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2 At ICG (Insight Consulting Group) we continue to shine a light on the people and personalities that will colour the new Parliament elected on 7 May This definitive Parliamentary Candidates to Watch Guide profiles the 50 prospective new Members of the House of Commons that possess the drive and ambition to have a defining impact on the 2015 Parliament. Our previous guide - published in June focused on the next generation : 37 candidates at that point selected in constituencies held by their parties. This was particularly well-received for its analysis of the breakdown between genders as well as black, Asian or ethnic minority candidates across parties. The polls indicate much has developed since then, not least the continued rise of UKIP and the post-referendum SNP surge. This edition aims to reflect the changing nature of the UK political landscape, pinpointing the people at the forefront of this year s multi-party race. 1 Following the General Election, ICG will be publishing a comprehensive guide profiling all newly-elected MPs. To pre-order your copy, please contact Richard Kelly on or via using APRIL 2015

3 PROFILES CONSERVATIVE PPCS Edward Argar (Charnwood) Victoria Atkins (Louth and Horncastle) James Cleverly (Braintree) Oliver Dowden (Hertsmere) Dr Luke Evans (Birmingham, Edgbaston) Suella Fernandes (Fareham) Nusrat Ghani (Wealden) Nigel Huddleston (Mid Worcestershire) Ranil Jayawardena (North East Hampshire) Boris Johnson (Uxbridge and South Ruislip) Julian Knight (Solihull) Alan Mak (Havant) Kit Malthouse (North West Hampshire) Chris Philp (Croydon South) Rishi Sunak (Richmond, Yorkshire) Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed) Tom Tugendhat (Tonbridge and Malling) Matt Warman (Boston and Skegness) Helen Whately (Faversham and Mid Kent) LABOUR PPCs Catherine Atkinson (Erewash) Jo Cox (Batley and Spen) Rowenna Davis (Southampton Itchen) Helen Hayes (Dulwich and West Norwood) Stephen Kinnock (Aberavon) Rachael Maskell (York Central) Conor McGinn (St Helens) Kate Osamor (Edmonton) Sarah Owen (Hastings and Rye) Matt Pennycook (Greenwich and Woolwich) Lee Sherriff (Carlisle) Tulip Siddiq (Hampstead and Kilburn) Ruth Smeeth (Stoke-on-Trent North) Sir Keir Starmer QC (Holborn and St Pancras) Jo Stevens (Cardiff Central) Will Straw (Rosendale and Darwen) Anna Turley (Redcar) Catherine West (Hornsey and Wood Green) LIBERAL DEMOCRAT PPCs Steve Bradley (Bath) David Rendel (Somerton and Frome) Lisa Smart (Hazel Grove) UK INDEPENDENCE PARTY PPCs Tim Aker MEP (Thurrock) Victoria Ayling (Great Grimsby) Nigel Farage MEP (South Thanet) SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY PPCs Joanna Cherry QC (Edinburgh South West) Patrick Grady (Glasgow North) Neil Hay (Edinburgh South) Natalie McGarry (Glasgow East) Alex Salmond MSP (Gordon) PLAID CYMRU PPCs Liz Saville-Roberts (Dwyfor Meirionnydd) GREEN PPCs Darren Hall (Bristol West) Edited by Richard Kelly & Lewis van Diggele 2

4 The May 2015 General Election will see votes fragmented Edward Argar away from the major political parties, as the once regional and single issue parties are now the insurgents. In this booklet, we have identified the ones to watch in the new Parliament; the rising stars that have a strong chance of winning their seats and becoming the next generation s leading political figures. In light of the relative uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the Election, the 50 candidates profiled recognise the immediate and crucial impact many will have in either lending their votes to a minority government s legislative agenda, or propping up a formal coalition. There are big beasts such as Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Alex Salmond whose reputations precede them. There are others, such as Plaid Cymru s Liz Saville-Roberts, whose election to the Commons would represent genuine progress as the party s first female MP. 89 MPs are stepping down, and once seats change hands, we could see new MPs forming around a quarter of the new House of Commons. In the past the party apparatchiks and high-fliers would be parachuted into these seats. But it isn t the special advisers, party organisers and campaigners who will dominate the 2015 cohort. Many of the safe-seat candidates that we have chosen to profile have diverse backgrounds and professional experiences. There will be a record number of women MPs. The Labour Party s all-women shortlists will deliver a Parliamentary Party consisting of over 40% of women MPs. Subtle coercion by Conservative Central Office has seen a third of constituency associations select women candidates in seats where the incumbent MP is retiring. We also anticipate a record number of black, Asian and minority ethnic MPs, and the election of at least one and possibly two MPs of Chinese origin. Conservative Associations are to be commended for selecting BAME candidates in rather unexpected places: such as Rishi Sunak who will inherit Richmond in Yorkshire from William Hague; Nusrat Ghani in Wealden, who hopes to be the first Muslim woman to serve on the Conservative benches; and Suella Fernandes in Fareham. Labour too will have more BAME MPs including Kate Osamor who is fighting to retain the Edmonton constituency for Labour, 26 years after her mother was blocked from selection for the Vauxhall by-election; and Tulip Siddiq, the granddaughter of the first President of Bangladesh, and niece of Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh s current Prime Minister. City Hall will be somewhat diminished assuming Boris Johnson, Victoria Borwick, Kit Malthouse and James Cleverly all win their safe Conservative seats. For Labour, Andrew Dismore, another London Assembly Member hopes to win back his ultra-marginal Hendon seat. But while we are seeing fewer special advisers inheriting safe seats, the ranks of lawyers, journalists and trade union officials will continue to expand. Likewise, there is a large cohort of Oxbridge candidates. Five years ago, our PPC Guides profiled many of the 2010 intake. We didn t do too badly in our predictions. Looking back at our Conservative picks; Sajid Javid is in the Cabinet; DBIS Minister Matt Hancock is regularly deployed in the media; Jo Johnson heads the Number 10 Policy Unit; and Rory Stewart is Chair of the Defence Select Committee. On the Labour benches; Liz Kendall, Rachel Reeves and Chuka Umunna have quickly been promoted to the Shadow Cabinet. Come the election, many psephologists will be watching to see how the Conservatives fare in their seats; which of their 106 targets fall to Labour; and whether the Greens, SNP and UKIP make the gains they aspire to. Others will want to know which way the high profile battles such as Thanet South, Thurrock, Bristol West and Norwich South fall. The ICG team will be paying particular attention to how many of our 50 profiled candidates make it over the line. All of us in political advocacy await with baited breath the most unpredictable election in a generation. The State of Opening of the new Parliament will take place on 27 May As uncertain as its make-up remains, we hope this guide provides you with a sense of the personalities that will define and shape it. John Lehal Managing Director, 3

