Lamont loses duel for seat

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The Independent Online

The former Chancellor Norman Lamont last night received another setback in his attempt to find a Commons seat at the next election.

Mr Lamont, whose Kingston upon Thames constituency disappears under the boundary changes, failed in his attempt to gain the nomination for the newly merged Kingston and Surbiton seat. The local constituency party voted for the sitting Surbiton MP, Dick Tracey - whose present constituency makes up most of the new seat - to be its prospective parliamentary candidate.

Afterwards Mr Lamont emerged from the Kingston Territorial Army centre, where the meeting was held, to congratulate and shake hands with his victorious rival. "Obviously I am disappointed to have lost but I have no regrets about putting my name in for the nomination," he said. "I will continue to look for a seat in Parliament. It is my wish to continue in public life."

Mr Lamont did not believe his disloyalty to the Prime Minister - voting against the Government in a crucial Europe vote and backing John Redwood for the party leadership - had cost him the nomination. "I don't think that had anything to do with it whatsoever. I think it is the fact that the greater part of the new constituency comes from Surbiton."

However, Mr Tracey - who wished Mr Lamont well in his search for a seat - afterwards chose to stress his record as a party loyalist. Officials would not reveal the voting figures although Mr Tracey said it was "pretty close".

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