WYCOMBE's Conservative MP candidate for the next general election was this evening announced as former Walter's Ash resident Steven Baker.

The former RAF man will be widely tipped to take the seat, which has only fallen out of Tory hands for seven years in the last century.

The 38-year-old was given a 30-minute grilling along with five other hopefuls this afternoon, before having to wait through five rounds of voting before he was announced the winner.

He told the Bucks Free Press at Lane End Conference Centre: “It's an absolute delight and honour to be selected for Wycombe and to follow in the footsteps of Paul Goodman.”

Current MP Paul Goodman is stepping down at the next election, which has to be called by June next year, over his disillusionment with Parliament.

Asked about the expenses scandal Mr Baker said: “Right now we've got men and women in Afghanistan doing exactly what it takes and we could do with a bit more of that in Parliament.”

In a statement he said he was determined to tackle issues such as the withdrawal of services at Wycombe Hospital and to support schools and teachers.

Each candidate on the first ever 50/50 gender shortlist gave a five-minute speech to 91 members of Wycombe Conservatives who then asked moderated and open questions.

Mr Baker said: “There were some difficult ones because people care very much about their candidate and get to ask whatever they want.”

“Some people were very animated and wanted to know how much time I'll be living in the constituency - I will be moving here and will not take a second home.”

Mr Baker was brought up in Cornwall and went to a comprehensive school before going to Southampton University and joining the RAF as an engineer.

He met his wife Beth, an RAF doctor, when stationed in North Yorkshire and they later lived in Walter's Ash.

He left the RAF in 1999 and became an aerospace and software engineer. He is a director of the Cobden Centre, a think tank for bank reform, and an associate consultant to the Centre for Social Justice.

He now lives in Brize Norton, Oxfordshire A spokesman for Wycombe Conservatives said it was particularly impressed by his “balanced views, personal drive and tenacity to get the right things done.”

Asked whether he had ministerial ambitions Mr Baker said: “One step at a time - I am relatively new to politics and my priority now is to be a good constituency MP and bridge the gap between people and power.”

He said of the half men half women shortlist: “I sympathise with the complaints that there are not enough women in Parliament. All the other candidates were excellent and I congratulate them too.

He said it was his first time on a selection shortlist and felt that his connection to the local area had helped his candidacy.

The other candidates were: Margaret Doyle from London, Fiona Kemp from Cornwall, Kwasi Kwarteng from London, Katy Lindsay from London and Jeremy Quin, who lives near Aylesbury.