5 Edward Argar CANDIDATE Conservative PPC for Charnwood INCUMBENT Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP (Conservative, retiring) MAJORITY 15,029 4 Bidding to replace Tory veteran Stephen Dorrell, Edward Argar is a former political adviser and public affairs director. An Oxford graduate, he stood as a PPC in the city in 2010 but was beaten by Labour s Andrew Smith. A Westminster councillor since 2006, after university he served as advisor to the Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party and Shadow Foreign Secretary. Following a short stint in a political advisory role, Mr Argar moved into the business world in He worked in a public affairs capacity for Serco, Hedra, and infrastructure firm Mouchel. As his business career took off, he moved to represent the Conservative Party in elected office. Elected to Westminster Council as Labour took a pounding in the 2006 local elections, he became a cabinet member with responsibility for city management, transport and infrastructure issues two years later. He stood unsuccessfully for the council s leadership in 2012 in a close fought battle against eventual victor Philippa Roe. He also has experience in a healthcare setting, having served as a non-executive board member of his local NHS trust. Like a whole host of PPCs hoping to get to the Commons, he is also a school governor. While campaigning locally, he has connected with voters on the issue of Leicester Royal Infirmary. Indeed he has vowed to fight in Westminster to ensure the hospital gets the finance and operational support that it requires. Mr Argar s selection saw his Labour opponent Sean Kelly Walsh accuse his Tory counterpart of never even having been to Leicestershire prior to his selection, something quickly rebutted by Mr Argar. Selected from a four strong all-male shortlist, he was previously a finalist in the Wealden, Mid-Worcestershire, Newark and Tonbridge & Malling selections. Charnwood sits between Leicester and Nottingham. The constituency was created in 1997 following the Boundary Commission report reflecting population changes in Leicestershire. Conservatives do well here due to a handful of affluent commuter villages and rural parishes. We have picked a very good candidate. Hanif Asmal, Chair of Charnwood Conservatives A 768 Melton Road, Thurmaston, T Leicester, LE4 8BD None E w

6 Victoria Atkins CANDIDATE Conservative PPC for Louth and Horncastle INCUMBENT Sir Peter Tapsell MP (Conservative, retiring) MAJORITY 13,871 5 Out with the old, in with the new? The Father of the House, Sir Peter Tapsell, who has served in the House of Commons continuously since 1966, announced his decision to stand down from Parliament in March Hoping to replace him is the Conservative PPC Victoria Atkins, a legal expert who fought her way through an open primary selection. The daughter of the former MP and MEP Sir Robert Atkins, she had an unusual amount of open primary experience, also appearing in the final hustings in Tonbridge and Malling, Mid Worcestershire and North East Hampshire. Her selection was commended by the ConservativeHome website for providing another example of a female candidate being selected to succeed an outgoing male MP, and doing so in a fair contest. Ms Atkins has had a distinguished career in the legal profession, working in practice as a criminal barrister specialising in serious organised crime. In her own words she has led the prosecution of international drug trafficking rings, gun-runners and fraudsters over the years. As a fraud expert, Victoria is one of the few legal professionals in England and Wales appointed to both the Attorney General s and the Serious Fraud Office s list of specialist prosecutors. Ms Atkins gained political campaign experience in 2015, standing as the Conservative candidate for the position of Gloucestershire s Police & Crime Commissioner. While she was ultimately unsuccessful with this endeavour, she gained invaluable experience in running a campaign that reached out to 600,000 people across six Parliamentary constituencies. She lives with her husband and has a young son, and they have already moved to the Louth and Horncastle constituency. This rural seat has returned the Conservative Sir Peter Tapsell since its creation in 1997 after boundary changes. Located on the cusp of the East Midlands with a stretch of coastline running through Mablethorpe and Sutton on Sea, the constituency is primarily made up of small market towns and villages that focus their outputs on agriculture. For those following debates over the gender balance in the Parliamentary Conservative Party, this is another example of a female candidate being selected to succeed an outgoing male MP and doing so in a fair contest, not artificially through an allwomen shortlist. That s a credit to the candidate and the local association. Mark Wallace, ConservativeHome A 12 Nichol Hill, Louth, Lincolnshire, T LN11 E w

