Theresa May

Theresa May’s former chief of staff has entered the race to replace former health secretary Matt Hancock at the next election.

Nick Timothy was picked as the Conservative candidate for the West Suffolk constituency on Sunday evening.

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Local Tory councillor Lance Stanbury said he “understands all the issues” and “will make a great candidate”.

Mr Hancock will be standing down at the next general election after more than a decade as an MP.

He was first elected in 2010 under David Cameron‘s leadership of the party and has been re-elected twice, most recently with a 23,000 majority in 2019.

But he has been sitting as an independent since November following his decision to appear on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of here.

His commitment to the ITV series saw him have the Tory whip removed, and he later announced he would stand down from parliament.

Mr Hancock, who quit as health secretary after he was found to have broken lockdown rules during the pandemic while having an affair with an aide, congratulated Mr Timothy on his selection.

“Best wishes for his campaign, he’ll make a terrific member of parliament,” he posted on X (Twitter).

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Timothy’s mixed record in politics

Mr Timothy was born in Birmingham but is believed to have strong family ties to West Suffolk.

He was a key adviser to Mrs May during her first year as prime minister, but quit after her decision to call a snap general election in 2017 spectacularly backfired.

The Tories saw their majority in parliament wiped out as then Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn exceeded expectations.

It marked the beginning of the end for Mrs May’s premiership, as she failed to get her Brexit deal through a deeply divided parliament and was forced to resign in 2019.

Mr Timothy, a Brexiteer, was previously a special adviser to Mrs May during her time as home secretary.

He was ousted from that role amid tensions between his boss and then prime minister Mr Cameron.

He was later barred from the Tories’ candidates list for the 2015 general election.

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