Saturday, June 27, 2009

How Many New MPs Will There Be?

The news that Alan Milburn is to stand down from Parliament at the next election is hardly a surprise. But I think it brings to around 50 the number of Labour MPs who are retiring. On the Tory side, more than 20 sitting MPs are going, with many more expected to quit in the next few months. When you add in the expected 150 or so changes of seats and you get a Parliament which will contain 40 per cent new MPs. It's possible it could even be an unprecedented 50 per cent.

For those of a 'Clean House' disposition, this will be very welcome news indeed, for obvious reasons. For the two main parties it will be a mixed blessing. If Labour is reduced to around 200 seats, a large number of those will be new faces. No wonder putative leadership candidate Ed Balls (no, don't laugh) is spending much of his week on the rubber chicken circuit, buttering up likely new MPs.

For the Conservatives the situation will be even more stark. If they get 350 MPs the likelihood is that more than 200 of them will be newbies. Indeed, we're getting to a situation where David Cameron may have to make a few first time MPs ministers.

It will be interesting to see how this intake of MPs asserts itself - on both sides of the House. If they take a stand against some of the older ways of doing things they could make a real difference. The crucial thing will be how many of them take the whips' shilling and are determined to climb the greasy pole of promotion at the first available opportunity.

The situation is slightly comparable to the 1983-87 Parliament, which contained a large number of Tory MPs who had never expected to be elected in the first place - people like Cecil Franks in Barrow and Gerry Bowden in Dulwich. There were a number of MPs who knew the way to get promotion was to be viscerally loyal and do the whips' bidding at every available opportunity. Michael Howard, Patrick Nicholls and Edwina Currie were the most obvious examples of this tendency, and sure enough, if my memory serves me correctly, they were among the first to be made PPSs and then ministers. Perhaps PoliticalBetting.com should run a book on the most likely equivalents of the 2010 Tory intake.

55 comments:

Julian said...

Take the Whips shilling?

I bet you'd pay them Half a Crown
for a job.

Anonymous said...

200 Labour MPs at the next election! It'll be far less than that.

Anonymous said...

My Labour MP can go as soon as possible. No shortage of candidates.

Sir Dando Tweakshafte said...

As to Milburn, well Pepsi's loss is Darlington's gain.

"...David Cameron may have to make a few first time MPs ministers..."

Or more radically, he could reverse the last couple of decades and cull the number of Ministers for Paperclip Access Strategies.

Thatsnews said...

o/t but DO be careful!
Spam Alert on Michael Jackson's death

Anonymous said...

Perhaps as part of the reforms, hopefully including thinning out the plethora of quangos and goverment departments, Camero could reduce the inflated number of ministers, ppss etc that labour have foisted upon the nation.

Less govererment requires less fat controllers.

Dimoto said...

Fair comment, but IMHO, Cameron should drastically prune the ever-growing "ministerial gravy/patronage train", and staff it with trustees.
The emergency budget will be a hard, hard exigency, requiring a "war cabinet", not a sprawling web of unknown and unreliable "talents".
After a couple of years, when the economy is firming up and "newbies" have established some track record, new blood can be introduced.

Anonymous said...

New blood will help Britain on a desperately needed new start, but how many will be able to bend the (very established) civil service to their bidding and how many will be sucked in by it ?? Big change will need strong leadership, but David Cameron has yet to really impress in that area.

Oldrightie said...

Sounds ideal to me. The last 12 years have hardly been covered in glory. Furhermore pay them bonuses after the Parliament ends. Hopefuly, unlike now, they would not need to pay money back!

Demetrius said...

You are looking at something like the 1945 Election in terms of both numbers and economic challenges. But then the "new" people had almost all done some real work or carried real responsibility before being elected. That is they had a basis of knowledge and awareness of ordinary life and matters that are beyond the experience or the imagination of the crew of London Mediocrats that we are likely to finish up with.

Chris Close said...

I broke the news.

It does not surprise me. Labour will be in freefall even in the North East and his other jobs pay him around £300K in total and he is a shite.

He is rarely seen in Darlington and does not even live in the Constituency.

Chris Close said...

Perhaps he has reasons not to be cheerful.

See below

Brown was about to 'out' him.


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/mps-squirm-as-the-spotlight-turns-on-second-jobs-1721546.html

http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-east-news/todays-news/2009/06/24/north-mps-spent-thousands-on-gadgets-61634-23960233/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/jun/25/mps-second-jobs-conservative-party

ranger1640 said...

as politicos are a self serving lot they will do exactly as the party and the whips tell them

Bill Quango MP said...

Didn't Dave say he wanted less MPs?
Ideal time. MP announces stand down and the commission meets to divide the constituency up with its neighbours.

FireForce said...

David Maclean,M.P Penrith & Border, Con, according to the local rag "Evening news & star" Maclean is standig down at the next election.

VotR said...

Expenses & the register of interests clearly points out that the people who represent the common man and woman in parliament are clearly out of touch, Iain, especially on the government's side of the House.