7 James Cleverly CANDIDATE Conservative PPC for Braintree INCUMBENT Brooks Newmark MP (Conservative, retiring) MAJORITY 16,121 6 James Cleverly has built a successful record in the London Assembly and will in this year s General Election attempt to succeed the outgoing Conservative MP Brooks Newmark in the party s safe seat of Braintree. A finalist in the selections in Bury St Edmunds and Bexhill and Battle, it was third time lucky for Mr Cleverly. Having been born in and attended school in Lewisham, Mr Cleverly has become one of the Conservatives key figures at a local level within the capital, having won the London Assembly constituency of Bexley and Bromley with a majority of 75,237 in 2008 (which was the largest majority in all 14 constituencies). After leading the Assembly s Conservative Group between 2011 and 2012, he was re-elected in 2012, albeit with a reduced majority of 47,768. Beyond this, Mr Cleverly has held a number of high profile positions in the City including the Mayor of London s Youth Ambassador, Chairman of the London Waste and Recycling Board (a position he stepped down from in 2012) and Chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority. Mr Cleverly has publicly declared he will serve the remaining twelve months of his Assembly Member term. He has, however, resigned his position as Chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority However, this will not be his first General Election as a candidate. In 2005 he finished a distant second to Bridget Prentice in the safe Labour seat of Lewisham East. Prior to politics Mr Cleverly joined the army before studying Business at Thames Valley University (now the University of West London). He also has worked in the magazine and web publishing industry and has spent nearly twenty years in the Territorial Army holding the rank of Major. Having been a Conservative safe seat for years, Braintree was taken by Labour in 1997 and was a marginal until a 2010 boundary change returned it back to its previous status. It is a predominantly rural seat with the largest town being Braintree itself. The constituency is divided into wealthy rural and poorer urban areas, containing large agricultural areas. The Essex countryside which makes up part of the constituency is the subject of several of John Constable s paintings. James has done sterling work steering through important reforms that have helped to produce a 21st century fire service for London His leadership has brought modernisation and with it a continued reduction in fires and in deaths from fire. That s a considerable legacy to leave behind, and one for which I am hugely grateful to James for delivering. Boris Johnson, Mayor of London A Avenue Lodge, The Avenue, Witham, T Essex, CM8 E w

8 Oliver Dowden CANDIDATE Conservative PPC for Hertsmere INCUMBENT James Clappison MP (Conservative, retiring) MAJORITY 17,605 7 Oliver Dowden will bring his experience as one of the key players at the very frontline of British politics to his bid to reach Parliament, having worked since 2012 as deputy chief of staff to Prime Minister David Cameron. Mr Dowden who is affectionately known as Olive within Downing Street circles is extremely well-regarded by Cameron and his team, and has gained favourable comparisons with the distinguished New Labour spin-doctor Alastair Campbell. Recognised by Tory blogger Iain Dale as one of the 100 most influential figures from the Right back in 2012, his Parliamentary aspirations have been well-noted for some time. For that reason, and because of his experience at the heart of Government, many commentators will be unsurprised that Mr Dowden has been selected to contest this leafy, solid-tory seat. His role as deputy chief of staff to the Prime Minister was not his first in the upper echelons of the Conservative party as he has previously worked providing a link between Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) and Number 10 and as both deputy campaigns and political operations director for the party. While several Special Advisers have unsuccessfully sought selection in safe seats, it appears Mr Dowden succeeded because of his local connections to Hertsmere after the sitting MP James Clappison somewhat unexpectedly announced his retirement. Born in Radlett within the Hertsmere constituency and living currently just north of the boundary in St Albans with his wife and two children, he has roots within the area leading him to be described by Leader of the Borough Council Morris Bright as a local man with national credentials. Before moving to Number 10 Mr Dowden studied law at Cambridge University, and worked for communications agencies LLM as an Account Director and Hill and Knowlton Strategies as a Managing Consultant. Hertsmere has been held by the Conservatives since its creation ahead of the 1983 General Election and is one of the party s safest seats. It stretches just outside Greater London and is considered part of the commuter belt. It is a predominantly middle class area consisting of a mixed economy, with the Aldenham East ward having been assessed as the least deprived in England in Major towns include Bushey, Potters Bar, Radlett and Borehamwood and the headwaters of the River Colne lie within the constituency. All four candidates would have made excellent MPs. Oliver Dowden however, being a local man with national credentials, stood out as an exemplary candidate and was whole heartedly supported by members. Cllr Morris Bright, Leader of Hertsmere Borough Council A Hertsmere Conservative Association, 104 High T Street, London Colney, Hertfordshire, AL2 1QL None E w

