Christine Emmett, a businesswoman from Morcott, in Rutland, was selected last night as Tory candidate in the impending by-election in Corby.
The Northamptonshire seat became vacant when the former chick-lit novelist Louise Mensch quit for family reasons.
Mrs Emmett, who was born and educated in Liverpool, runs a small holiday homes business with her husband. Previously she was a buyer at Marks & Spencer, and had also been in charge of £450m worth of procurement for the Channel Tunnel project.
She will have a hard fight to hold the seat, which was held by Labour for 13 years before it was narrowly won by Ms Mensch, then known as Louise Bagshawe.Opinion polls place Labour's Andy Sawford, son of the former MP for Kettering, as the favourite to win. The election is expected to be held in November.
"Christine has real experience of the working world," Baroness Warsi, co-chairman of the Conservative Party, said last night. "She will be a leader for the local community."