The candidate chosen to succeed Tory MP Ann Widdecombe at the next general election used to be a Labour party member, it has emerged.
Helen Grant said she never denied her past association with Labour
Conservative party members selected businesswoman Helen Grant as their candidate to be the next MP for Maidstone and the Weald last week.
Mrs Grant said she was a member of the Reigate and Banstead branch of the Labour Party in Surrey from July 2004.
But she denied claims that she tried to stand as a Croydon councillor.
Mrs Grant joined the Tories after resigning from Labour in 2006.
She said: "I have never been a member of the Croydon Labour party. I was a member of the Reigate & Banstead branch from July 2004.
"I never attended any of their meetings, made no donations and did no canvassing or campaigning work for them at all.
"I have never denied my association with the Labour party and talked of it in newspaper interviews published in the summer of 2006."
She denied claims in the Mail on Sunday that she put herself forward as a Labour candidate in Croydon in 2004 for elections in 2006.
"I was approached by Croydon Labour party and I did consider transferring membership to them but I never received any response," Mrs Grant said.
Miss Widdecombe will stand down at the next general election
"In December 2004 they suggested that I should consider becoming a Croydon Councillor.
"I did consider this and formally declined to pursue their proposal in January 2005. No application was ever put forward to be a councillor.
"I was seduced by Labour for about five minutes but quickly realised what a complete shower they really were. The only party I have only ever voted for is the Conservatives."
Miss Widdecombe, 60, announced her decision to stand down from the Kent seat at the next general election after 20 years in the post last October.
The Maidstone and The Weald Conservative Association received 98 applications for the position, with 22 candidates selected for interview in December.
The final choice was made by an executive council composed of councillors and representatives from the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells wards in the constituency.