9 Dr Luke Evans CANDIDATE Conservative PPC for Birmingham, Edgbaston INCUMBENT Gisela Stuart MP (Labour) MAJORITY 1,274 8 A Birmingham-based GP, Dr Luke Evans has spent his adult life studying and working in the city. Having studied at Birmingham Medical School, he has gone on to work in primary care for the past eight years. Unlike many PPCs parachuted in from CCHQ, Dr Evans has entrenched links to his constituency through his membership of the Edgbaston Rotary Club and Debating Society. However, he has to work hard to oust Labour s incumbent Gisela Stuart MP, who is a highly effective local campaigner, and unexpectedly bucked the trend in 2010 in retaining this swing seat. He is a relative political novice, having only started campaigning for the Conservatives in Just four years after joining the Party, he was selected in August 2014 to contest the seat. Dr Evans cites compassion for the ill and the poor as the main driver behind his bid to represent Edgbaston in the Commons. He believes the role of compassion is often missed out in discussions about Conservatism, and lower taxes and a strong economy are inadequate without social altruism, he claims. Unsurprisingly for an NHS doctor, he has strong views on health service funding. He acknowledges that health service funding at current rates is unsustainable suggesting that by 2060 the UK s entire GDP will be spent on health should efficiency savings not be made. Dr Evans is also clear on the need for reform to mental health policy, suggesting that 15-20% of GPs time is spent dealing with problems such as depression and anxiety. He is heavily concerned about political apathy in the UK, and has argued that alienation stems from politicians failure to communicate properly with constituents on locally-relevant issues. He believes politicians should interact with constituents in a way that Doctors communicate with patients. Birmingham, Edgbaston has been a bellwether seat at recent elections. In 1997, Gisela Stuart s election was one of the first indications of a Labour landslide. In 2010, it suggested that the Conservatives would fall short of a majority. It is a predominantly middle class constituency with a high proportion of students and white collar workers. The seat is home to the main University of Birmingham campus, Edgbaston cricket ground, and Bartley reservoir. We have some excellent candidates In Edgbaston we have Dr Luke Evans, who has lived in the constituency since attending medical school. He now works as a GP as well as throwing himself wholeheartedly into winning Edgbaston back for the Conservatives. Rt Hon David Cameron MP A Gothard House, 9 St. Paul s Square, Burton upon Trent, DE14 2E T E w person/dr-luke-evans

10 Suella Fernandes CANDIDATE Conservative PPC for Fareham INCUMBENT Mark Hoban MP (Conservative, retiring) MAJORITY 17,092 9 Barrister and free school founder Suella Fernandes is the daughter of East African immigrants. A Cambridge law graduate born to parents who had very little, she is determined to win a seat in the House of Commons. She has tasted General Election defeat before, however, having been beaten by Labour grandee Keith Vaz in Leicester East in A political animal since the age of 16, Ms Fernandes joined the Tory party when her mother recruited her help with her county council campaign. She later served as President of the Cambridge University Conservative Association. She studied for a Masters degree in law at the Sorbonne and later went on to complete her legal training in the capital. Her legal career culminated in her appointment to the Regional Panel of Treasury Counsel. Tasked with representing the Government in the High Court, Ms Fernandes secured the appointment in Not content to focus all her efforts on a burgeoning legal career, she took on the not-insignificant challenge of snatching Leicester East away from Labour 10 years ago. A figurehead for Tory attempts to cement the Party s image as being on the side of hard-working families, Ms Fernandes cites self-reliance and aspiration as virtues. With this in mind, she co-founded a free school in Wembley, close to her Harrow birthplace. Fareham was not her first port of call in her mission to get elected in 2015 she previously fell short in selection processes in Uxbridge, Bexhill and Battle, Braintree, and Croydon South. Sadly her selection campaign in Bexhill and Battle was marred by controversy when John Barnes, a local Tory councillor, suggested that a double whammy of being brown and a woman would hold back her prospects on Election night, fortunately this was not an issue at her selection. She also has philanthropic interests on the African continent; she is a co-founder and former chair of the Africa Justice Foundation. The charity aims to promote good governance and economic progress in developing countries. A Hampshire Conservative stronghold, Fareham is an affluent seat sandwiched between Southampton and Portsmouth. The seat has a strong naval connection the constituency is home to training facilities for both the Royal and Merchant Navies. Despite evident economic prosperity, the decision of BAE Systems to pull out of the constituency in 2013 dealt a real blow to the area. Congratulations Suella Fernandes on being selected as Conservative PPC for Fareham from a very strong shortlist. She ll do a grand job! Penny Mordaunt MP A 14 East Street, Fareham, PO16 0BN T E w

