Clacton by-election: Boris forgets the Tory candidate's name (which is Giles Watling)

61-year-old councillor will be in the fray on Thursday after Douglas Carswell's defection to Ukip

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It was never going to be very rewarding being the Conservative candidate in Thursday’s by-election in Clacton.

He is not so much a candidate – more a fall guy, because from the minute the incumbent MP, Douglas Carswell, defected from the Conservatives to Ukip and forced the election, Clacton was always going to be chalked up as the first seat the Tories ever lost to Nigel Farage’s crew.

But it would help if prominent Tories could remember their candidate’s name. On that basic test, Boris Johnson has spectacularly fallen down.

During his Ask Boris show on LBC, London Mayor’s was asked by Nick Ferrari who the Tory candidate was. London’s Mayor replied: "We've got a fantastic guy called - oh he’s brilliant… I don’t know... he is superb man .. Stirling? Girling? Something like that… what’s he called? You tell me." For the record, his name is Giles Watling. He is a 61-year-old Tory councillor, an actor born into an acting family who played the vicar Oswald in the soap Bread. His best hope on Thursday is that he will come a creditable second behind Carswell.