Old Harlow councillor Joel Charles

A consummate politician and a very effective communicator. Very much a Harlow man (he went to Mark Hall). His passion for the town is evident.

He stood in St Helens in 2019 and is, we understand, actively looking for a constituency.

A very loyal Conservative, he is often on the campaign trail all over the country and reads the political temperature very well.

Sumners and Kingsmoor councillor Russell Perrin

Former Harlow Council leader and another Harlow man through and through. He stood in Cambridge in 2019 and may well stand again as he has retained links with the constituency.

He has many demands including being an assistant headteacher and he may have defending his ward of Sumners and Kingsmoor on May 2nd on his mind as due to boundary changes it is not a given.

Chair of Harlow Council, Andrew Johnson

One of the longest serving Conservative councillors. He stood for selection against Robert Halfon back in 1999.

His two year tenure as chair has been an object lesson in citizenship.

We don’t think he will stand but we are sure he will have a wry smile at being mentioned in dispatches.

Someone from Outside.

There may well be a Conservative, who will have a look at the constituency of Harlow and the villages and fancy their chances.

What’s not to like about a 14,000 Conservative majority? Yes, we know these are uncertain times for the Tories but there may be someone who thinks they can fight off Labour and may come with a team and resources.

There are a few Conservative activists in neighbouring constituencies who just might be tempted.

Hannah Ellis: Former adviser to Robert Halfon

Sometimes, with these things, there is that person who, as far as the public is aware, comes through on the rails.

Hannah is standing for council this year in the ward of Great Parndon. So she may be concentrating on that task.

However, she is another person who has a terrific Harlow background and we understand has blazed a trail in the Palace of Westminster. She is now Special Adviser to the Leader and Chief Whip in the House of Lords.

In 1983, Labour had a dreadful General Election but some of those who shaped the future of that party won for the first time.

Hannah Ellis could be part of a new generation.

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10 Comments for Who will replace Robert Halfon as the Conservative candidate for Harlow at the next General Election?:

Chris Mitchell
2024-03-27 19:16:33

Very interesting and perceptive piece. Although many decry Dan Swords for being young (pity ageism is not taken as seriously as race or gender), he has been a breath of fresh and energy. His achievements in revamping the Council, driving regeneration, council house building, reforming HTS and most recently, pulling off the incredible financial/political feat of stopping Newham Council using Harlow as a dumping ground, all show signs of maturity way beyond his years. Whether he stands remains to be seen. As for the other two mentioned, they are not in Dan Sword's league nor do I think they are fit to step into Rob Halfon's shoes. Like Chris Vince, they both have track records of rejection and failure in contesting other constituencies. Like Chris Vince, they seem to be cases of inflated ambition without the matching talent. Let's see who else presents. Harlow need someone very special to replace Rob Halfon.I don't think Joel Charles, Russell Perrin or Chris Vince come anywhere close.

2024-03-27 19:20:54

I am not sure Dan will want to run. IT is going to to be a slaughter for the conservative party they will be hopefully nearly wiped out. Robert had a reasonable chance of being re elected with a reduced majority as he has a lot of respect in the town so his name carries some weight. IT is now the case of two unknowns Chris Vince vs Conservative. I would imagine in that case it is closer to a labour victory. Dan should finish what he has started as leader of the council and wait a few years because after the insanity of a labour government people will hopefully be clamouring for a low tax and regualtion small state conservative party.

Mark Gough
2024-03-27 21:18:02

Joel or Andrew would both be candidates with alot of merit, ability and local connections! Both would be better off, like others, without Halfon in Harlow at all, let alone for 25 years! But why not have a look at those candidates wearing rosettes of colours other than red or blue! If you want change, you have to vote for it!

Just Wait
2024-03-28 09:14:17

Chris Mitchell, it isn't "ageism" to think he isn't ready yet... He needs to political "marinade" more and gain more life experiences and skills before he can represent such a wide and varied demography that is Harlow. And as Adam stated he should probably sit this one out as it is "going to be a slaughter for the conservative party.. He wouldn't want to tarnish his name and political career at such a young age, wait for your moment Dan, now is not it.

2024-03-28 09:41:36

None of the above please. We need change. Harlow needs better than we've had, the country as a whole needs better. Time to give the tories a rest.

2024-03-28 12:45:43

Trace, the problem in Harlow is there is no alternative for the Council. The Tory council is performing well and needs to be able to complete its programme. None of the other parties have any feasible plans, and we all know how useless the Harlow Labour group is. For MP, had Halfon stayed he would have won again as Labour candidate is dire, but now, thinking of the strong UKIP vote in the past, Harlow's very strong patriotic and Brexit history, maybe we should look at Reform UK. They have some really good people like Nigel Farage and Lee Anderson. Worth a shout for the General Election.

2024-03-28 16:56:11

Perhaps Hannah will breathe a fresh breath of female leadership ??? Too many men in the conservatives Hannah is born and bred harlow and would make a great candidate !!!

Clare Harrison
2024-03-28 18:54:09

I’d love too see Hannah do it. We never have women representing us. As we all know that in any industry , it’s ten times tougher if you are a women, so good luck Hannah. I hope we get a female this time. I think Dan has been great. He is way beyond his years and I wish I was in my twenties, I had a lot more energy then to change the world, so if you are going to change the world, you need the energy of the youth to do it! I’ve a bit of a soft spot for counsellor Joel Charles ( not like that), but he did send me a lovely tweet when I had an awful Britains got talent experience on national tv. I had some terrible people on here say awful things about me - just because I’d been buzzed off a talent show- anyone would have thought I’d murdered a load of innocent people by the way some people targeted me on here and all I’d done is try my luck on the palladium stage on a talent show . Counsellor Charles sent me a really supportive tweet and that really meant a lot because I was very low . I also interviewed counsellor Charles years ago when I was a tv presenter for Harlow television . We did a piece on the recycling bins at the civic centre and he was very young then. He has grown to be a good counsellor in the community and he’s stuck at it for years and is from Harlow, so I think he would also be a good candidate. What a job though! I don’t envy you , that’s a lot to take on , so good luck to whoever gets the role and I’m sure Robert will be a good guide to pass on the ropes . I hope he leaves Winston Churchills chair in his chamber for you. All the best. Clare Harrison McCartney

Cllr James Leppard
2024-03-28 22:11:47

Such a thoroughly decent and humane message by Claire Harrison

2024-04-02 12:52:39

The Harlow Association have several credible members/councillors who actually live in the Harlow election boundaries that should trump the two names being promoted from the Epping district , and career opportunists.

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