Kingston's voters went for youth over experience by selecting fresh-faced Helen Whately as the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Kingston and Surbiton.

The 30-year-old won the nomination ahead of ex-leader of Kingston Council, Kevin Davis, and will now fight Liberal Democrat MP Edward Davey for the Kingston and Surbiton seat at the next general election.

Four contestants were each grilled for 30 minutes by compere Michael Portillo last week, before candidates Samantha Manning-Smith and Huw Merriman were eliminated.

After a further agonising 10-minute wait Mrs Whately was declared winner at just before 10pm. Mr Davis, a familiar face to the people of Kingston, had been tipped to get the nomination.

He said: "I'm naturally disappointed but congratulations to Helen, I think she will make a great candidate."

An ecstatic Mrs Whately said all the candidates were nervous.

She said: "None of us had any idea how the vote went, I'm extremely pleased and look forward to working with the party."

Mrs Whately, who is married and lives in central London, said her freshness would be an advantage and she would fight her campaign on the streets and make more use of the internet.

She plans to move to Kingston within the next few months.

Mr Portillo said the open primary-style of nomination, which allowed registered voters to have their say by choosing from a candidate short list, was proving to be effective.

He said: "I think all of the candidates were of a very high quality. They are having to commit a lot earlier now, they are having to be much more devoted.

"It is much harder than when I started out as an MP."

Mrs Whately, who is due to take up a new position at management consultants McKinsey in June, said: "Now the real work begins, it's going to be a few years of hard work."

Edward Davey said: "I would like to congratulate Helen on her selection. I hope she backs my campaigns against the Labour government and over a fair settlement deal for Kingston."

Helen Whately's CV

Grew up in Surrey near Redhill. Her father is a surgeon and her mother a doctor.

After taking A-levels at Westminster School she spent a year teaching in a village school in Nepal.

In 1995 she went to Oxford University and read philosophy, politics and economics.

Met Marcus at university and married him in 2005.

She teaches public speaking in secondary schools, is a school governor and campaigner for the NHS.

Worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers and AOL, where she launched the UK's first legal internet film service.

Advisor to the shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and member of David Cameron's Quality of Life Policy Group.

Hobbies As a horse rider she competed for Surrey in national competitions and was a member of the British Junior Eventing Squad.

At University she was captain of the riding team and won two half-blues'.

Enjoys skiing, running and rollerblading.