Could Olympic medallist stand for region’s MP?

Sir Tony Baldry (MP for Banbury) and his wife Pippa. Kt Bruce ENGNNL00120130218100044
Sir Tony Baldry (MP for Banbury) and his wife Pippa. Kt Bruce ENGNNL00120130218100044

Double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell is expected to put his name forward as a prospective Conservative party parliamentary candidate for Bicester for the 2015 General Election.

Mr Cracknell – who won rowing golds for Great Britain in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic games – has hinted that he will consider standing for election in the Banbury constituency after current MP Sir Tony Baldry announced this week he will step down after 32 years of service.

In a statement on Wednesday, Mr Cracknell said: “Be it in sport or politics, I’ve always been passionate about serving my country in the best way that I can. I am on the Conservative Party’s candidates list for 2015 and have submitted a CV for their consideration.

“How and where my aims and ambitions progress is a matter for the Conservative Party, the local constituency associations and my family. It is they who will guide my future decisions.”

However, he added: “Having lived for several years – and trained for the Olympics – in Oxfordshire, the county has always had a special place in my heart.”

Sir Tony issued a statement on Monday announcing his intention to stand down.

He said: “One of the consequences of now having five-year fixed-term Parliaments is that if I succeed in being re-elected at the forthcoming general election, given my age most people will assume that Parliament will be my last.

“I think this creates a danger that I may be unable to be as effective as I would wish to be, and that the constituency will be distracted from more important issues by the need to choose my successor.”

Chris Rowland, constituency agent for North Oxfordshire Conservative Association, said he anticipated more than 100 applicants for the role – all of whom must first be vetted by Conservative party HQ. He said it was too early to confirm names but played down speculation the central party might ‘parachute in’ a favoured candidate, saying the local party would be given a ‘free hand’ in the selection process.