Political candidates to watch: Conservatives and Labour

A snapshot of candidates to watch in the run up to GE2015.

The 2010 General Election resulted in a major shake-up of the House of Commons, with just over one third of the MPs returned to Parliament for the first time. Whilst this year doesn’t look like it will result in such significant change there will a number of new faces. Here we look at some of the possible rising stars of the 2015 intake and what issues they may well throw their weight behind in the House.

Part one looks at the Conservative and Labour parties and part two will examine the Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party.

Conservative Logo

Ed Argar, Charnwood, Leicestershire

Ed has been selected to replace former Cabinet Minister and Chairman of the Health Select Committee, Stephen Dorrell MP, and inherits a healthy 15,000 majority in a seat which takes in the prosperous suburbs of Leicester and parts of rural Leicestershire. He has significant political experience, serving as a Councillor and Cabinet member in Westminster for nearly 10 years and working as an adviser to the Conservative’s foreign affairs team in opposition. In Parliament and at Westminster City Council, he gained a reputation as an intelligent and safe pair of hands. He has professional experience as a management consultant working on public service delivery issues.

Rishi Sunak, Richmond, North Yorkshire

Rishi was a surprise choice for the seat of Richmond but after being represented by the political star William Hague since 1989, who leaves a 23,000 majority, the local Conservative Association clearly wanted someone who they thought would make a big impact in Westminster as well as locally. Rishi has had a very successful business career after attending Oxford University and gaining an MBA from Stanford University. He works in finance helping to run a £1 billion global investment fund. He is already a well-known figure in Westminster, heading up the black and ethnic minority research unit of the think tank Policy Exchange. Rishi has also helped to set up a Free School focusing on science in the East End of London.

Lucy Frazer, South East Cambridgeshire

Already tipped as a future member of the Cabinet by Michael Gove, Lucy was selected to replace the former DEFRA Minister, Sir James Pace, who leaves a majority of nearly 6,000 over the second placed Liberal Democrats.  The seat takes in the cathedral city of Ely and surrounding rural villages.  The first of her family to go to university, Frazer is a Cambridge graduate and one of the few woman Presidents of the Cambridge Union. She has had a successful career as a commercial barrister specialising in major insolvency and restructuring cases. She became a QC in 2013 making her one of the youngest woman to take silk. The selection process for the seat was an open primary with candidates pitching themselves to local residents, not just association members.

Labour logo

Catherine West, Hornsey & Wood Green, London 

Former Islington council leader, Catherine West, is fighting to overturn Liberal Democrat Lynne Featherstone’s majority of nearly 7,000. Falling support for the Liberal Democrats was decisively demonstrated at last year’s Haringey council elections, where Labour swept the board and reduced Featherstone’s party to a rump of just 9 seats. A popular, hardworking candidate Catherine is well respected, in particular from her time as leader in the neighbouring borough where she set up the Islington Fairness Commission co-chaired by Spirit Level author, Richard Wilkinson. She is likely to continue with this focus in Hornsey & Wood Green, a constituency with similar challenges in terms of wealth and social inequality. Catherine was also the Chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee and speaks five languages having completed a Masters at SOAS in Chinese Studies.

Stephen Kinnock, Aberavon, Wales   

Famously married to the Danish prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and son of former Labour leader Neil and former Europe Minister Glenys, Stephen Kinnock is has been selected for the safe seat of Aberavon, which has a majority of 11,000. Less well reported is Kinnock’s strong understanding of the commercial sector, as Managing Director for Xynteo’s Global Leadership and Technology Exchange, a technology and business leadership consortium. The selection process in Aberavon was reportedly very tight, with Kinnock squeaking through. He has emphasised the importance of building a positive relationship with business for the Party – but expect him to continue to be vocal on responsible business practices.

Rebecca Long Bailey, Salford and Eccles, Greater Manchester 

Long Bailey is a Cheshire solicitor who won the selection following long-time Salford MP Hazel Blears’s decision to stand down after eighteen years. The expenses scandal cut Blears’s majority in 2010, but the seat is still safe with a near 6,000 majority, and the second placed Liberal Democrats are unlikely to make much headway this time round. Long Bailey has a particular interest and specialism in healthcare from her legal experience which is likely to be a continued focus in her parliamentary career. She is the daughter of a Salford dock worker, and works for Manchester law firm Hill Dickinson.

Read which MPs are the ones to watch on the campaign trail in The poster boys (and girls) of #GE2015.