THE Conservative battle to succeed Sir John Butterfill as MP for Bournemouth West has been whittled down from 150 hopefuls to one man and one woman.

From a shortlist of six, party activists last night voted to send Mike Greene and Rebecca Harris to an open primary next Thursday, which will decide between the two of them.

Mr Greene, 44, lives on the West Cliff and is a councillor in Camden where he holds the environment portfolio.

He is a former managing director of the Royal Bank of Canada in London and Singapore and his wife Nicola is a Bournemouth councillor.

Rebecca Harris, 40, worked in publishing, then later for the Conservative Research Department and as a special adviser helping to put together party policies on health, education and transport at the last election.

The final stage in the process is the open primary which is being held on July 10 at the Queens Hotel in Bournemouth.

All electors in the constituency who register with the Conservatives will be able to attend and vote at what is effectively a public meeting, even if they are not party members.

The candidates will explain why they should be selected as the prospective parliamentary candidate and answer questions. Between now and then they will both campaign in the constituency.

Veteran backbencher Sir John has represented Bournemouth West at Westminster for 25 years and is stepping down at the next election.

Anyone wishing to attend the primary should email office@bournemouthwest or write to BWCA at 135 Hankinson Road, Bournemouth by noon on Wednesday.