11 Nusrat Ghani CANDIDATE Conservative PPC for Wealden INCUMBENT Rt Hon Charles Hendry MP (Conservative, retiring) MAJORITY 17, Selected in an open primary in December 2013, Kashmir-born Nusrat Ghani hopes to become Britain s first female Muslim Conservative MP by succeeding former Energy Minister Charles Hendry in the East Sussex constituency of Wealden. Prior to selection, Ms Ghani worked in public affairs roles at health charities and for the BBC World Service in war zones. Having stood unsuccessfully in Labour s Birmingham Ladywood stronghold, Ms Ghani is hoping to strengthen the Conservatives hold on the Wealden seat that has existed since its 1983 creation. Selected by over 400 local voters, she defeated Edward Argar, Helen Whately and Tony Caldeira in the open primary. Coincidentally she is also known by her married name of Nusrat Wheeldon, although she has resisted adopting the campaign tagline Wheeldon for Wealden. A former Deputy Chairman of the Brentwood and Isleworth Conservative Association, Ms Ghani cites fostering aspiration as her foremost political priority. Having grown up in a community blighted by unemployment, she believes Tory rhetoric on building self-reliance first compelled her to join the party. She joined the Conservative Party in 2009, in response to David Cameron s call for a wider range of people to offer themselves as candidates. Following her graduation from the University of Leeds with a Masters degree in International Relations, she was given a job researching emerging markets for an investment bank. Following a short stint in the financial services industry, she worked in the public affairs divisions of Age Concern and Breakthrough Breast Cancer. After cutting her political teeth in Westminster, she served as Director of Communications and Fundraising for the BBC World Service. The role saw her work across 28 language services. Ms Ghani was posted in warzones in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Asia. She then returned to the UK to start her political career, and recently joined Jericho Chambers, as a political communications and corporate communications adviser. In advance of the 2010 General Election, Ms Ghani was selected at short notice to contest Birmingham Ladywood the seat where Channel 4 s Benefit Street was filmed. Despite an inner-city upbringing, her priorities for the Wealden constituency are distinctly rural. She stresses that she would fight for farmers at Westminster, and has vowed to lobby for investment for superfast broadband coverage in remote areas. Wealden is a predominantly rural seat, while approximately half of its population lives in three towns: Uckfield, Hailsham and Crowborough. The constituency is relatively affluent, with a considerable number of residents commuting into London on a daily basis. In 2012, the constituency s unemployment rate was at less than half the national average. Nus is an inspiring candidate who, we hope, will make an excellent local MP and, in time, a contribution to national politics. Huw Merriman, Chair of Wealden Conservatives A The Granary, Bates Green Farm, Arlington, T East Sussex, BN26 E w

12 Nigel Huddleston CANDIDATE Conservative PPC for Mid Worcestershire INCUMBENT Sir Peter Luff MP (Conservative, retiring) MAJORITY 15, It would be difficult to accuse Nigel Huddleston of not having pursued a career outside of politics. He is to resign as the Industry Head of Travel at Google before entering Parliament. A management consultant by trade, 2015 will be his second General Election as a PPC. He previously lost out to Labour s Gavin Shuker in Luton South in Having grown up in a working class family in Lincolnshire, he went on to study Politics and Economics at Oxford University. A short period in a London management consultancy firm followed, before he left to study for an MBA at UCLA. He remained in Los Angeles for an extended period working for Andersen and subsequently, Deloitte. Having established himself in the business world, Nigel was selected to fight the Luton South seat in Mr Huddleston was hoping to capitalise on the fact that the incumbent, Labour s Margaret Moran, had been embroiled in the Parliamentary expenses scandal. Labour s Luton South majority was slashed to less than 3,000, but the swing to the Conservatives wasn t sufficient for him to win the seat. He carried on with his political career unperturbed however, becoming a St Albans District Councillor in This led to bigger and better things, and by November 2013 he had been selected in an open primary as the Conservative candidate in Mid-Worcestershire. All three of his opponents for the selection have since been selected in safe seats (Ed Argar, Victoria Atkins and Nusrat Ghani). Clearly confident that he will emerge victorious in May he upped sticks and re-located his family to Badsey near Evesham, Worcestershire. His campaigning in the constituency has thus far centred on proposals to create a Parkway Station in South Worcestershire. He has also lobbied the local County Council to accelerate the design process for the new site. He is also concerned about the lack of youth engagement in politics, having led a campaign to get 18 to 24 year olds to vote. Mr Huddleston is equally keen to secure the SME vote having started a campaign encouraging small businesses to develop an online presence. Mid-Worcestershire is a predominantly rural constituency inclusive of an area of countryside in between Redditch and Worcester, just south of Birmingham. While Labour does command support in Evesham and Droitwich, the seat is solidly Conservative. I am confident that your new Conservative candidate, Nigel Huddleston, will campaign vigorously on your behalf and will be an excellent ambassador for Worcestershire. Sir Peter Luff MP A Severn House, Prescott Drive, Warndon Business T Park, Worcester, WR4 E w

13 Ranil Jayawardena CANDIDATE Conservative PPC for North East Hampshire INCUMBENT James Arbuthnot MP (Conservative, retiring) MAJORITY 18, A local councillor since 2008, and Deputy Leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Ranil Jayawardena seems set to capitalise on his local connection and succeed in his campaign to represent North East Hampshire. He was selected in an open primary against three other non-local candidates: Victoria Atkins (since selected in Louth and Horncastle), Helen Whately (since selected in Faversham) and Dr Spencer Pitfield. Selected to replace James Arbuthnot MP (who announced he would stand down long ago) through an open primary held in November 2013 (a decision of the North East Hampshire Conservative Association), Mr Jayawardena is one of a number of BAME candidates to have been selected in Conservative safe seats. The 28-year old grew up in the local area which he cares passionately about and attended a nearby school and sixth form college before reading Government at the London School of Economics. No stranger to politics, he has worked as a government relations manager for Lloyds Banking Group and has experience lobbying MEPs in Brussels on European financial regulation. He also previously gained experience working in Parliamentary and Constituency offices, so he would be no stranger to the role of MP. Given his commercial background in financial services, and time spent as Vice-Chairman of the Economic Prosperity and Performance Committee of his council, Mr Jayawardena may wish pursue these interests in Parliament. Mr Jayawardena is said to have a real interest in local history and walks in the local area, whilst shooting, board games and cricket are among his hobbies. He is a supporter of many charities, including Cancer Research UK and the RSPB. He is also a member of the Carlton Club and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts. North East Hampshire has been a Conservative stronghold since its formation in 1997, with James Arbuthnot having overseen a steady increase in the Conservatives share of vote in subsequent elections. It is highly unlikely that the safe seat will change hands to another party, though UKIP have named a candidate. The constituency wraps around the northern, eastern and southern edges of Basingstoke, covering some of its rural neighbourhoods as well as the affluent and fast-growing towns of Hook, Fleet and Yateley. It is a desirable residential area and home to many London commuters. Companies based in the area include Virgin Media and Serco. I am delighted that electors from all political parties and from none have chosen Ranil to stand as the Conservative Candidate in the 2015 General Election. Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP A North East Hampshire Conservatives, The Mount, T Bounty Road, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 E w

