Top 50 New MPs

Written by 21 May 2010 on 21 May 2010 in Interview
The new arrivals to the House of Commons have barely had time to organise an office let alone begin to make their mark on Parliament. Much is expected of them. This Parliament must prove it is more trustworthy and better value for money. The dreaded word expenses must not raise its ugly head again.

Currently untested and mainly unknown, the 232 new MPs have arrived at an unprecedented time in British politics. The three party system is over - at least for this Parliament - and it is unclear what that means in terms of how our politics operates. This new era will test all MP's characters but especially those who are greenest of all on the green benches. Total Politics already annually lists the best journalists and bloggers. Now after this election, we introduce our top 50 new MPs. We have looked at the candidates, and undertaken the difficult task of choosing the 50 new faces we think will make the biggest impact.

From now on, each year, we will track the careers and progress made by our top MPs. Not all political careers go to plan, with many ambitions and hopes thwarted by a number of factors including falling out of favour, personality clashes, misjudgements, incompetence and changing priorities. Our list will reflect the rise and fall in fortunes of the new generation.

Many on our list have long-planned to be in Parliament. They are not necessarily new faces to those in-the-know at Westminster. However, there are certainly some interesting characters - look at the very different but compelling CVs of Rory Stewart and Ian Lavery for examples of the variety of people still willing to serve as MPs.

Deciding who to include in our list and how to rank them involved much discussion in the Total Politics office. We expect the following MPs to make their mark in Parliament itself, even if they don't ever get to serve in government. One issue to point out, obviously the list is governed by those who got elected, hence the lower number of MPs from some parties. Another is that this does not represent a personal endorsement from us. It is simply the MPs we believe you will hear much more about in the coming years.

A quiet and considered demeanour disguises a formidable intellect. Bengali-born Ali has been named one of Britain's most powerful Muslim women. After Oxford, she worked for Oona King, at the Institute for Public Policy Research and at the Home Office and Foreign Office. Ali is currently associate director of Bethnal Green charity the Young Foundation, which works to remedy social problems.

49. Tracey Crouch - Conservative MP for Chatham and Aylesford
Tracey Crouch is the former head of public affairs at financial services group Aviva and a former employee of Westminster Strategy. She came into lobbying at "a controversial time" and has worked in Parliament for a number of MPs including Michael Howard, Damian Green and David Davis. A keen blogger, she is also a sports enthusiast and FA-qualified football coach.

48. Heidi Alexander - Labour MP for Lewisham East
Alexander entered politics because she wanted to "put her money where her mouth was" and change Lewisham. She began her political career as a researcher for MP Joan Ruddock before becoming deputy mayor of Lewisham and cabinet member for regeneration. She is a former chairwoman of development company Greater London Enterprise.

47. Kate Green OBE - Labour MP for Stretford and Urmston
Scottish-born Green describes herself as a "longstanding campaigner against poverty and inequality", reflected in a long history of work with charities and organisations. She was director of the National Council of One Parent Families (now Gingerbread) and chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group. She received an OBE in 2005 for her efforts.

46. Emma Reynolds - Labour MP for Wolverhampton North East
A multi-lingual, Oxford educated public affairs consultant, Reynolds has worked in Brussels, France, Spain, Argentina and Pakistan. She kicked off her political career working as a special adviser to Geoff Hoon and the late Robin Cook. Now representing her native Wolverhampton, Reynolds says she is going to use her knowledge of government to get the best for her constituents.

45. Dr Julian Huppert - Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge
Dr Huppert is a research scientist and academic fellow at Cambridge University, specialising in biological chemistry. Interested in green and human rights issues, he works alongside Shami Chakrabarti as a council member of Liberty and has worked for the OECD. He is a former Lib Dem leader on Cambridge County Council and has campaigned against the Digital Economy Act.

44. Damian Collins - Conservative MP for Folkestone and Hythe
Oxford University Conservative Association was Damian Collins' first taste of power. From there he went worked in the media and communications industry, eventually setting up his own political campaigning organisation. He has experience in the Conservative machine as a media offi cer for foreign affairs and agriculture shadow cabinets. Collins has been an active member of the Bow Group.

