Ones to watch: The most promising new MPs of 2019

18 December 2019

11:11 PM

18 December 2019

11:11 PM

Last week’s election saw 140 new MPs joining the House of Commons, along with 15 former parliamentarians who have managed to regain a place. 2019 has seen a record number of women entering parliament as well as the most ethnically diverse set of MPs yet elected. Many of the new intake have impressive CVs and some could well find themselves on the front benches of their respective parties before too long. Here is our list of the most promising new MPs from each of the major parties:

Claire Coutinho – East Surrey
Con HOLD – 24,040 majority

Coutinho previously worked at Number 10 as an advisor

Coutinho won the candidacy for the Conservative safe seat of East Surrey when the sitting MP Sam Gyimah defected to the Lib Dems. After quitting KPMG she became an advisor at Number 10 so that she could, in her words, get Brexit done ‘from the inside’. Coutinho is the daughter of Indian doctors who moved to the UK in the 1970s. The 34-year-old originally studied maths and philosophy at Oxford before joining the emerging markets equity team at Merill Lynch where she spent nearly four years. She has worked in several policy-based jobs including a two-year stint at Iain Duncan-Smith’s think tank the Centre for Social Justice.

Andrew Griffith – Arundel & South Down
Con HOLD – 22,521 majority 

Former Sky executive and Boris Johnson ally Andrew Griffith

Former Sky executive Andrew Griffith was hired by the PM as his chief business adviser after Johnson won the leadership back in July. Griffith, who is not to be confused with the former Tory MP Andrew Griffiths, spent 25 years with the broadcaster before he was brought in to heal Boris’ relationship with the City following his ‘fuck business’ comments. Griffith lent Boris his £9.5 million Westminster townhouse during the Tory leadership campaign earlier this year. He has previously worked as a banker at Rothschild and for the food delivery firm Just Eat.

Dehenna Davison – Bishop Auckland 
Con GAIN – 7,962 majority 

Davison, 26, is one of the young new Tory MPs that managed to smash Labour’s so-called ‘red wall’

Davison is one of the youngest of the new Tory intake at just 26 and was responsible for winning the target seat of Bishop Auckland. This is not even her first election campaign. The young Brexiteer fought for Tony Blair’s old seat of Sedgefield in 2017, which also fell to the Conservatives this year. She previously worked for the tax advice firm Lumo and became interested in politics after her father was killed when she was just 13. Davison appeared on the Channel 4 reality TV show Bride & Prejudice before she married the then 59-year-old Hull councillor John Fareham.

Siobhan Baillie – Stroud
Con GAIN – 3,840 majority

Baillie left school at 17 but managed to qualify as a solicitor after studying in her evenings

Baillie won the marginal swing seat of Stroud, a constituency that has intermittently changed hands between left-wing vegetarian David Drew and Tory wet (later Change UK, then Lib Dem defector) Neil Carmichael since 2001. The newly-elected MP left home at 15 before quitting school at 17 to become a legal clerk. Baillie studied law at night school so that she could qualify as a family law solicitor without having to attend university. While as a councillor in Camden, she campaigned for full legal rights for couples who are cohabiting as well as policies to improve child mental health.

Richard Holden – Durham North West
Con GAIN – 1,144 majority

Holden, right, alongside Boris Johnson during his leadership campaign earlier this year

Holden beat the incumbent Labour shadow minister Laura Pidcock, widely tipped as a potential leadership candidate after Corbyn. Durham North West has been Labour ever since the constituency’s creation in 1950. The former Chris Grayling aide has worked his way up through Conservative HQ ranks, supporting Theresa May’s leadership campaign in 2016 before joining Gavin Williamson’s team at the Department for Education earlier this year. Holden was tipped as a potential political secretary to Boris Johnson after helping to mastermind his leadership campaign but was instead selected to run for a seat that few thought he would be able to win.

Danny Kruger – Devizes
Con HOLD – 23,993 majority

Kruger, centre right, alongside his mother Prue Leith outside Windsor Castle after the TV chef received a CBE in 2010

The son of TV chef Prue Leith, Kruger is another former aide to Boris Johnson and a one-time speechwriter to David Cameron. The 44-year-old replaced Claire Perry in the Tory safe seat of Devises after becoming the PM’s political secretary in July, a job he held for just four months prior to the election. Kruger worked as a Telegraph journalist before going on to write Cameron’s infamous ‘hug a hoodie’ speech as well as developing the ‘Big Society’ policy. The former advisor has also set up a number of social enterprises with his wife, including one that helps prisoners rehabilitate into society and another that supports vulnerable children. He received an MBE in 2017 for his work.

Natalie Elphicke – Dover
Con HOLD – 12,278 majority

Elphicke took over the seat of Dover from her husband Charlie and is an expert in housing and finance

Elphicke replaced her husband Charlie as the Conservative candidate for Dover after allegations of sexual misconduct were made against him. She was previously the chief exec of the Housing and Finance Institute, a housing think tank and industry group. Having started her professional life as a barrister, Elphicke moved into the worlds of finance and housing and has been an advisor to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. In 2015 she produced the Elphicke-House Report, an influential policy document arguing for reform to local authorities and the way they build new homes. Given the Conservatives’ majority is large enough to expect ten years of stable Tory rule, housing will surely be towards the top of the domestic agenda.