With the extra jobs Labour MPs have outside the halls of power, they couldn't get any further out of touch, especially with what is earned. Pure corruption amid the gravy. And the new equality bill wants to help the working class? Do Labour even know what the poorest and working class even means any more? Pure hypocrisy. That bill should be scrapped, it is a mockery.

Praying for a Labour clean out, wipeout and a vast Labour exodus in the next election.

Pedant said...

I think we all want Parliament "cleaned up", so new members have a part to play. However Parliament will have one hell of a lot of work to do putting right the legacy of the last twelve years. Experience will be needed as Balls, femme et cie in opposition will be out to create all the trouble they can. We must not think we can neglect honest hon. members with experience

Little Black Sambo said...

Will Master Bercow be coming back? Hope not.

Boo said...

My suspicion is that the nice whips will kindly show the newbies the ropes.

Being a newbie does not enhance your independance, experience does.

Then again there is the thing about old dogs and new tircks

Anonymous said...

Maclean is quitting that's one piece of "" that won't be missed.

The Half-Blood Welshman said...

"MP announces stand down and the commission meets to divide the constituency up with its neighbours."

Unfortunately Bill Quango, the number of MPs is set by the Boundary Commission - not by local parties.

Good riddance to Milburn. Agree with other posters though - the best way to avoid trouble in appointing new MPs as ministers is to cut the number of ministers.

Nigel said...

Both not enough, and too many.

trevorsden said...

Quango - Cameron does want fewer MPs - its a good way to cut cost of government and justify an increase in MPs pay. However that can only occur at the election after next. Brown is not going to do it now. I think we could easily lose 100 MPs bringing the number down to 550.

I agree with those who want fewer ministers and govt departments - that means fewer senior civil servants as well.
But unlike America we generally want our ministers from our MPs so cutting down MPs will mean fewer choices for ministers.

judith said...

Delighted Maclean is going - remember him being booed by usually nice Conservative Ladies at a Smith Square meeting prior to '97.

And thrilled that Milburn is off too - made my weekend.

Anonymous said...

final salary pension schemes are at last on the way out.The m.p,s are heading for the door before they go!! venal to the end

Unsworth said...

Yep fewer Ministers, MPs, 'Civil Servants' - and push responsibility and authority much further down the food chain. This decade of centralisation of power has destroyed motivation and competence.

If you do people's thinking for them, pretty soon they end up with cerebral atrophy - and you become responsible for their cock-ups.

Delegation, delegation, delegation.
That's the way to do it.

Dave S said...

I think you have to put second jobs in context, only the most able and intelligent MPs are considered for secondary jobs, put second jobs beyond the pale and you will dilute the pool, and it's pretty thin right now.

Not a bad thing for MPs to experience the real world, you can take it too far of course (i.e. William Hague).

Joe Public said...

In any 'normal' business, employees fiddling (& that includes 'screwing'/maximising ) expenses would be sacked. And immediately.

Some (e.g. police) also lose their Pension.

MPs don't live in the real world.

Anonymous said...

Some of the "new" faces will be "re-treads". Jonathan Evans, for example, has the experience to go straight into cabinet.

strapworld said...

I would not be surprised to see Portillo go for David Maclean's Penrith seat.

A very safe tory seat. Portillo still highly regarded by tories and totally out of any suspicion on expenses,obviously.

A former Secretary of State for Defence. He would walk straight back into the cabinet.

Now that would be a good sight!

judith said...

Strapworld - what planet are you on?

Portillo is a busted flush - he was a useless Shadow Chancellor, and is not only past his 'sell-by' date, but long past his 'use-by' date.

Praguetory said...

In fairness to Edwina, she had been running Birmingham City Council's Housing Department which gave her a head start on many of her contemporaries.

Anonymous said...

Milburn's sudden exit from the DoH a few years ago has still not been explained. Rumour has it he got depressed and took it out on his staff to the extent of physically beating up a typist. Blair took steps to cover it up and Milburn was quietly put out to pasture. We will know the truth one day.

He hasn't been seen much for 5 years including in his constituency. He can drop dead as far as anyone in the North East is concerned, he was always a supporter of the Barnet rules felt very keenly up here with privileged Scotland just over the border.

Malcolm Redfellow said...

What I don't get is the emphasis on sleek, lean MPs.

Does the selling-out (usually within days of election) require the shedding of several pounds of flesh?

Or perhaps the linguistic competence of contributors here, and therefore the lower standards involved in Torydom do not stretch to the difference between "less" and "fewer".

Anonymous said...

How can any new conservative mp assert themselves,they are being picked for submissive tendencies and to follow party whips not put country first.For a start no BOO members allowed,it will be another labour party.Sod the country,do as i say.

Old Codger said...

But Dave wants many new conservative MPs who are not party members, doesn't he? Or is that another gimmick?

Having threatened Tebbit with withdrawal of the whip I don't see him accepting dissent amongst "his" MPs

Unsworth said...

Anon 6:58

'He got depressed..'

Not half as depressed as his staff, or the rest of us whilst he was being a 'Minister'.

strapworld said...

Judith, I am on firm ground. I have a very wide circle of friends, colleagues and email contacts. I can tell you that Portillo is highly regarded.

