The Tories have chosen Trudy Harrison as their candidate for the Copeland by-election in Cumbria while Jack Brereton will contest the Stoke-On-Trent Central seat for the same party, The Huffington Post UK understands.
Harrison, a mother of four, runs community projects in Cumbria, while Brereton is a 25-year-old Tory councillor in Stoke-on-Trent.
He became one of the party’s youngest councillors when he was elected at the age of 19 in 2011.
The key by-elections are both set for February 23, after Copeland MP Jamie Reed and Stoke-on-Trent Central MP Tristram Hunt formally resigned their seats on Monday.
Reed is leaving his post to take up a nuclear industry job in Sellafield, while Hunt is quitting to become the new Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Former Tory Copeland candidate Stephen Haraldsen, and Chris Whiteside, who ran for the same party in the area’s 2015 mayoral contest, were both widely tipped for the Copeland candidacy.
But party sources told HuffPost UK that Harrison, who has not run in the area before, would instead stand in the by-election in Cumbria.
Harrison has previously worked as a Community Regeneration Officer at Copeland Borough Council, while Brereton is a Tory councillor for Baddeley, Milton and Norton, in Stoke-on-Trent.
The Tories were just 2,500 votes behind Labour in Copeland in the 2015 general election.
They finished third behind Ukip in Stoke-on-Trent Central, where Labour had a majority of 5,000.
Conservative MPs and insiders told HuffPost UK the party would be concentrating resources in Copeland as it is “inconceivable” they will take the Stoke seat, where UKIP’s leader Paul Nuttall is the candidate.
“It’s natural to concentrate on areas you can win. We won’t win Stoke”, a senior Tory MP told HuffPost UK.
The Conservative party has confirmed Harrison and Brereton as its by-election candidates in the two contests.