THE daughter of a Tory Party donor could be among a list of hopefuls ready to stand for the Rochford and Southend East seat when it is vacated by Sir James Duddridge at the next general election.

Frustration is mounting at delays in the selection process for the traditionally safe seat amid speculation 27-year-old Home Office advisor Alice Hopkin is being supported by James Cleverly, Secretary of State for the Home Department, in a bid to stand in the city.

Mr Cleverly’s register of interest shows Ms Hopkin’s father, Glyn Hopkin, donated to Mr Cleverly’s leadership campaign in 2019. Ms Hopkins has posted pictures on social media on the Southend East and Rochford Conservatives (SERCO) election campaign trail.

The Tory prospective parliamentary candidate was due to be announced by the beginning of March but so far the seat hasn’t been formally advertised.

SERCO Spokesman Gavin Chambers, said: “It’s been exhausting trying to get CCHQ to advertise the seat and it is hard to understand the justification why they would not want a candidate in place sooner.

“I have been in the party for 17 years and was recently involved in the Conservative London mayoral selections so am a big believer in ordinary members having the final say so hopefully this will be the case with this seat.”

Fears are growing that Conservative Campaign Headquarters maybe attempting to parachute in preferred candidates to the seat. Politico polls for the next election, which must be held by 2025, currently have Labour ahead with 43 per cent of the vote with Conservatives trailing at 24 per cent.

Mr Chambers, who will oversee the selection process, added: “We have many fantastic prospective candidates including Ms Hopkins and I would like to reassure them all that I will do my best to make sure a fair process is followed.”

John Lamb, Conservative councillor responsible for regulatory services, said: “It’s always a frustration leaving it this late but we don’t know when the general election is anyway so we haven’t got any problem really with it. It’s just trying to get the right one.”

Mr Cleverly and CCHQ were approached for a comment.