Ousted London West contender vows action after PCs appoint right-wing talk show host

A provincial PC move to bypass the nomination process and appoint candidates in 11 ridings including London West is receiving backlash within the party.

Tories appoint Andrew Lawton over Jake Skinner, trustee with the Thames Valley District School Board

Andrew Lawton has been declared the PC candidate for the riding of London West. (Supplied)

A provincial PC move to bypass the nomination process and appoint candidates in 11 ridings including London West is receiving backlash from within the party.

PC leader Doug Ford announced the appointed candidates in 11 ridings on Saturday, all of which did not have nomination meetings scheduled before the June election.

The party appointed Andrew Lawton as the candidate for London West. He was the former host of the Andrew Lawton Show, and was laid off last month for restructuring reasons, according to Corus Entertainment representatives.

The announcement "shocked" Jake Skinner, a trustee with the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB), who had been vying for the nomination in London West for two years.
Jake Skinner, trustee with the Thames Valley District School Board, has been vying for the PC nomination for about two years. (Supplied)

"That nomination should be earned, not bestowed … I am in a state of shock. I am deeply disappointed for our members," he said in an online statement on Saturday.

"[Local supporters] are the grassroots of our party and they deserve to have their say on who is chosen as their candidate," said Skinner, citing that his two-year campaign has been "disruptive and costly."

"Rest assured, we will be taking action," he said.

Liz Snelgrove, the executive director of the Advanced Medical Group, was also a contender for the London West nomination. In a Facebook post, she thanked a supporter and said "it's over before it began."

Lawton 'honoured to be chosen'

Lawton announced that he was seeking the Ontario PC nomination on April 11.

In an online statement Saturday, he said he was "honoured to be chosen," despite being "eager for a good old-fashioned contested nomination."

"I respect and understand the time crunch the party is in," he said. "[I] will continue the hard work across the riding of London West right up until Election Day," he said.

"That starts right now," he said.

The current seat is occupied by Peggy Sattler from the NDP.

This year's provincial election will be the first where Ontario is divided into 124 ridings, up from 107 ridings previously.