43. Shabana Mahmood - Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood
Oxford-educated barrister Mahmood was keen to voice her opposition to the war in Iraq and 42 days' detention. A Muslim and daughter of the chairman of Birmingham Labour Party, she aims to be as strong-minded as former Ladywood MP Clare Short. The area suffers very high unemployment and if she can prove an effective advocate, her stature will grow.

42. Penny Mordaunt - Conservative MP for Portsmouth North
Mordaunt was initially in communications and became knowledgeable about health policy with Diabetes UK. She was head of foreign press for George W Bush during his presidential campaign in 2000, and has worked for John Major, William Hague and David Willetts. She is a Royal Navy reservist who gained an interest in politics working in the hospitals and orphanages of Romania.

41. John Glen - Conservative MP for Salisbury
Another Oxford graduate, Glen spent eight months working for William Hague when he was Conservative Party leader. He later became director of the Conservative Research Department and was also appointed to the board of the Centre for Policy Studies by Lord Saatchi in 2009. Hague describes Glen as being "highly regarded at all levels in the party".

40. Simon Wright - Liberal Democrat MP for Norwich South
Described by Simon Hughes as a "Norfolk lad", Wright worked as an election agent for Norman Lamb who gave him the "inspiration" to become an MP. As a councillor, the former maths teacher was previously elected by Lib Dem councillors across the East of England to serve on the East of England Regional Assembly, Europe and International Affairs Panel.

39. Mary Macleod - Conservative MP for Brentford and Isleworth
Macleod has worked in a number of high profile advisory positions, including being a policy adviser to the Queen's private office, Liam Fox, Theresa May and David Willetts. The former chairwoman of the Conservative Candidates Association, she has been prominent in getting more female MPs in the Tory ranks. Macleod has a fierce work ethic, not surprising when you realise she's the daughter of the manse.

38. Liz Kendall - Labour MP for Leicester West
Kendall has been director of the Ambulance Service Network and has experience working in heath policy areas for the King's Fund and the IPPR. Her parliamentary experience involves working in the social security department way back in '97 before later working as a special adviser to Patricia Hewitt in the trade and industry and health departments. Kendall takes over Hewitt's seat.

37. Chi Onwurah - Labour MP for Newcastle Central
An engineer by profession, Chi's career has seen her working in America, France and Africa. Chi has an MBA, and her most recent position was head of telecoms technology at Ofcom. She's been on the national executive of the anti-apartheid movement and a Labour member for 30 years. Onwurah is Labour's first black female MP in the north of England.

36. Gavin Barwell - Conservative MP for Croydon Central
Gavin Barwell has experience of both local politics, as a councillor for the last 12 years, and national politics, as a special adviser to John Gummer, then environment secretary. He gained attention as the Conservative Party's director of operations, working with Lord Ashcroft's target seat scheme, and being a significant contributor to the Conservatives' general election plan.

35. Andrew Griffiths - Conservative MP for Burton and Uttoxeter
Griffiths has experience in politics at both a European and national level. He has a "passion" for farming and was the Conservative Party's adviser on farming matters in Brussels. He has also worked as chief of staff to Theresa May, Hugo Swire and Eric Pickles on policy areas ranging from environment to community cohesion.

34. Luciana Berger - Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree
Berger is a management consultant from London, working in the government strategy unit for Accenture. She's been director of Labour Friends of Israel, and once resigned from the NUS executive because of anti-semitism. She is friends with Tony Blair's son, Euan. Berger recovered from a controversial selection and criticism for not knowing who Bill Shankly was.

33. Bridget Phillipson - Labour MP for Houghton and Sunderland South
Elected at the tender age of 26, Phillipson joined the Labour Party when she was 15 and went on to chair the Labour club during her time at Oxford. She sat on Labour's national policy forum and was selected from an all-women shortlist, beating off tough competition from former MP Barbara Roche. She currently manages a women's refuge for those fleeing domestic violence.

32. Conor Burns - Conservative MP for Bournemouth West
In the 2005 general election, Conor Burns lost Eastleigh by a mere 568 votes to Lib Dem heavyweight Chris Huhne. He has a long history of involvement in local politics - having served on the city council as urban regeneration spokesman. A friend of Baroness Thatcher, Burns is viewed by the right of the party as a good addition to the benches.

