As supporters of the Conservative Party, we were thrilled when Big Ben struck ten on election night and it was revealed that the Conservatives would remain the largest party in parliament. We were even more thrilled when the Conservative result surpassed even the exit poll, and we secured an overall parliamentary majority for the first time since the days of Sir John Major. This, of course, would not have been possible if it were not for the success of the 2015 intake of new Conservative MPs, each of whom campaigned brilliantly and who’s calibre shone through in relation to their opponents. Many of the new additions are only able to take their seats on the hallowed green benches due to inflicting defeat upon sitting Labour and Liberal politicians, unable to defy the Tory surge. Therefore, I thought it worthwhile to take a closer look at a selection of these new Tory lawmakers, some of whom may even attain ministerial rank in the not too distant future.
1.Tania Mathias, Member of Parliament for Twickenham
Or should I say, Dr Tania Mathias. Before going to Westminster, Dr Mathias worked in all manner of places, from Africa to India and China, where she helped to treat illness such as HIV, AIDS, TB and leprosy. She also spent time in Gaza, where she worked for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. A beneficiary of the Lib Dem collapse in West London, Dr Mathias is the successor to Liberal head honcho and former Business Secretary Sir Vince Cable. Following her election, Dr Mathias was elected to serve as a member on the Science and Technology select committee for this parliament. One expects that the Twickenham MP will focus on health and social policy, as well as issues of local importance such as opposition to the proposed third runway at Heathrow Airport. This has already seen her join fellow like-minded MPs in a cross-party action group opposing Heathrow expansion.
2. James Berry, Member of Parliament for Kingston and Surbiton
An alumnus of our very own University College London, as well as Harvard Law, James Berry succeeds another senior Lib Dem on his election to the Commons, this time former Energy Secretary Ed Davey. A former barrister specialising in healthcare and policing matters, Berry also expressed an interest in education policy during the general election campaign. As a result, Berry now finds himself as a member of the influential Home Affairs committee, headed up by the longstanding Labour chair Keith Vaz. Representing a constituency just a stone’s throw away from that of Dr Mathias, it is no surprise that Mr Berry is also a vocal opponent of Heathrow expansion-something he has already began to campaign on as a newly elected MP.
3. Tom Pursglove, Member of Parliament for Corby
The second youngest MP in the new House of Commons, Tom Pursglove (at twenty-six years old) retook the constituency of Corby from the Labour Party following the 2012 by-election. However, Pursglove is no stranger to ‘being-the-youngest’, formerly holding the distinction of being the youngest councillor in the country after his election to Wellingborough Borough Council as an eighteen year old, back in 2007. A seasoned campaigner in Northants, Pursglove is credited with organising Peter Bone’s 2010 general election campaign, which saw the Conservative majority in Wellingborough rise from 687 to over 11, 000. An outspoken Eurosceptic, Pursglove allowed his name to be published as a member of the newly formed Conservatives for Britain, an anti-EU group of Conservative MPs and MEPs. Pursglove’s fervent Euroscepticism is not his only UKIP-esque tendency as he also holds a directorship for Together Against Wind, the UK’s anti-wind farm campaign. Expect him to be particularly vocal in the Chamber on both of these issues.
4. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Member of Parliament for Berwick-upon-Tweed
A further beneficiary of the Lib Dem implosion, Ms Trevelyan took over from the retiring Sir Alan Beith who had been Berwick’s representative since 1973. This was her second attempt at taking the former Liberal stronghold, reducing Beith’s majority at the 2010 election by some 6,000 votes. A chartered account prior to her entry to Parliament, Trevelyan’s accountancy skills will serve her well on the Public Accounts Select Committee, which she was elected onto after her arrival to the Commons. A Eurosceptic, Trevelyan (along with Pursglove) was one of the Tory MPs who allowed their membership of Conservatives for Britain to be published in the press. Trevelyan’s campaigning already appears to be effective, as she secured assurances for dualling the A1 in the first Scottish Secretary questions of this parliamentary cycle.
5. Boris Johnson, Member of Parliament for Uxbridge and South Ruislip
One would be foolish to overlook Boris Johnson, the serving Mayor of London, as an MP to follow after the 2015 general election. Despite previously serving in the Commons as the member for Henley, Boris’ election comes after a seven-year break from parliament. In that time, Boris has won two historic Mayoral elections in the, widely considered, Labour city of London. In this capacity, Boris has overseen such highs as the London 2012 Olympic games and lows including the 2011 London riots. Dealing with everything in his stride, Johnson has shown a great deal of executive leadership in his time at City Hall. So much so that no interview with Mr Johnson seems to go by without talk of his leadership ambitions, following the Prime Minister’s imminent retirement after the EU referendum in 2017. For now, however, Boris is busy enough campaigning against Heathrow expansion, attending political cabinet and seeing out the remainder of his term as London Mayor.