Eric Pickles said the turnout in the Totnes open primary had exceeded his “wildest expectations” after 23.9% of the electorate took part.
In a British political first, ballot papers were sent to every voter in the constituency inviting them to choose the Conservative parliamentary candidate.
Dr Sarah Wollaston won the ballot, with 7,914 votes, and will represent the Party at the next General Election.
Eric, the Party Chairman, said the open primary had been "a great success for democracy", and proved that “if you trust the people they embrace democracy".
He stressed, "I hope Totnes represents a new type of politics, which rejects negative campaigning, and sees openness as a way to restore confidence in public life. I hope over time that the primary process becomes a permanent fixture in British Politics."
Promoted by Alan Mabbutt on behalf of the Conservative Party, both at 30 Millbank,
London, SW1P 4DP