31. Cathy Jamieson - Labour MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun
Former art therapist and social worker Jamieson first moved into politics when she became principal officer of advocacy organisation Who Cares? Scotland. She was elected to Scottish Parliament in 1999. She's served as education minister, justice minister and Labour's deputy leader in the Scottish Parliament and no longer supports a referendum on Scottish independence.

30. George Eustice - Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth
Eustice has worked for some key Conservative players, serving as press secretary to both Michael Howard and David Cameron, before co-ordinating external relations at CCHQ. Staunchly Eurosceptic, he directed the anti-euro ‘no campaign' and contested the South West region for UKIP in 1999. After leaving Cameron's team in 2007, he worked for Portland PR.

29. Dr Eilidh Whiteford - Scottish National Party MP for Banff and Buchan
Replacing Alex Salmond as MP for this seat, Whiteford is the sole female SNP MP in Westminster. She is the former Scottish campaign head for both Oxfam and Make Poverty History and has also worked for the Scottish Carers' Alliance. She grew up in the area and has said she will focus heavily on local issues.

28. Lilian Greenwood - Labour MP for Nottingham South
Greenwood has a strong trade unionist background with 17 years spent as a regional officer for Unison. She has also backed a petition by Compass for the government to set up a high pay commission to deal with "excessive" wages. However, she is unlikely to become a member of the awkward squad, stating that being a "serial rebel" won't get the best deal for her constituents.

27. Jo Johnson - Conservative MP for Orpington
Brother of Boris, Johnson is the former editor of the FT's LEX column. Prompted to enter Parliament by what he calls "Labour's epic mismanagement of the economy", Johnson has a keen interest in the financial services industry. Jo was the FT's South Asia bureau chief and has briefed leading companies about the globalisation ofthe Indian economy.

26. Rachel Reeves - Labour MP for Leeds West
An economic specialist with Oxford, LSE and the Bank of England on her CV, Reeves most recently worked as an analyst at HBOS in Leeds. She authored the Why Vote Labour? book and contested Bromley and Chislehurst in 2005 and 2006. Her economic background will make Reeves a key asset. Her politics also runs in the family - her sister Ellie serves on the party's National Executive Committee.

25. Yasmin Qureshi - Labour MP for Bolton South East
Qureshi is a barrister in criminal law and worked for the UN mission in Kosovo, later becoming director of Kosovo's department for judicial administration. Her political experience includes working as Ken Livingstone's human rights adviser. She once referred to David Cameron as "a man whose knowledge of the economy could fit on the back of a packet of fags".

24. Charlotte Leslie - Conservative MP for Bristol North West
Charlotte Leslie is an education specialist, who has worked for several major right-leaning think tanks including Policy Exchange and the Centre for Social Justice. She has also worked for the BBC and is a former editor of the Bow Group magazine Crossbow, where she combines her journalistic skills with her expertise in education policy.

23. Gloria De Piero - Labour MP for Ashfield
Best known as the political correspondent of GMTV, De Piero will now be filmed on the other side of the lens. She studied at Birmingham City University before working as a researcher on a number of political programmes. A long-time Labour supporter, De Piero is the only MP who has reached FHM magazine's 100 sexiest women. She pledged to hold a crime summit within 50 days of being elected.

22. Stella Creasy - Labour MP for Walthamstow
Creasy has a prize-winning PhD in psychology from the LSE. She is very locally focused, serving as mayor and chief whip on Walthamstow Forest Council and has experience as a speechwriter and researcher for MPs Charles Clarke, Ross Cranston and Douglas Alexander. Her most recent job was as head of public affairs and campaigns at the Scout Association.

21. Robert Halfon - Conservative MP for Harlow
Experienced in public affairs and campaigning work, Robert Halfon has built a career as a consultant and occasional journalist. He sits on the advisory board for think tank the Centre for Social Justice and has written extensively on issues around compassionate Conservatism. He has also served as chief of staff to Oliver Letwin. Elected on his third attempt in this seat, Halfon will be an energetic addition to the House.

