When Tory MPs look for reasons to be optimistic about the incoming election, one thing they point to is the fact that this time around Nick Timothy is not involved. Theresa May's former aide is widely blamed within the Conservative party for the 2017 manifesto which saw the Tories shed popularity over the so-called dementia tax.
However, those MPs looking ahead to a Timothy-free campaign may need to think again. ConservativeHome reports that Timothy is in the final three to be the Tory candidate for Meriden – a safe seat with a majority of 19,198.
Should Timothy succeed, he will have reason to be optimistic. Writing in this week's Spectator magazine, Timothy suggested the Tories were on track to fare better than they did in 2017:
“'Boris Johnson is a born campaigner, whereas Theresa May wilted under pressure. Boris has ended austerity, while Theresa refused to change fiscal policy. And this time, I expect the manifesto will be less controversial.'
Over to the good people of Meriden to decide whether Timothy should be a part of the 2019 campaign...
Update: Nick Timothy will not be the MP for Meriden. He came second – with Saqib Bhatti – an accountant and president of the Birmingham Chambers of Commerce – winning the candidacy.