My blog entry late on Saturday evening has attracted some interest, and in particular, two anonymous comments. Funny, isn't it, how the anonymous commenter supports the notion that Local Parties can't be trusted... However, I will respond to their comments thus;
"I'd have thought there was a much better reason for not having a local party person on the panel: it's not a selection committee. Its job is to assess the ability of a candidate to cope with a by-election. Issues of local knowledge are for other parts of the process."
Actually, it is a selection committee. The By-election Panel merely carries out the shortlisting role otherwise carried out by the Selection Committee in a normal PPC selection. The process might be more intensive (although there is theoretically nothing stopping an 'ordinary' selection committee from being so rigorous), but it is fundamentally the same. And, one of the key criteria to be tested by the By-election Panel is the ability to represent the constituency in question. So, issues of local knowledge are for that part of the process.