General election: Former media executive who lent Boris Johnson £9.5m townhouse picked to run for Tories in safe seat

Andrew Griffith selected to stand in Arundel and South Downs constituency, where Conservatives have majority of almost 24,000

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Tuesday 12 November 2019 11:50 GMT
Conservative minister Rishi Sunak refuses to say what would be the 'cost' of Boris Johnson's plans

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A former media executive who lent his Westminster mansion to Boris Johnson has been rewarded with a safe Conservative parliamentary seat.

Andrew Griffith, who is now the prime minister's chief business adviser, was selected as the Tories' candidate in Arundel and South Downs, replacing retiring MP Nick Herbert.

The seat is a Conservative stronghold and delivered a majority of almost 24,000 for the party in 2017.

Mr Griffith, a former Sky executive, lent his £9.5m Westminster townhouse to Mr Johnson during this summer's Tory leadership campaign.

He was later appointed as the new prime minister's business adviser and tasked with rebuilding relations with industry after Mr Johnson's infamous "f*** business" remark last year, when he was foreign secretary.

Mr Griffith was previously the chief finance director and chief operating officer at Sky, having joined the company from the Rothschild bank in 1999.

He ran as the Conservative candidate in Corby in the 2001 and 2005 general elections but lost to Labour on both occasions.

Before joining Mr Johnson's team, he also served as a non-executive director at takeaway food company Just Eat.

Mr Johnson planned his first few months in government from Mr Griffith's five-story, Grade II-listed house and appointed him as an adviser within days of entering No10.

Mr Griffith is all but certain to take over as the Arundel and South Downs MP on 12 December.

Mr Herbert announced last week that he was standing down after 14 years in the role.

He told his constituents: "I have decided not to stand again as the Parliamentary Candidate for Arundel and South Downs. This has been a difficult decision, but after nearly 15 years as MP for this wonderful constituency I feel that this is the right time to move on."

Mr Griffith is the third of Mr Johnson's advisers to be selected in a safe Tory seat. One of the prime minister's deputy chiefs of staff, James Wild, is the candidate in North West Norfolk and his political secretary, Danny Kruger, will contest Devizes.​

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