File photo MP Dianne Watts is expected to announce her bid for the BC Liberal leadership Sunday. (File photo)

Watts plans ‘important announcement’ for Sunday in Surrey

South Surrey-White Rock Conservative MP’s invite-only event set for 1 p.m. at Sheraton Guildford

South Surrey-White Rock MP Dianne Watts is making an “important announcement” Sunday, at an event at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel.

The former longtime Surrey mayor was elected to the federal Conservative party in 2015. Last month, she was named the party’s employment, workforce development and labour critic.

Watts has not said what Sunday’s announcement will be – and officials from her constituency office told Peace Arch News Thursday morning, following a news release inviting media to attend “an important announcement by Dianne Watts,” that she would not be available for comment.

There is much speculation that she will announce her bid for the BC Liberal leadership.

An Insights West poll released Aug. 22 pointed to Watts as the favourite to replace Christy Clark as BC Liberal leader, ahead of Vancouver-False Creek MLA Sam Sullivan, former finance minister Mike de Jong and Richmond-Queensborough MLA Jas Johal.

The leadership race launched Aug. 29. Word of Watts’ plans to announce her bid began circulating Wednesday, after an invitation via email and text was distributed regarding an event and announcement at 1 p.m. Sunday. Efforts to reach Watts Wednesday afternoon were unsuccessful.

Watts has yet to publicly confirm her bid.

Others expected to throw their hats into the leadership race include former attorney general Andrew Wilkinson, former Liberal cabinet minister Todd Stone and Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier. The deadline to enter the race is Dec. 29.

The first leadership debate is set for 2-4 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Crown Palace Banquet Hall in Surrey (12025 Nordel Way). Open to the public, those planning to attend are asked to register to ensure seating capacity.

Six debates are planned throughout the province.

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