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BBC Onepolitics show


Last Updated: Sunday, 1 October 2006, 07:42 GMT 08:42 UK
London: Dissent in the ranks...
Zia Trench
Zia Trench
Politics Show London

Michael Portillo
Preaching to the party faithful...

The hall was packed, a minor-celeb took that stage, the lights were dimmed. "Welcome", Michael Portillo said, to this Open Primary.

The event was to select the next Tory parliamentary candidate to get back the seat in Battersea.

And boy, do the Tories want it back!

The reason they stand a chance, is the Labour MP only just won it last time...

So, being a major target, selection night was a big event.

They gave the four candidates a good grilling - a really savvy audience asking questions - from state of the bus routes to relationships with America, China and Iraq.

And they could handle it.

After all, none of them were "real locals".

Simply the best...

Battersea winner
A testing time on current affairs...

In fact, they were all on David Cameron's priority list - a controversial initiative to make sure women, ethnic and other minorities, are candidates in winnable seats.

It is not quite fair to imply central office shipped these guys in (two women and two black candidates) because the local party did actually interview 20 applicants and told me, "they simply picked the best ones they met".

It was not the only controversial aspect of the night.

There was also an open door policy.

In an effort to be more transparent and inclusive, the voting was open to all local residents - members and non-members alike.

I was hoping the local labour contingency was going to abuse this, but no, most people I met were paid up party members.

However, I did meet a young man outside, who told me he fought the campaign that got the Labour MP in. We were about to go in... but seeing all the party stewards, he bottled it and disappeared back out the door.

Also on the programme...

Iain Duncan Smith
A new role on poverty in the party for IDS
We also talk to Ian Duncan-Smith this week - he has been put in charge of tackling poverty.

It is another aspect to this newly branded, all-inclusive, compassionate Tory party.

The Politics Show London

Join the Politics Show team on Sunday 01 October 2006 at 13:35 BST on BBC One.

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