Bexley councillor and London Assembly member Gareth Bacon has been unanimously selected to contest the seat of Orpington at the 2019 general election.

Cllr Bacon secured the nomination at a November 8 meeting of the Orpington Conservatives branch, with the councillor tasked with keeping the seat in Tory hands following the resignation of Jo Johnson in September.

Speaking follow his nomination, cllr Bacon said he was “thrilled” to be named the prospective parliamentary candidate for the area.

He said he would campaign on national issues including the “need to get Brexit done”, but would also look to tackle local factors such as protecting Orpington’s green belt, as well as ensuring the electorate gets its “fair share” of police officers from the Government’s upcoming recruitment drive.

The councillor –  who also leads the Conservative Group at the Greater London Authority – has represented Bexley’s Longlands ward since 1998, holding the position of deputy leader and cabinet member for finance and corporate services in that time.  

He said his experience in local government – and how it is impacted by Parliamentary decisions – is something he would look to reflect if elected.

“It feels like a natural move – if elected, I’ll be taking that experience of the lower tiers of Government and how decisions filter down to it with me,” he said.

He was elected in 2008 as a London-wide Assembly Member, before being re-elected in 2016 as the member for Bexley and Bromley.

In 2015 he was appointed chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority by then London Mayor Boris Johnson, standing down from his cabinet roles with Bexley council in the same year after it was reported that he was the highest paid councillor in London.

Jo Johnson announced in September that he wouldn’t contest the next election, citing “unresolvable tension” arising from conflicting views with his brother, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, over Brexit.

Orpington has largely been a Tory stronghold since its creation, with the younger Johnson helping the Conservatives to an additional 6.5 per cent swing at the 2017 election. 

Other nominations for the constituency include Simon Jeal (Labour), Allan Tweddle (Liberal Democrat), and Karen Wheller (Green Party).