AN Olympic gold medalist is reportedly vying to become Colchester's next Conservative MP at the next General Election.

Colchester's Conservative group has elected James Cracknell as its next parliamentary candidate, the Gazette understands. 

A source told the Gazette the athlete was selected from six potential candidates, although an official announcement has yet to be made.

Who is James Cracknell?

The 51-year-old is better known for his sporting achievements than his political career, but he hopes to lead the Tories to success in Colchester.

The rower bagged two Olympic gold medals for Great Britain, first at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, and again four years later in Athens.

He was the first celebrity to be eliminated from the 17th series of Strictly Come Dancing in 2019 and later competed in the third series of Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins.

Gazette: Candidate - James Cracknell previously appeared on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares WinsCandidate - James Cracknell previously appeared on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins (Image: PA)

In 2013, James Cracknell announced his intention to stand in the European Parliament election the following year, where he stood as a Conservative candidate for South West England and Gibraltar but failed to be elected as an MEP.

What's happening to Will Quince?

Will Quince announced in June he will be standing down as Colchester's MP at the next General Election.

Mr Quince, who is also health minister, said he made the decision so he could spend more time being a father to his two young children.

Gazette: MP - Will QuinceMP - Will Quince

He previously said: “This has not been an easy decision as it has been the honour of my life to serve as Colchester's Member of Parliament and a privilege to represent its people.

“However, being a Member of Parliament and minister of state at the Department of Health and Social Care is all consuming and I know the impact it has had on my young family.

“I have always given my all in every job I have had but I am acutely aware that I am neglecting the most important job I have, being a good dad to two young girls.”

Mr Quince won the seat from Liberal Democrat Sir Bob Russell, who had been Colchester's MP since 1997, in 2015.