Saqib Bhatti – Meriden
Con HOLD – 22,836 majority

Bhatti successfully challenged former Theresa May advisor Nick Timothy in the race to replace Caroline Spelman in the Tory safe seat

Bhatti managed to beat former May-era supremo Nick Timothy to bag the selection for Meriden, a Conservative stronghold in the West Midlands vacated by Caroline Spelman. The newly-elected MP is a former president of the Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, which represents 3,000 businesses around the Midlands, as well as having been a member of the national board of Vote Leave. He has said in the past: ‘The biggest influence on me is my father who moved to the UK in the 1960s in pursuit of the “Great British Dream”, he taught me the values of hard work, integrity and determination which have driven my life so far.’

Anthony Browne – South Cambridgeshire
Con HOLD – 2,904

Browne worked for Boris Johnson during his time as Mayor of London

Browne is yet another former Boris Johnson aide, having worked for the PM at The Spectator and also when he was the Mayor of London. As a result, he enjoyed Johnson’s personal backing during the local constituency selection process. A former journalist, Browne has also been the director of the think tank Policy Exchange as well as the chief executive of the British Bankers’ Association.

Ian Levy – Blyth Valley
Con GAIN – 712 majority

Levy thanked Boris Johnson personally after he won the former Labour stronghold of Blyth Valley

Blyth Valley was the first shock Tory win after the exit poll was released. A former mining community, Blyth was one of those Brexit supporting north-eastern constituencies that seemed like traditional Labour territory but that Tory strategists had firmly in their sights. Ian Levy is a former NHS mental health worker who has lived in the constituency all his life and claims to be able to trace his ancestry in the area back 500 years. In 2017 he achieved the highest ever vote share in the constituency for a Conservative, doubling the Tory vote to 16,000, a fact that supports the theory that Theresa May laid a lot of the groundwork for Boris’s landslide victory.


James Murray – Ealing North
Lab HOLD – 12,269

Murray was the preferred Corbyn candidate and was, until recently, the deputy mayor of housing in London

Murray is a rare thing – an experienced political operator and a Corbynite. He was previously London’s deputy mayor for housing under Sadiq Khan. He worked on Jeremy Corbyn’s election campaign as well as with shadow cabinet member and potential leadership candidate Emily Thornberry. His career has been marked by a commitment to boosting the amount of affordable and social housing. The Oxford PPE graduate has said in the past that his priorities are renters’ rights and rent controls.

Fleur Anderson – Putney
Lab GAIN – 4,774 majority

Anderson managed to achieve the only Labour win of the 2019 general election campaign

Putney was the only Labour gain of the entire general election campaign. Anderson herself was elected as a local councillor in 2014 and has lived in Wandsworth for the last 25 years. She has worked for various charities including Christain Aid, the Catholic International Development Charity and Water Aid. Anderson travelled to Bosnia in her twenties to help rebuild villages that had been damaged during the region’s civil war and has also worked with the UN during her time as a campaigner.

Florence Eshalomi – Vauxhall
Lab HOLD – 19,612

Eshalomi, second from right, successfully challenged the Corbynite candidate to win the candidacy for the London constituency of Vauxhall

Eshalomi replaced Kate Hoey in the Labour stronghold of Vauxhall, beating the prefered LOTO candidate and former Corbyn political secretary Katy Clark. The 39-year-old was the London Assembly member for Lambeth and Southwark and is also a former councillor for Brixton Hill in south London. She has previously served on the strategy board of Progress, the Labour moderate grouping within the party. As an Assembly member, Flo has focused on gang crime and the closure of a local police station.

Liberal Democrats

Wendy Chamberlain – Fife North East
Lib Dem GAIN – 1,316 majority

Chamberlain is a former police officer and has criticised the Lib Dem’s 2019 election strategy

Chamberlain managed to overturn the smallest majority from the 2017 general election – just two votes for the SNP’s Stephen Gethins. A former police officer, Chamberlain has worked for the Scottish Police College as well as the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland. Her recent intervention, in which she said the party’s revoke policy had failed at the general election, may hint at a softening of the Lib Dem’s Brexit position.

Scottish National Party

Kenny MacAskill – East Lothian
SNP GAIN 3,886

MacAskill, right, came to prominence in the left-wing 79 Group that was initially expelled from the SNP

While a newcomer to Westminster, MacAskill is certainly no newcomer to politics. MacAskill is a former cabinet secretary for justice in the Scottish parliament and both a qualified solicitor and a stanch left-winger. He grew to prominence in the SNP as an activist in the 79 Group (named after the year of its founding), a radical leftist organisation within the party that was initially expelled for overt criticism of the leadership but eventually went on to take over many of key positions in the party (Alex Salmond was a leading agitator within the group). MacAskill is well versed in Scotland’s socialist history and recently published Glasgow 1919: The Rise of Red Clydeside. Expect some fiery interventions from the opposition benches.

Richard Thomson – Gordon
SNP GAIN – 819 majority

Thomson is a former journalist and parliamentary assistant to Alex Salmond

Thomson managed to wrestle the seat of Gordon from the Scottish Conservatives following their surprise success at the last election. A former leader of the SNP group in Aberdeenshire Council, Thomson also worked in finance at Scottish Widows as well as a parliamentary to Alex Salmond. He previously worked as a journalist at local Scottish titles the Ellon Times and Inverurie Herald and studied history and politics at the University of Stirling.

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