14 Boris Johnson CANDIDATE Conservative PPC for Uxbridge and South Ruislip INCUMBENT Rt Hon Sir John Randall MP (Conservative, retiring) MAJORITY 11, Hoping to swap SE1 for SW1, Boris Johnson the Mayor of London and Tory leadership favourite was selected to contest the Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency in September No stranger to the Palace of Westminster, the two-term Mayor and former shadow minister for Higher Education was previously MP for Henley for seven years before leading London s political scene. His intention is now to replace the retiring Tory veteran, Sir John Randall, by winning this west London seat for the Conservatives. Mr Johnson s political ambitions are well noted. He is widely regarded as an electoral asset and is, for that reason, extremely popular on the Conservative benches. Speculation is due to mount as to his Prime Ministerial prospects, particularly following David Cameron s ruling out of a third term. In the short term, there is the issue of whether Mr Johnson will see out his term as Mayor. He certainly intends to carry on his duties at the GLA in the immediate aftermath of the General Election. However, it remains unclear whether he will step aside from the role after Thursday 5 th November, which would see his statutory Deputy Mayor see out the remaining six months of the term. Mr Johnson also presents a number of potential headaches for the Conservative leadership. To many, his personal ambition is matched only by that of his aspirations for UK infrastructure. An unequivocal HS2 enthusiast whilst a strong critic of Heathrow runway expansion, his position is likely to cause friction on the Tory benches with legislation expected on these topics in the new Parliament. Having been a vocal opponent of Heathrow Airport in the past, given many of his prospective constituents rely on the airport for employment, he may need to hastily soften his stance. Mr Johnson was named as a potential successor to the Conservative leadership by David Cameron himself in March If Cameron vacates 10 Downing Street in May, Mr Johnson s name will be at the forefront of any subsequent Conservative leadership contest. Uxbridge and South Ruislip is an affluent, suburban constituency that has been held by the Conservatives since A very safe blue seat, it returned the first by-election hold for the Tories in Uxbridge and Hillingdon represent the urban centre of the constituency, which benefits from good transport links into the capital. The seat is home to a sizeable student community at Brunel University and Northholt Aerodrome is an employer to many. Great news that Boris plans to stand at next year s general election - I ve always said I want my star players on the pitch. Rt Hon David Cameron MP A Hillingdon Conservatives, Bay Lodge, 36 Harefield T Road, Uxbridge Middlesex, UB8 E w

15 Julian Knight CANDIDATE Conservative PPC for Solihull INCUMBENT Lorely Burt MP (Liberal Democrat) MAJORITY A consumer journalist by trade, Julian Knight is hoping to overcome the Liberal Democrats smallest majority in Solihull. After cutting his teeth in broadcast journalism at BBC News, he joined the Independent and became Money and Property Editor. Keen to secure this ultra-marginal seat which Lorely Burt unexpectedly won in 2005, he has moved home to Olton, Solihull to allow him to campaign full time. By his own admission, Mr Knight had a difficult upbringing. Born on a Chester council estate, his father left home when he was ten. Despite obvious challenges, he managed to become the first person in his family to go to university, studying history at Hull. Upon graduation, he ventured to the capital to find work as a journalist. He eventually secured employment at BBC News and rose through the ranks to become a consumer affairs journalist. Mr Knight has pointed out that sheer hard work led to his success; he claims to have worked 80-hour weeks whilst a young journalist in London. While working at The Independent, Julian wrote on consumer finance, the property market, and economics. He also authored six books covering subjects as diverse as the Eurozone crisis, tax law and cricket. He was selected in March 2013, coming top in a field of 38 candidates. His local links were said to have delivered the selection for him. Since his selection as a Tory PPC, Mr Knight has led a campaign to improve dementia care provision at Solihull hospital. He has worked with neighbouring MP Caroline Spellman and officials at Solihull CCG to build a broad consensus in favour of investing in adequate dementia care facilities. He has also fought attempts to amalgamate Solihull Council into a Greater Birmingham Authority, claiming that Solihull should remain in charge of its own affairs. The stalled merger may be owed to partisan politics given that Birmingham is controlled by Labour, while the Tories dominate Solihull Council. Solihull is home to many affluent Birmingham commuters. The area is of high importance to the UK s manufacturing base the seat is home to a Land Rover factory. Elmdon and Lyndon are less well-off parts of the constituency, and regularly elect Labour councillors. Julian clearly understood the issues facing the residents of Solihull and I very much look forward to working with him to win back Solihull. Robert Hulland, Chairman of Solihull Conservatives A 2a Manor Road, Solihull, B91 2BH T E w

