The Tory candidate chosen to succeed MP Ann Widdecombe has admitted she is a former Labour Party member.

Croydon lawyer Helen Grant was last week picked to contest Maidstone and the Weald at the next general election.

Ms Grant has now admitted she was a member of the Reigate and Banstead branch of the Labour Party from July 2004 and was approached to run for the Croydon Council.

But Ms Grant says joining Labour was a mistake and she had not donated any time or money to the party.

"I was seduced by Labour for about five minutes but quickly realised what a complete shower they really were," she said.

"The only party I have only ever voted for is the Conservatives."

High-profile MP Miss Widdecombe, 60, announced last October that she would be standing down from the seat she had held for the past 20 years.

A David Cameron A-lister Ms Grant beat nine other political hopefuls during a final selection meeting.

The solicitor, who details her sporting credentials on her website,, had previously been shortlisted for both the Hammersmith and Sutton and Cheam constituencies last year.

According to her website she was a member of the North of England Hockey Squad and was under 16 Judo champion in north England and southern Scotland.

She obtained a law degree at the University of Hull and qualified as a solicitor in 1988.

Her firm, Grants Solicitors, operates from Old Tithe Barn in Purley Way, Croydon.