20. Anas Sarwar - Labour MP for Glasgow Central
Sarwar, a dentist, has been a keen Labour member since joining the party at 16. He replaces his retiring father as MP for this seat. Sarwar set up the Scottish Muslim network and was The Sun's Best New Scottish Politician in 2009. He has successfully created his own political profile clear of his father and presents himself as a moderniser.

19. Margot James - Conservative MP for Stourbridge
James has sat on many local healthcare boards in Stourbridge, worked for the Prince's Trust and Young Enterprise before being appointed vice chairman for women's issues in the Conservative Party and forming the Women's Policy Group. She is a self-made millionaire and was Head of European healthcare for Ogilvy and Mather.

18. Gordon Birtwistle - Liberal Democrat MP for Burnley
Birtwistle's victory in Burnley provided rare good news for the Lib Dems on election night. The former leader of the local authority in the Lancashire town was feted for fighting back against a growing BNP presence on the council. Once in Parliament, Birtwistle extended a conciliatory arm towards the Conservatives, telling his party to "bury the hatchet". Strong local government experience should see Birtwistle prosper.

17. Margaret Curran - Labour MP for Glasgow East
Curran has been the MSP for Glasgow Baillieston since 1999. She was re-elected twice and has held a number of ministerial positions in the Scottish Parliament including communities and social justice briefs. Defeated by the SNP's John Mason in this seat in the 2008 by-election, Curran was a community worker for over 15 years and a university lecturer.

16. Esther McVey - Conservative MP for Wirral West
Fighting the seat for the second time, McVey won Wirral West by 2,436 votes. Liverpool-born, she has worked a presenter and producer on a range of programmes, including the Channel 4 legal series Nothing But the Truth with Ann Widdecombe. She also helped Kate McCann set up the Madeleine McCann Fund, of which she was a board member for several months.

15. Tristram Hunt - Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central
Good-looking, intelligent, television historian and author of best-selling books, Hunt should be able to reach out to people normally turned off by politics. However, accusations of Labour HQ imposing their chosen one means Hunt has some goodwill to make up. He does have powerful supporters though. James Purnell told Total Politics he will be a "fantastic representative" for Stoke.

14. Ian Lavery - Labour MP for Wansbeck
Former miner Lavery has been president of the National Union of Mineworkers since 2002. He was on the frontline of the miners' strike in 1984-1985 and infamously said he had "absolutely no respect for the police". A man steeped in old Labour values (pre-New Labour), Lavery will be a traditional socialist presence on the benches.

13. Zac Goldsmith - Conservative MP for Richmond Park
His wealth and family background is well-known. His strong streak of independence may mean he'll be a nightmare for the whips although he has worked within the party on their Quality of Life policy group. Promising a by-election if the Tories renege on their Heathrow third runway opposition, Goldsmith has also said he would support a referendum on the EU.

12. Stephen Barclay - Conservative MP for North East Cambridgeshire
Stephen Barclay worked in financial crime prevention following stints in the army, at Cambridge and at law school. He was also organiser of the Carlton Political Dinner, an important fundraising source for the Conservatives. His solid financial career background, away from politics - apart from time advising Liam Fox - means he is highly regarded within the party. He counts skydiving among his hobbies.

11. Michael Dugher - Labour MP for Barnsley East
A self-described "Donny lad from a totally working class background", Dugher is the former chief political spokesman for Gordon Brown. He was national chairman of Labour Students in 1997 and has been a special adviser in several government departments. Prior to this, he joined the trade union movement becoming head of policy for the AEEU Engineering Union (now Unite).

10. Caroline Lucas - Green MP for Brighton Pavilion
The Greens finally have representation in Parliament. Now the hard work begins but Lucas is well equipped to make an impact. As the first leader of the party, she has proved a media-friendly and composed head while pushing for green issues. Lucas has been involved with the party for over 20 years, and has 10 years of experience as an MEP.

9. Jesse Norman - Conservative MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire
The author of Compassionate Conservatism, Norman is viewed as one of the founding fathers of Cameron Conservatism. He holds some distinctive views including wholehearted support for the Human Rights Act. An Old Etonian, Norman is a former adviser to both George Osborne and Boris Johnson and was a senior fellow at Policy Exchange.

