This might revive his marriage plans. He got engaged last time he was selected and his devoted (and presumably patient) fiancee was spotted ironing his shirts on a borrowed board in their hotel bar at last year's conference.
The chief of the successor to the grant-maintained advisory comittee, auline Latham, is also hoping for the opportunity to serve - as member for Broxtowe near Nottingham. But Ms Latham, chair of the Foundation and Voluntary Aided Schools Association, has discovered the drawbacks of being a female candidate. On the first day at Bournemouth she, donned a dark suit to appear on stage with her fellow candidates only to be sent back to change into something brighter as they wanted the miserly number of hopeful women to contrast with the hordes of men in grey suits. "I did what the teacher said," she told us.