As the party begins to select prospective parliamentary candidates to fight the next general election, we’re reaching out to the female PPCs to ask them to speak about their journey into politics. I’m delighted that we’re starting with Annabel, who ran in Bristol West in 2017 and is now the PPC for Bath. Below is her piece for HerHouseUK.
It was only two years ago that I visited the Candidate’s stand at the Party Conference and added my name and email address to a list of people “expressing an interest” in the Conservative Party Candidates list. Little did I know that in a very short time I would stand in a general election as the Candidate for Bristol West and this year, would be selected as the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Bath.
Standing as a candidate is something that I had mulled over for some time. My early interest in politics was inspired by my Grandmother who was the indomitable Chair of the Liss Conservative Association and my earliest political memories involve lots of coffee mornings and lots of cake. My involvement in politics really grew when my second son was born with Downs Syndrome. I suddenly found myself dependent on a range of services and I wasn’t happy with all of them. So I set about trying to improve some… and succeeded. In 2010 the family moved to North Somerset where I got some invaluable help from our MP Liam Fox getting my son settled. Spurred on by my earlier success I applied and was elected to stand as a Councillor for Yatton Ward in 2011.
Shortly after I began working for Liam Fox MP setting up his Social Media platforms. I was immediately attracted to the interest and variation of the MP’s role. It struck me as a job that brought together a variety of skills I’d acquired from technology to local government to caring for vulnerable people. The first major step to becoming an MP is passing the Parliamentary Aptitude Board; a challenging 24 hours of interviews and assessments. I was given great encouragement and practical help from the Conservative Women’s Organisation (CWO) and Women2Win. Today we are in a position where still only 32% of our MPs are women. When I started my Engineering Degree over 30 years ago, I looked at the three other women and 87 men on my course and was sure that the disparity was so glaringly obvious that it would be evened out in a generation. It hasn’t been. There are still “men’s networks” that are very hard to access and far fewer female role models to seek advice from. CWO and Women2Win offered both and a safe space to experiment, learn and practice.
My selection in 2017 for Bristol West was unusual and uncontested due to the very short timescales of the snap election. I took the Conservatives from 4th to 2nd place. Candidate seat selection for the next election started earlier this year with the seats being released by the candidates’ office in tranches. I applied for both Bath and Bristol North West. The Bath selection took place first with an initial sift by CCHQ and the local Association. I was one of 8 selected to present to the executive who sifted down to 3. The final 3 then had a hustings, in this case with the members of the Bath Association. I was delighted to receive the overwhelming endorsement of the majority of the members at the selection.
I am now getting stuck into building a campaign plan to firstly return a conservative controlled council to Bath in the local elections in May 2019 then ultimately, at the next general election, return a Conservative MP for Bath.
If anyone would like to help with the campaign, contact me or follow me on social media I am easy to find online – I seem to be the only Annabel Tall in the world and use all the major social media platforms.
Annabel Tall BEng CEng MIET | Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Bath
Tel: +44 (0) 1225 338 555
96, Sydney Mews, Bath. BA2 4ED