House of Commons is found to have hundreds of MPs like Esther McVey

Written by David Singleton on 29 August 2017 in Diary
Diary

The Tories are most guilty of parachuting candidates in constituencies they never lived or worked in.

In the New Labour years, Tony Blair ruffled many feathers by parachuting favoured candidates into safe seats miles away from anywhere they ever lived.

Most notably, the Bristol-born former Tory MP for Witney Shaun Woodward was handed the ultra-safe Labour seat of St Helens South in Merseyside.

As the celebrated Labour MP-turned-diarist Chris Mullin wrote in 2001: "Most resentment, not to say anger, is reserved for Shaun Woodward… in St Helens. Hearing him on the radio this morning promising to be a champion of the poor and downtrodden made my flesh creep.

"This is one of New Labour’s vilest stitch-ups."

But the practice known as ‘carpetbagging’ has not been limited to Labour. More recently, Theresa May tried to keep it going by giving party bosses the green light to put four Number 10 aides on shortlists for seats with vast Tory majorities. 

In the 2017 general election, the Tories also parachuted Liverpool-born former Wirral West MP Esther McVey into Tatton. The affluent seat previously held by George Osborne and Neil Hamilton is some 46 miles from her old constituency.

Now a new study has found that there are many more McVeys and Woodwards in the House of Commons.

The research by Demos found that only about half of all MPs had either been born, educated or lived within 12.5 miles of the constituencies they now represented in the past five years.

The Tories are the worst offenders with less than a third of all current Conservative MPs having had any previous connection to the constituencies they were elected to serve in.

Labour fares better these days with 64 per cent of MPs having had ties to the areas they now serve.

It follows anger in some local Tory associations about the role Tory HQ played in selecting candidates in the run-up to the 2017 general election, when Conservative campaign headquarters shortlisted candidates for local Tories to choose from - and often failed to put a local candidate on the shortlist.

 

 

 

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