A CONSERVATIVE candidate has been chosen to fight for the Braintree parliamentary seat.

James Cleverly has been selected to defend current MP Brooks Newmark’s majority of 16,121.

Mr Newmark was set to stand again in May’s general election, but is stepping down after a sex scandal, in which it was revealed he had had an affair, and had exchanged sexually suggestive messages with an undercover reporter pretending to be a Tory activist.

The Braintree Constituency Conservative Association voted for Mr Cleverly, 45, from a shortlist of four candidates.

A married father-of-two, he is the London Assembly member for Bexley and Bromley and chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority.

Mr Cleverly, who works in web publishing and is a Major in the Territorial Army, said: “As you can imagine, this is viewed in Conservative circles as an absolutely plum constituency.

“My mother-in-law lives locally.

"I used to spend a lot of my childhood with family in Chelmsford, so I know this area fairly well.”