16 Alan Mak CANDIDATE Conservative PPC for Havant INCUMBENT Rt Hon David Willetts MP (Conservative, retiring) MAJORITY 12, A corporate lawyer by trade, Alan Mak hopes to extend the Tories 32-year-long stranglehold on the Havant seat to 2020 and beyond. Mr Mak acted quickly to throw his hat into the ring following former Universities Minister David Willetts decision to leave Parliament. He was selected in October 2014 after a strongly-contested open primary. He is set to become the Conservative Party s if not Britain s first MP of Chinese heritage. A state school-educated son of York shopkeepers, he claims that his time spent working in his parents store taught him the importance of conservative values. After reading law at both Oxford and Cambridge, he began working as a corporate solicitor at Clifford Chance. Following this, he left to set up his own business and stand for Parliament. While claiming to be the antithesis of a career politician, Mr Mak does have Westminster experience. He has worked for Culture Minister Ed Vaizey and has served on David Cameron s Globalisation and Global Poverty Policy Group. He also enjoyed a stint as a research associate at the Adam Smith Institute. Mak s foremost political goal is the creation of an opportunity society. He cites the work ethic and aspirations of his immigrant parents as key to his belief in the importance of social mobility. He has called for strivers on low wages to be freed from the burden of taxation. A vocal proponent of Iain Duncan Smith s welfare reforms, he believes the Tories main task is to deliver long-term social mobility for workers trapped in insecure, low-paid jobs. Acutely aware of the threat posed by increasingly-productive workforces in emerging economies, Mr Mak is an advocate of radical reform in education. Like Tory-backer Carol Vorderman, he believes that all young people should study mathematics and foreign languages up until the age of 18. He also has philanthropic interests, and has backed charities including Magic Breakfast a group aiming to feed hungry young people. Mr Mak is clearly proud of his achievements, suggesting on his website that a Management Today journalist had said that the term high flyer was surely coined to describe Alan Mak. While workers in Havant earn less on average that the national median income, the constituency is home to a whole host of high-technology businesses. One of the warmest places in the UK, Havant is also home to a high proportion of retirees who tend to be Conservatively-minded. He has got my 100 per cent support. Rt Hon David Willetts MP A Havant Conservatives, 19 South Street, Havant, T PO9 E w

17 Kit Malthouse AM CANDIDATE Conservative PPC for North West Hampshire INCUMBENT Rt Hon Sir George Young MP (Conservative, retiring) MAJORITY 18, Hoping to succeed Sir George Young, the long-serving senior Conservative MP, with his election to this very safe Hampshire seat, Mr Malthouse has a strong background in local government, politics and business. Mr Malthouse currently represents the London Assembly constituency of West Central, covering the City of Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham Boroughs. He previously acted as the GLA s Deputy Mayor for Business & Enterprise, where he took on responsibility for economic development, regeneration, as well as trade and science policy. Having now handed over his cabinet responsibilities, the Mayor of London will need to find a new Deputy Mayor for the City Hall team. Various London Assembly committees, including health, environment and planning, will also need replacement members. Before starting his career in politics, Mr Malthouse qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte & Touche. He then tried his hand at entrepreneurship, starting a number of companies including the County Finance Group which he is still involved with. His background in local government saw him rise through the ranks to become Deputy Leader of Westminster City Council. He was later appointed Deputy Mayor for Policing by Boris Johnson in 2008, a brief he held for four years. Originally from Liverpool, he studied Politics and Economics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He is married with three children. North West Hampshire has been a Conservative safe seat since its creation ahead of the 1983 General Election. Its focal point is the town of Andover, Hampshire s county town located on the River Anton and home to many after the post-war London overspill of the 1950s. The local economy has a focus on military research and logistics, benefitting from good transport links to the capital. The constituency is also home to wealthy older residents and commuters. Kit Malthouse has been a vital part of my team since day one and the force of his personality, combined with his desire to lead from the front, has been key to helping us set new standards across the policing and economic briefs that he has led so successfully. Boris Johnson A 2 Church Close, Andover, Hampshire, SP10 1DP T E w

18 Chris Philp CANDIDATE Conservative PPC for Croydon South INCUMBENT Rt Hon Sir Richard Ottaway MP (Conservative, retiring) MAJORITY 15, A serial entrepreneur and physics graduate, Chris is bidding to secure Croydon South which has been in Tory hands since will be his second General Election campaign; he suffered an agonising 42-vote defeat in the three-way marginal of Hampstead and Kilburn in Despite spending most of his adult life in business, he is no political novice. Mr Philp is in fact a former Chairman of the Bow Group and adviser to Andrew Lansley MP. He cites job creation as his foremost priority and insists that his real-world business experience gives him the edge over MPs who have never worked outside of politics. He has also lobbied for welfare reform in conjunction with the Taxpayers Alliance, claiming that benefit recipients should be made to carry out community work. He drew the ire of the then Independent columnist Owen Jones who claimed the proposal amounted to a return to slavery. Mr Philp worked in management consultancy at McKinsey & Company after studying at Oxford. He left to start his own distribution business at the age of 24. The firm proved to be a stunning success, and managed to achieve a 100 million turnover within four years. Further business ventures followed, including a recruitment business specialising in training HGV drivers. Having sold the firm in 2006, he co-founded asset management and investment firm Pluto Capital. The company operates internationally, and employs staff in Serbia, Montenegro, and London. Mr Philp s first taste of political office came when he was elected to Camden Council as the Tories made significant headway against Labour at the 2006 local elections. He was selected in November 2013 from a four strong shortlist which included fellow candidates Suella Fernandes and Lucy Frazer. Croydon South is perhaps the most-solidly middle class seat in South East London. The constituency is home to prosperous city workers and has a home ownership rate of 80%. Conservatives tend to dominate in local government here, with 83% of wards in the constituency being represented by a Tory councillor. Congratulations to Chris Philp who will be a fantastic candidate for Croydon South and would make a brilliant MP. Matt Hancock MP A 36 Brighton Road, Purley, CR8 2LG T E w

