THE Tory candidate chosen to follow in William Hague's footsteps "blew all the other contenders out of the water" ahead of the selection vote, according to party members.

Rishi Sunak, who co-founded a £1bn global investment business, was the firm favourite ahead of the vote and said it was an “incredible privilege” to be chosen as the next candidate for Richmond, North Yorkshire.

The announcement followed the decision by Mr Hague to stand down from Parliament at the time of July's reshuffle, which also saw him quit his role as foreign secretary.

Leader of the House of Commons, Mr Hague has represented the constituency since 1989 and held it in 2010 with a majority of 23,336.

The Richmond Conservative Association held the selection meeting at Tennants auction house in Leyburn on Saturday to pick the person to stand in one of the safest Tory seats in the country.

Mr Sunak’s former role involved investing in small and fast-growing British businesses. He is also a governor of the East London Science School.

An Oxford graduate, he studied for an MBA at Stanford University in the USA, where he was a Fulbright Scholar.

Mr Sunak said: “I’m over the moon. It’s an incredible privilege to represent this really special part of the world, and to follow in the footsteps of William Hague.

“He was a very well-loved MP and I hope I can benefit from his advice. Everyone I have met here so far has been very warm and welcoming and I’m looking forward to my wife and children joining me here.”

Mr Hague said: “I have been hearing many people saying how impressive Rishi is, and how well he has been getting to know the area and its issues.

“I look forward to campaigning for him. The only advice I could him is what he is already doing – get to know the area and the people – that’s how he won the candidacy.

“I know he is dedicated to continuing to do that and he will make a great next MP for Richmond and representative for this community.”

Ron Kirk, chairman of the Richmond Conservative Association, said the shortlist was varied and very strong and he was proud of all the candidates.

He said: “Rishi appealed to the wider cross section of our members, and he won with more than 50 per cent of the vote – as did William Hague when he was first selected.

“The others were also very good and I’m sure they will all find seats.

“Rishi has spent a lot of time in the area over the last month, has got to know a lot of the issues and he has spoken to as many people as he can, party members and residents alike.”

Members of the association Joan Cawthorn, Kath Bell and Ann Marwood said they were thrilled with the selection.

Mrs Cawthorn said: “He was very impressive, he blew all the other candidates out of the water. I think he will be great for us.”

Conservative leader at Richmondshire District Council Fleur Butler added: “I couldn’t be happier.

“He has a great intellect and he has put a lot of work in to finding out about what matters to local people.”