At the very least you will know where he stood on policies.

That is something you cannot say about Cameron.

Try asking him for his definitive position on the EU, or Afghanistan (where any politician would recognise- (as Portillo has)-that we have to review our presence their.

But I think Call me Dave will be a slave to the USA, sadly.

Judith, Are you telling me that Osborne is a better shadow chancellor?

Goodness, how peoples hopes have diminished.

mtrcricket said...

This is an ideal opportunity to reduce the number of paid sychophants and reduce the size of government. Remember Conservative policy - smaller government is better government?

georgeorwellslittlesister said...

Portaloo? Come on, it's a warm Saturday night and you've enjoyed a good barbie.

Ed the Shred said...

Ed Balls a putative Labour Party leader!? I'm sorry, I know you said don't laugh, but that is the best joke I have heard today so far.

If you really pushed me for a view, the only redeeming feature that plonker has is that he shares the same first name as me. I feel embarrassed pointing out that similarity.

Anonymous said...

Zzzzz....

Anonymous said...

I expect that because so many of the Conservative candidates will be new, punters, already sick of the Lib/Lab/Con parties will opt for UKIPers and other non-mainstream parties with similarly new/unknown candidates.

If Tory policies are unknown and Tory candidates are unknown and the Tory policy on the Lisbon Treaty is still hazy, it seems likely that UKIP and the like will benefit.

Cameron really ought to rethink his EU policies and pledges. As things stand, Tories are losing popularity to the parties with conviction.

Fausty said...

I expect that because so many of the Conservative candidates will be new, punters, already sick of the Lib/Lab/Con parties will opt for UKIPers and other non-mainstream parties with similarly new/unknown candidates.

If Tory policies are unknown and Tory candidates are unknown and the Tory policy on the Lisbon Treaty is still hazy, it seems likely that UKIP and the like will benefit.

Cameron really ought to rethink his EU policies and pledges. As things stand, Tories are losing popularity to the parties with conviction.

(previously posted as 'anonymous', erroneously!)

judith said...

Dear Strapworld - I too have a wide circle of fellow activists and friends, and Portillo's name has not crossed our lips nor our IT communication systems for years.

I recall attending a day-long conference in London on fiscal policies with then Shadow Chancellor Portillo as the star speaker.

He was utterly out of his depth, and frankly gave the appearance of not caring that much.

With the greatest respect, you cannot turn back the clock - Portillo's day is done, leave him to get on with his TV presenting or talking about music.

And if I had my way, John Redwood would be the next Chancellor.

howard thomas said...

With a bit of luck it will be at least 50%.
Bearing in mind that the lions share of MPs are tainted in some way by the expenses saga, then this can only be a good thing.
I wonder, will Allister Darling retain his flipping seat?

Sir Sven said...

Some asshole came up to me tonight in the Lion and asked me how many MPs it might take to change a light bulb. I made it very clear that it depended on those MPs' other duties and how far their constituencies might be from Westminster. The fellow smacked me in the face and said "... is the wrong answer..." Can anyone explain what he meant?

Newmania said...

The system works well , lets keep it

Anonymous said...

Ed Balls as Labour leader? As a Labour Party member, I regard it as a very sick one (who better to lead us to another 1931?), but not entirely implausible.

Anonymous said...

Fraser Nelson in this morning’s NOTW, O/T I know but these figures are from the office of national statistics and are truly astounding, confirming what we already knew because we see it and we expereince it daily, but of course our corrupt politicians conveniently ignore it, including honest Dave.

Strip out the public sector and do you know how many new jobs have gone to British workers since 1997?

Zero. Squat. Nada. In fact, there are fewer UK-born workers in the private sector than 12 years ago.

The rest of his article makes very chilling reading indeed.

Dimoto said...

Off topic (sorry !)
But, Mr Bercow's first test comes on Monday. Balls has been leaking his "white paper on education" to the press for at least a week.
Bercow said that he will not allow this in future.
I look forward to a severe censure of Balls by Mr Speaker.

Anyone who entertains the quaint notion of Balls for Labour leader, should have watched his dire performance on Marr this morning.

Anonymous said...

Cecil Franks was elected in Barrow in '83 deposing the deeply unimpressive Albert Booth.

Franks was completely bonkers but was relected in '87.

Strange.

Malcolm Redfellow said...

Anonymous @ 4:28 PM:

1. How many Anony-mouses make an infestation?

2. Before Albert Booth is casually dismissed as "deeply unimpressive", perhaps we should consider that he was at least capable of providing an "Alternative Economic Strategy" in 1976, to clear up the inflationary mess left by the Heath Government.

Franks was elected (by a constituency unhealthily dependent on naval contracts for VSEL) in the 1983 "Khaki-lite" election, and re-elected on local fears of Labour cancelling the Trident programme.

Anonymous said...

This is a comprehensive overview of the likely new intake of MPs at the next General Election up to the point where the Conservatives gain a slim overall majority: http://www.madano.com/classof2010

Anonymous said...

Gerry Bowden - well bugger me, I had quite forgotten about him. Now he was a proper backbench lightweight....