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General election: Conservatives announce Kensington candidate

Victoria Borwick, a Kensington and Chelsea ward councillor and GLA member, will represent the party in the May General Election

The Conservatives in Kensington has announced Victoria Borwick as their candidate for the General Election.

She will battle for the seat being vacated by Sir Malcolm Rifkind after he was embroiled in a cash-for-access claims in February.

Mrs Borwick, who represents the Abingdon ward in the royal borough, was also elected to the Greater London Assembly (GLA) in 2008, and has been Boris Johnson’s deputy mayor since 2012.

The Conservatives hold a 8,616 majority in the constituency, and the prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC), who grew up and went to school in the borough, said: “It is a tremendous honour to represent your home patch.”

Her selection has come in for criticism from the Kensington Labour group, who have accused her of “raking in the cash” by continuing to be GLA member as well as an MP, if she is elected - something the mum-of-four strongly denies.

Ms Borwick was selected as the Tory PPC at a Kensington Town Hall meeting on March 13.

She said: “I have lived almost all my life here. I went to school in Kensington and I have been a local school governor for over 20 years and local residents know me quite well.”

She also paid tribute to Sir Malcolm, saying: “Many people will be sad to see someone so distinguished leave. They are very grateful for all that he did in services to our country and also to Kensington. I have big shoes to fill.”

The Labour group say Mrs Borwick intends to carry on her duties with the GLA until 2016 and represent the constituency if elected. They say this will result in a conflict of interest and means the Conservative will be unable to give her all for the people of Kensington.

But Mrs Borwick denied this, and said the developments of the past few weeks had caught everyone out. She said: “I don’t want to be complacent because I have not been elected, but I am in the process of handing over and sorting out my responsibilities.

“This has all happened very quickly. Three weeks ago Malcolm Rifkind was our MP. It’s not like I was planning this.

“I can’t just walk out on my existing responsibilities and leave people in the lurch. I have to sort out what will happen when.

“But if I am elected I will be giving Kensington 100% of my attention.”

Labour’s Kensington PPC Dr Rod Abouharb had earlier said Mrs Borwick was showing “utter contempt to people in the borough", adding: “They deserve a full-time dedicated MP who has only one job. Can’t she survive on an MP’s salary?

“The Tories got rid of one Rifkind and now replaced him with ‘Madam Rifkind’, who thinks it is perfectly reasonable to use these jobs to rake in as much money as possible.”

Mrs Borwick said she was also meeting with Conservative council leader Nick Paget-Brown to discuss her role as councillor if she is elected in May.

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