Rifkind wins Kensington and Chelsea nomination

The former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind is on course for a political comeback after being selected as Conservative candidate to contest Kensington and Chelsea at the next general election.

The ex-Cabinet minister beat off the competition to be chosen to succeed one-time government colleague and sitting MP Michael Portillo, who is standing down from the Tory stronghold to pursue a career outside politics.

Sir Malcolm, who lost his Edinburgh Pentlands seat in 1997 after serving in the Thatcher and Major cabinets, said he was "delighted" after securing the nomination in a run-off against three other candidates.

Pledging to serve as "a first class MP" for the west London constituency, he said: "It was a difficult challenge because the local Conservatives wanted to put us all on our mettle and there was no mercy shown. All the candidates were very strong and able people and I was very conscious of that."

In the run-up to the vote by 1,000 local party members, the four-man shortlist were questioned by journalist and broadcaster Andrew Neil.

Sir Malcom won through on the first ballot with an "overwhelming" majority.


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