A SELF-made millionaire estate agent has been selected as the Conservative candidate for one of the safest Tory seats in the country.
Kevin Hollinrake, a married father-of-four who is managing director of North Yorkshire-based Hunters, the UK’s fastest-growing independent estate agency network, emerged late last night as the prospective parliamentary candidate for Thirsk and Malton.
He secured more than 50 per cent of the vote, following a tense series of votes by members of Thirsk and Malton Conservative Association at York Racecourse.
It is understood many members of the association said they admired Mr Hollinrake's political conviction.
Last October, Mr Hollinrake was reported as having reacted frostily to George Osborne’s autumn budget.
A national newspaper quoted him as saying: “The chancellor must be aware that by introducing capital gains tax on foreign-owned properties in the UK, it may risk deterring important foreign investment into the London and the UK housing markets.”
The candidates, who included Stockton Borough councillor for Yarm Ben Houchen, Rutland councillor Christine Emmett and East Riding councillor Victoria Aitken, were all given 30 minutes to stake their claim for the candidacy, which included facing a grilling from the association's members.
Political commentators said whoever was selected by the association was likely to become the constituency's next MP.
The vote follows the sitting MP Anne McIntosh being deselected earlier this year by the association after a long-running feud with its leading members, who had repeatedly tried to oust her.
Association sources said following the battle, during which claims of elitism and sexism damaged its reputation, they determined to find a candidate who had no link with the row.
Miss McIntosh won the seat with an 11,821 majority at the last election.
Previous incumbents of the seat, which stretches from Filey, across the North York Moors, to villages near Northallerton, have all been Conservative.
TV presenter Selina Scott said she had been urged to stand for the seat, and had decided not to challenge to be the Conservative candidate or run as an independent, but may consider other constituencies.
Ahead of the meeting Miss McIntosh said: “I shall continue to represent the people of Thirsk, Malton and Filey with the utmost energy and enthusiasm, being the only woman Conservative MP for the Yorkshire and Humber region, I am extremely proud to do so.”