FORMER police chief Bob Eastwood has thrown his hat into the ring to become the Tory candidate for Blackburn MP at next year’s general election.

He is one of a shortlist of three for a selection meeting on September 6, according to Tory sources.

One of the other candidates is 35-year-old charity manager Shabbir Lorgat and the third is understood to be a councillor from a neighbouring borough.

The winner of the party selection contest will take on Labour candidate and Blackburn with Darwen Council leader Kate Hollern in the poll on May 7.

In 2010, retiring Labour MP Jack Straw had a majority of 9,856 over Michael Law-Riding but in 1983 he won by just 3,055 when challenged by Graham Mather.

Mr Straw took over the seat from Labour veteran former Cabinet Minister Barbara Castle in 1979. He went on to serve as Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Leader of the Commons and Lord Chancellor in the Labour government’s from 1997 to 2010.

Mr Eastwood, 49, retired as chief superintendent in charge of Lancashire Police’s Eastern Division covering Blackburn with Darwen, Hyndburn and Ribble Valley in April after four years in the post.

The Blackburn-born father-of-four, educated at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Grammar School, had served in the service for more than 30 years having joined aged 18 as a cadet.

While in the police he gained a degree in law and politics from Lancaster University Mr Lorgat is married and lives in Lammack and confirmed he was on the shortlist but declined to comment further.

Mr Eastwood was unavailable for comment.

Conservative Association chair Ann Law-Riding declined to give details of the shortlist other than there were three candidates.

She said the selection will take place on Saturday September 6.

Mr Straw said: “Who the Conservatives choose as their candidate is a matter for them.

“The Labour Party has a very fine candidate in Kate Hollern.”