HEREFORD Conservatives are to give voters a say in the choice of the party's candidate to fight the next general election.

For the first time, they are taking up the United States system of holding a primary, in which all voters get the chance to say who they would like to see stand for parliament.

Sir Colin Shepherd, chairman of the Hereford Conservative Association and former MP, says the local party has settled upon a shortlist of four candidates to contest the primary.

"This is a bold and exciting initiative by the party designed to reach out and secure the widest possible community involvement in a very important aspect of the democratic process," said Sir Colin.

But the result of the primary will not be binding and the final say will be in the hands of members of the constituency association.

In order to take part in the primary, on Tuesday, December 12, voters will have to register by Thursday, December 7.

The four shortlisted candidates are Giles Inglis-Jones, Emma Moffett, Jesse Norman and Bob Seely.

Giles Inglis-Jones is a former soldier who is married to a Herefordshire farmer's daughter and they have four young children. He has swum the English Channel and taken part in charity initiatives to raise money for homeless and medical charities.

He served as a guardsman for 10 years, has an MBA and has worked in the public sector for 15 years. Giles is not new to politics and stood in the last general election against former Labour Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon.

He says he regards public services like the NHS, education, policing and transport as important.

Emma Moffett is a 45-year-old farmer's wife with three teenage children. She is a qualified surveyor who did much of her training in Herefordshire.

She says she will take her message throughout the county and there will not be any no-go areas.

Emma says she looks forward to making her home in the Hereford constituency and taking an active part in the local community.

Her voluntary work includes helping the Citizens Advice Bureau and she has also undertaken fund-raising for national and local charities.

Jesse Norman is 44 and has lived with his wife, Kate, and their three children near Hay-on-Wye since 1991.

Educated at Oxford University and University College London, he worked as a banker and was a director of Barclays before turning to politics.

Jesse has been an adviser to shadow chancellor George Osborne since 2005.

Jesse has been involved in community and charitable enterprises and says he has personally raised more than £500,000 for charitable projects over the past three years.

He writes regularly for the national press and has appeared on radio programmes.

Bob Seely first came to Hereford just over a year ago and says he immediately felt at home.

During a varied career, he has worked in journalism, business and academia. His journalism includes a spell as foreign correspondent for The Times and Bob currently works in television.

In addition to this, he is a soldier in the Territorial Army and enjoys walking, sport, writing, history and travel.

In common with the other shortlisted candidates, Bob says he has a particular interest in public services.