A look at five new faces on the Labour benches.
- Keir Starmer, Holborn and St Pancras
New MP for the ultra-safe Labour seat of Holborn and St Pancras, Sir Keir Starmer is already being touted as a potential leadership candidate despite his lack of parliamentary experience. His five year stint as Director of Public Prosecutions gives him a very high profile across the Chamber and the parliamentary party will undoubtedly be thinking about ways to utilise his considerable expertise. One to watch for quick promotion into the shadow cabinet, now he appears to have dashed the hopes of the #keirforleader campaign by ruling out his candidacy.
- Rupa Huq, Ealing Central and Acton
A slim majority of 274 got Rupa Huq into Parliament for Ealing Central and Acton. As seat number 54 on Labour’s target list for the Election, the Young Fabians rightly profiled her as one to watch before polling day and also predicted that ‘if Rupa wins, Labour will pass the tipping point and Ed Miliband will be in Number 10’. Events as we know didn’t quite work out that way, but Huq was already pointing out in that interview that ‘[Ealing] is a difficult seat to keep, so if I do win here there will be a lot of constituency work to do’. A local girl and Cambridge-educated sociologist, Huq’s research has mainly been in youth and pop culture.
- Wes Streeting, Ilford North
Ex-NUS president Streeting fought a tough campaign to overturn Lee Scott’s majority of well over 5,000 in Ilford North. His slim victory – by just 589 votes – means that, like Rupa Huq, he’ll need to keep that firm focus on the constituency over the coming term. He was Deputy Leader of Redbridge Council since 2011, and is already tipped as a future shadow cabinet minister. One of Labour’s high points in an otherwise difficult election night.
- Margaret Greenwood, Wirral
Taking Wirral West, 49th on Labour’s target seat list, from Employment Minister Esther McVey by just 417 votes, Margaret Greenwood’s election was another of Labour’s few highlights. Greenwood has had a career outside politics as a web consultant and has also been a teacher in FE colleges and adult education centres in and around Liverpool. Expect health and the environment to be on her agenda, as she was a founder member of local campaign group ‘Defend our NHS’ and has campaigned actively on local environmental issues.
- Neil Coyle, Bermondsey and Old Southwark
Labour had been hoping it would be able to take the scalp of one of the Lib Dems most high profile personalities, Simon Hughes, who had been MP in Bermondsey and Old Southwark for a whopping 32 years – but thought it would be down to the wire. In fact, local councillor and community activist Neil Coyle took the seat with a majority of nearly 5,000 and a swing of just under 14% as the Lib Dem vote collapsed and moved over to Labour. Expect Coyle to be active in Parliament on disability rights given his former career in disability policy for a number of charities.