The Prime Minister’s deputy chief of staff  was selected last night as the Conservative candidate for Hertsmere.

Oliver Dowden secured the backing of more than 50 per cent of Conservative members in a selection meeting held last night.

He was selected above hopefuls Antonia Cox, Rishi Sunak and Chris Hayward.

The senior Tory, who lives in St Albans with his wife and two children Alice and George, will now battle it out against the other candidates for the seat, including the Labour Party’s Richard Butler and UKIP candidate Frank Ward.

The Hertsmere seat was left vacant after James Clappison MP announced his retirement earlier this year after almost 23 years of service to the area.

Mr Dowden, who read law at Cambridge, said: “James Clappison was a fantastic MP for this area and I hope I am able to live up to his legacy.

“I do not take anything for granted however and will make sure I am out in the community, and am not invisible, meeting people and business so I can really understand all the issues that people are passionate about here.”

While Mr Dowden won the official vote, he scored less favourably in an online poll conducted by the Borehamwood Times.

He now says he hopes to win over voters by spending as much time in Hertsmere as possible. He added: “I was born in Park Street, just outside Radlett, and also grew up in this area too, so for me this is like coming home.

“I feel my knowledge and expertise will be able to benefit all those in Hertsmere. Their issues are my issues too- whether it is fighting to save our Green Belt land or ensuring appropriate transport infrastructure – because this is my community too.”

Mr Dowden added that he plans to resign from his current role as deputy chief of staff for David Cameron to commit more time to getting to know people in Hertsmere.

He said: "I want to get to know the people and let them get to know me - that's very important."

Leader of Hertsmere Borough Council Cllr Morris Bright attended last night’s meeting and said: “All four candidates would have made excellent MPs. Oliver Dowden however, being a local man with national credentials, stood out as an exemplary candidate and was whole heartedly supported by members at last night’s selection meeting.

“I have no doubt that he will hit the ground running, as he knows the right doors to knock on at Westminster to make sure that Hertsmere’s voices are heard.”