DUDLEY South Conservatives are to hold a US-style open primary to find their new Parliamentary candidate.

The decision has been thrown open to the public after sitting MP Chris Kelly confirmed he would not be seeking re-election.

Anyone on the electoral roll in Dudley South can register to attend the open primary to decide who will be the constituency’s next Conservative candidate with an eye on becoming MP at the 2015 General Election.

Mr Kelly, who is stepping down for personal reasons, said: “It has been a pleasure and a privilege to serve the people of Dudley South and I am delighted that they will get a vote not only between the parties in May, but in first choosing the Conservative candidate who will replace me.

“I have always worked for everyone, regardless of whether or not they voted for me. Now everyone has a chance to tell my party whose name they want to see on the ballot paper. It is an open, democratic process that allows candidates to be selected on merit.”

There are four hopefuls in the running, including Pedmore and Stourbridge East councillor Mike Wood, who will be invited to speak and answer questions at the open primary event which will be held at The Kingswinford School, Water Street, on Wednesday November 26.

The other three candidates hoping to fight to become the next Dudley South MP are: Helen Harrison - a Conservative Party campaigner who runs a physiotherapy clinic in Northamptonshire; West Midlands-born Greg Smith - a London-based self-employed marketing and campaigns professional and councillor for Hammersmith and Fulham; and Sibby Buckle - a pharmacist and political campaigner from Ruddington, near Nottingham.

The evening will kick off at 7pm and the results will be announced at around 10pm after a public vote.

All residents of Dudley South Parliamentary constituency and over the age of 18 are invited to attend but must register to vote in advance – by Friday November 21 – by logging onto www.dudleysouthconservatives.com/open-primary or emailing openprimary@dudleysouthconservatives.com.

Those unable to register online can contact Councillor David Blood, Parliamentary selection co-ordinator, on 01384 832166.