London’s deputy mayor Lady Victoria Borwick has been selected as the Conservative candidate for the safe Kensington seat due to be vacated by Sir Malcolm Rifkind.
A Conservative party spokesman confirmed the selection for May’s general election, which was made at a meeting of the local party on Friday evening. Borwick won on the first round with more than 50% of the votes, beating challengers Charlotte Vere and Shaun Bailey.
Following the announcement, her son Thomas Borwick paid tribute to Rifkind, who decided to step down two weeks ago after being caught up in a sting by the Daily Telegraph and Channel 4’s Dispatches programme.
Rifkind also resigned as the chairman of the influential parliamentary intelligence and security committee as he came under pressure over allegations that he and another former foreign secretary Jack Straw offered to use their influence as MPs to help a fictitious company in return for thousands of pounds.
Rifkind was an “excellent and dedicated public servant” who had served his constituents for a long time, Thomas Borwick told the Guardian, speaking on his mother’s behalf.
But he refused to comment directly on the circumstances surrounding Rifkind’s decision to stand down as an MP, saying he was “not qualified” to do so.
He added that his mother was “delighted to represent the Conservative party in the upcoming general election”.
Victoria Borwick, who took over as deputy mayor of London in 2012, will hold a meeting with London Mayor Boris Johnson next week to decide whether or not she will continue in the post, her son said.
She made two unsuccessful attempts to secure the Tory London mayoral candidacy – including a campaign against her eventual boss Boris Johnson in 2008.
The following year, she was forced to apologise and repay money after using City Hall resources to promote her husband’s electric vehicle business.
On Friday night, Thomas Borwick confirmed that his mother’s intention to serve out her current term as a member of the London Assembly (LA), regardless of whether or not she was elected as an MP in May. But she would not seek another term in the LA either way, he said.
He also confirmed that she would continue her campaign against the mansion tax during the election campaign.
The Conservatives won the Kensington seat in 2010 with a majority of more than 8,600 votes from a total of 35,000 cast.
In a statement released by the Conservative party on Friday, Victoria Borwick said: “It’s a great privilege to have been selected to represent the Conservatives in Kensington, the place I have called home all my life.
“I look forward to the campaign ahead. It’s an opportunity to fight for Kensington, to stop the Labour party and their pernicious plans for a new tax on the family home, and to support the strong leadership of David Cameron.”
A Labour party spokesman declined to comment.
This article was written by Kevin Rawlinson, for theguardian.com on Saturday 14th March 2015 00.31 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010