A FORMER Financial Times journalist is on the shortlist to be a Conservative candidate in the General Election, according to reports by Politico.

Sebastian Payne put himself forward to be the Tory candidate for Selby and Ainsty in Yorkshire and has made the shortlist.

The journalist was previously the Whitehall editor at the Financial Times, where he also held the position of political leader writer and digital opinion editor since 2016.

Before he joined the Financial Times, he was a reporter and editor at The Spectator and The Daily Telegraph. In 2019, he was names as one of the most influential journalists by the Evening Standard.

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Current poll predictions for the seat held by outgoing MP Nigel Adams show Payne would likely enter the House of Commons if he wins the nomination.

Payne, from Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, is currently director of the right-wing think tank Onward, that “relies entirely on philanthropic donations” to fund their research.

The think tank claims to develop “bold and practical ideas for the next generation of centre right thinkers and leaders”.

It is understood that Payne has long held political ambitions – despite his previous denials to journalists who questioned him about running on under the Conservative banner.