8. Priti Patel - Conservative MP for Witham
The daughter of a sweet shop owner, Patel became deputy press secretary for William Hague in 1998 after a period working in the Conservative Research Department. Patel most recently worked as a corporate communications consultant. She represents the more modern face of Conservatism but still retains a traditional outlook .

7. John Woodcock - Labour MP for Barrow and Furness
A former journalist, Woodcock is close to top Labour figures, having been a special adviser to John Hutton who he replaces in this seat. He then moved to Downing Street and loyally worked in the press and strategic operations for Gordon Brown. His hero is Neil Kinnock for "bringing the Labour Party back from the brink of unelectibility".

6. Matthew Hancock` - Conservative MP for West Suffolk
Hancock began working for George Osborne as an economic adviser in 2005 after a background at Oxbridge and the Bank of England. He had as much influence as anyone on the decisions made by the shadow Treasury team in that time. Barring disaster, he will soon be added to the ministerial ranks of this government - Hancock was still advising the Osborne team part-time while campaigning.

5. Jack Dromey - Labour MP for Birmingham Erdington
Also known as Mr Harriet Harman, Dromey had been looking for a seat for some time, and found it when Sion Simon stepped down. Deputy general secretary of Unite, sitting on Labour's national executive committee and party treasurer since 2004, Dromey will be an important union voice on the Labour benches. He is likely to push for the party to remain close to the unions.

4. Louise Bagshawe - Conservative MP for Corby and East Northants
Bagshawe is known primarily to the public as the author of hugely successful ‘chick-lit' novels. She told TP that she plans to continue writing while serving in the Commons. Despite previously being a Labour Party member, Bagshawe has been an uber-reliable Cameron loyalist. This quality, combined with her natural self-confi dence, should see her become a key fi gure of the new generation of ‘Cameroons' in the Commons.


3. Rory Stewart - Conservative MP for Penrith and the Border
With the most eye-catching CV in the House, Stewart has no background as a party apparatchik. A former governor of an Iraqi province and once Britain's man in Montenegro, Stewart walked across Afghanistan by himself in the winter of 2001. He later briefly tutored Princes William and Harry and then became a professor of human rights at Harvard University. A large test of Cameron's leadership will be how happily he can accommodate such free-thinking and independent characters in his party. A test for the modern Parliament is whether it will allow distinctive figures such as Stewart to bring their experience of the outside world to enrich the House. And can Stewart be satisfi ed with the unique lifestyle of being a 24-hour on-call MP? The House of Commons may seem more a more claustrophobic place of work than Stewart's previous posts. For those reasons, tracking Stewart's career will be fascinating.

2. Chuka Umunna - Labour MP for Streatham
This 31-year-old employment lawyer is a Unite trade union member and sits on the management board of left-wing pressure group Compass. However, Umunna is also a smooth-dresser and talker, representing the presentable face for Labour's future. The first locally-born MP for Streatham, his clear ability to communicate should see him shine on a national stage. This is not a politician who will spend much time in backbench obscurity. Umunna's father was from Anambra in Nigeria and his mother is Irish. Chuka has been involved with social enterprise and charitable youth work in London and is a leading member of a new generation of Labour MPs that must decide the direction and policies of the party. There is a reason he is being spoken about as future leadership material. Umunna is showing signs of having that indefinable X factor and will be a great addition to the fresh faces needed to recover from a previous tainted Parliament.

1. Nicholas Boles - Conservative MP for Grantham and Stamford
Boles is a key member of the ‘Notting Hill Set'. He is the founder and former director of Policy Exchange and ran the implementation unit with Francis Maude, drawing up the Tories' plans for government. This made him more powerful than most members of the shadow cabinet. Elected as a Westminster councillor in 1998, his political career looked like it might take a different turn when he was the early Conservative candidate for the 2008 mayoral election. Unfortunately cancer meant he had to withdraw. Thankfully recovering quickly, Boles is a key moderniser in the Conservative ranks. He used to be a paint brush and roller manufacturer alongside the required glittering academic record, and is a former flatmate of Michael Gove. The reason Boles has been voted number one in the Total Politics top 50 is that he is a very senior Cameroon and his career will in many ways mirror the fortunes of this Conservative-Lib Dem government. In a years' time, we will be able to judge how Boles and his government got on.

Tags: General Election 2010, Issue 24, New MPs

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