Have a real say in the mayoral selection process

Conservative leader David Cameron has made a major announcement on the way the Conservative Party's candidate to run for Mayor of London will be chosen. Under a new system, anyone may put themselves forward to be the candidate, and everyone on the electoral register in London will be able to vote for the person who will challenge Ken Livingstone in 2008.

Encouraging people to think about taking part, David Cameron said, "Too many people are fed up and disillusioned with politics. I hope that doing things differently will fire the public's imagination and get them talking and thinking about politics again. Somewhere in London, there's a Mayor in the making. If its you, please consider applying today."

Outlining how the new selection process would work, David Cameron explained, "Every Londoner who supports our Party will have a chance to become the Conservative candidate. Headhunters will be used to encourage potential candidates to apply. And, later in the year, we will be holding a series of public meetings across the capital so that Londoners can quiz potential candidates face to face. Then every Londoner will be able to vote by phone or text on who should be the Conservative candidate for the capital's top job."

Speaking earlier, Francis Maude, the Party Chairman, set out the reasons why the new selection process was being put in place to show how the Conservatives are changing. Mr Maude said, "We already have the loyal support of our membership, which is essential for any political party, and was absolutely key to our recent local election success. But now we need to reach out to the wider electorate and get new people involved in politics."

He went on to add,  "The Mayor's decisions have a huge impact on the lives of everyone who lives in the city, so it makes sense to give everybody the opportunity to have a say in choosing who they think is best suited to the task."

The process will be completed by early December, giving the Conservative candidate 18 months to campaign and prove to the people of London that they are the right person for the capital's top job.