19 Rishi Sunak CANDIDATE Conservative PPC for Richmond, Yorkshire INCUMBENT Rt Hon William Hague MP (Conservative, retiring) MAJORITY 23, Standing in the safest Conservative seat in the UK, Rishi Sunak is hoping to succeed one of the giants of British politics of the 21st century former Foreign Secretary and Tory Leader William Hague. A serial entrepreneur with links to companies across the globe, Mr Sunak has impeccable Tory credentials. The son of a GP, he holds a first-class degree in PPE from Oxford University and an MBA from Stanford University, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. Drawing on the inspiration provided by his entrepreneurial pharmacist mother, he went on to co-found a large investment firm. The 1 billion firm quickly developed an extensive international presence, with an investment portfolio including businesses in countries as diverse as India and the United States. More recently, he has worked as Head of Policy Exchange s new Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Research Unit. The unit s inaugural project was a landmark publication on the political attitudes of the UK s BME population. Bidding to develop links in an area that has known little else other than William Hague over the past three decades will have been a challenge for Mr Sunak. He is hoping that a school governorship and his role as a board member of a local youth club will stand him in good stead come May. After coming second in the Hertsmere selection, Mr Sunak was shortlisted against three strong local candidates: council group leader Robert Light, former chairman of the local party Wendy Morton and ex-soldier Chris Brannigan. He has been a vocal campaigner on the NHS in Richmond. Claiming that his parents vocations ensured community healthcare is in his blood, he has campaigned to support the local Friarage Hospital. Farming is a mainstay of the local economy in Richmond, and Mr Sunak seems to have grasped its importance to people in the constituency. He has vowed to fight the costly burden of EU regulation to ensure agriculture remains a successful part of the local economy. Mr Sunak is married to Akshata Murthy, daughter of the founder of Infosys, Narayana Murthy. Akshsata reportedly has a 1.4% stake in the Indian multinational technology consulting firm. Richmond is a massive constituency that includes huge chunks of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales National Park. The local economy centres on agriculture and tourism, but the seat also includes the army base at Catterick Garrison. He is an exceptional individual and I believe he will be a strong and effective advocate for our community. Rt Hon William Hague MP A Unit 1, Omega Business Village, Northallerton, T North Yorkshire, DL8 2NJ None E w

20 Anne-Marie Trevelyan CANDIDATE Conservative PPC for Berwick-upon-Tweed INCUMBENT Rt Hon Sir Alan Beith MP (Liberal Democrat, retiring) MAJORITY 2, Selected by the Conservatives through an open primary process, Anne-Marie Trevelyan will fight the election hoping to end the Liberal Democrats long-standing hold on the constituency. A veteran of the 2010 General Election campaign, Ms Trevelyan managed to reduce the majority of Berwick-upon-Tweed s long-serving MP Sir Alan Beith from 8,632 to 2,690 but was ultimately unsuccessful in winning the seat back for the Conservatives. Since then, Sir Alan has announced his retirement after a 42 year career in the House of Commons. It means that the Liberal Democrat PPC hoping to succeed him Julie Pörksen will not benefit from the incumbency factor, potentially boosting the prospects of Ms Trevelyan. The relatively slim Liberal Democrat majority makes this a key marginal in which a two-way fight between the Coalition partners will take place. A strong campaigning record indicates that Ms Trevelyan will be relishing the challenge. As founder of the Dual the A1 group, she has been at the forefront of the successful campaign for an upgrade to this important stretch of road north of Newcastle. In his Autumn Statement of December 2014, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced 290 million in funding to do exactly that. The upgrade is thought to help Ms Trevelyan and the Conservatives prospects at the General Election; so it is perhaps no coincidence that the constituency served by the A1 upgrade area is one of the party s 40 target seats. Locally, Ms Trevelyan has a good profile and her work remains rooted in the surrounding area. She remains a Governor at Berwick Academy and was previously Chair of inorthumberland. A chartered accountant, Ms Trevelyan worked for PWC in the 1990s. Berwick-upon-Tweed, situated in Northumberland, is the most northerly constituency in England. A large but sparsely-populated seat, this is a rural area with liberal instincts. Sir Alan Beith, the long-serving Liberal Democrat, has held this seat since his by-election win there in A picturesque coastal constituency, Berwick-upon-Tweed is home to the island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland National Park and several seaside towns. Politics is the most unpredictable game, but I m hopeful that the work we will continue to do, on things like A1 dualling and broadband, will be enough to secure the voters confidence. Anne-Marie Trevelyan A The Gardeners House, Bondgate Without, T Alnwick, NE66 E w



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