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Hunt picks former Conservative Party CEO as ‘preferred candidate’ for CQC chair

Former Conservative MP and party chief executive likely to takeover as chair of Care Quality Commission after being announced as government's 'preferred candidate'

Image: Nils Jorgensen/Rex Features
Image: Nils Jorgensen/Rex Features

A former chief executive of the Conservative Party, who as an MP lost his seat to current social care minister Norman Lamb, has been announced as the Government’s “preferred candidate” to become the new chair of the Care Quality Commission.

David Prior, a trained barrister who is currently chair of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Foundation Trust, looks set to takeover from current CQC chair Jo Williams.

Williams announced her resignation in September this year after three years at the helm, in which her leadership of CQC faced repeated criticisms. She will leave as soon as her successor comes into post.

The Department of Health announced that Prior had served in “a number of political roles” between 1995 and 2002.

These include a stint as deputy chairman and chief executive of the Conservative Party. In 1997 Prior was elected as MP for North Norfolk, but in the 2001 election he was unseated by Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb – who currently serves as social care minister for the coalition government.

Prior has also served as chair “of a wide range of private companies,” the DoH said.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has asked the Health Select Committee to hold a public pre-appointment hearing to scrutinise Prior’s suitability for the post. The Committee will report its findings to Hunt, who will decide whether or not to sign-off the appointment.

The DoH said that Prior had been selected as the preferred candidate following “an open and rigorous recruitment exercise”.

is Community Care’s community editor

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