With the General Election just three months away, Olympic rower James Cracknell, former English cricket captain Andrew Strauss, journalist Jeremy Paxman and presenter Kirstie Allsopp are all on the list of possibles who could stand as a Conservative candidate in one of the safest Tory seats in the country.
Sir Malcolm stepped down as the MP on Tuesday (February 24) after being caught in a ‘sting’ saying he had access to any British ambassador in the world and he was “self-employed”.
James Cracknell is currently the second favourite to take over the seat after he failed to nab a seat in Bexhill and Battle, and Uxbridge and South Ruislip where Mayor of London Boris Johnson was selected.
However, it is Hammersmith and Fulham’s Conservative leader, Greg Smith, who is leading the list, with Ladbrokes odds putting him at 3/1 to be selected, while Mr Cracknell is 8/1 and Mr Strauss is at 10/1.
Mr Smith, who owns a marketing business, stood in an open primary last year to be selected as a candidate in Dudley South, in the West Midlands, where he grew up but was unsuccessful.
He has been leader of the opposition party in Hammersmith and Fulham since they lost the council to Labour last May. He is also a freemason with the Kensington Battalion Lodge.
North Kensington-born Shaun Bailey is also in the running after he lost out to Labour’s Andy Slaughter when he stood as an MP for Hammersmith in 2010.
Ladbrokes has put him at odds of 12/1 and, as a British Afro-Caribbean, he could be in with a chance if the Conservatives are looking to diversify from the white males who have traditionally been Kensington MPs.
The local Conservative Party refused to say when candidates would be chosen but the Telegraph reports a local source said: “We will be given three names and those people turn up to one meeting and in the space of five minutes gets a 20-year job.”
Also on the list is Sir Merrick Cockell, former leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, and its current leader Nick Paget-Brown - both at 25/1.
Footballer Sol Campbell, who became a paid-up Tory member last year, is also on the list, alongside Location Location Location's Kirstie Allsopp and journalist Jeremy Paxman - all at 33/1.
Sir Malcolm also stepped down as chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee yesterday after undercover reporters from the Telegraph and Channel 4’s Dispatches posed as Chinese investors and the Tory grandee seemed to say he could use his position to get what they needed.