Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Have the Newbies Been Promoted Too Early?

I'm doing some research for an article I am writing for Parliamentary Monitor magazine (published at the party conferences) and I have calculated that of the 52 Conservative MPs elected for the first time in 2005*, a massive 30 of them now have positions on the front bench - three of them in the shadow cabinet.

On the plus side, they bring a lot of freshness, enthusiasm and ability, but on the negative side, most MPs benefit from longer than a year or eighteen months to find their feet. In normal times, when an opposition has around 250 seats or more, you'd have expected only about a dozen of that intake to have been appointed to the front bench at this stage in a parliament. The other 22 must also be wondering what they have done wrong!

For the electorate it is important that they see some new faces as it reemphasises the message that the Party is renewing itself.

But I must admit that before I started counting, I would have guessed the number was nearer 15 than 30.

* including retread David Evennett


Newmania said...

Is that why there are so many back benchers prepared to grumble perhaps . I have not been impressed with the front bench Conservatives even allowing for the BBC`s left bias .

I haven`t noticed a lot of energy I have noticed what seems to be keeping quiet and hoping for a spiffy job. There should be attacks on Brown all day every day the material is more than ample .
If you take this in tandem,with the outside inerests of the shadow cabinet it begins to appear that too many MP`s see their role as just a job.

PS hard blogging when you have to earn a living isn`t it. Not a problem the anti Boris Ken stooges have or indeed Labour propoganda gimp Chris Paul.

I do not see why such parasites are allowed to comment. They are only trying to debase the forum with anon comments and other low disruptions .Fredom of speech does not include freedom to parrot Party gobbets for cash.

strapworld said...


I disagree. Whilst there should be natural progression, one cannot escape the fact that a grounding on the backbenches,plus a thorough knowledge of how westminster ticks and the ability to speak on many subjects in the house, is the best training for any wannabee minister/shadow minister.

The haste in which Cameron rejected most of the vastly experienced politicians for a host of WHO ARE THEY? politicians with soap still behind their ears.

Redwood has proved what an experienced mover he is. Yes he is lambasted by the press, but he handles such nonsense with aplomb.

Cameron can ill afford to lose those politicians on the backbenches who could really make a big difference now.

If, as rumours abound, that a general election may come as early as October,Cameron is surrounded by BOYS and GIRLS rather than sound, tested MEN and WOMEN. I would far rather have Clarke and Widdecombe shouting for me than WHO? and WHY?

Brown has surrounded himself with youth to counter Cameron and to distance his cabinet from Blair. Wouldn't it be far better to have Clarke battling it out with Darling and Widdecombe with young Milliband or Benn? Wouldn't it be better to have Howard taking on Straw?

Cameron and boy george do not impress I am afraid. Another big defeat is awaiting them!

I could go on. I am not amazed by your findings. Just bloody sad.

TaxCutter said...

Many of the Newbies would have been MPs in 1997 normally, but did not get into Parliament until 2005 due to 2 landslide defeats. A bit of real life experience won't have done them any harm, and it stops them coming across like their contemporaries in age, Ruth Kelly or David Milliband.

A far bigger concern is the "quotas" which are seeing certain groups, being promoted too fast.

Sir-C4' said...

Some people have all the luck.

Unknown said...

Retread sounds a trifle harsh!

strapworld said...


I take it I am barred?

Iain Dale said...

from what?

Anonymous said...

"lot of freshness, enthusiasm and ability" - they would need to, especially to compensate for the part-timers (David, Cameron excepted) who hold the senior poisitions and don't seem to have any desire to regain power.

Newmania said...

Thought I commented ?

Anonymous said...

Newbie's what? Is this some kind of rhyming slang I'm missing, or have you just got a grocer's apostrophy too many...

Anonymous said...

I think you need to look further than just a date. Just because someone has been in parliament for 15 years, does not make them any better than someone with someone who has been there five minutes.

Michael Gove has has enormous experience. Whereas, Theresa Villiers was a European MP for 5 years.

Go back to the 1950's and it was exactly the same.

Anonymous said...

I shall be very interested to see the generation of Conservative politicians after these: men and women (admittedly like myself) who were too young to vote in 1997, who have known a Labour government for most of their lives, and whose adherence to the fluttering blue flag is therefore in no way linked with a mere desire for office.

Meanwhile, I don't mind Cameron, but Redwood clearly outshines Osbourne and should be given the Chancellor's job instead, where competence necessarily outweighs centre-field niceness!

Anonymous said...

What concerns me is not the number of 'newbies' promoted but the quality of them. Many of them have been over promoted for the sake of the party being seen to be fresh. Some, and I will not name names, would not ordinarily get beyond the back benches and yet some newbies of real quality have been overlooked.

strapworld said...

From the front bench!

Richard Havers said...

This highlights all that's wrong with the Conservatives at the moment. A triumph (?) of enthusiasm over experience.

Anonymous said...

A lot of them don't deserve to be in Parliament, let alone on the front benches!

There are a few exceptions, but there are a lot of very underwhelming performers who seem puffed up with their own sense of importance - and that was before DC propoted them!

We need fresh faces, but we need quality performers too!

Anonymous said...

I agree there is a lot of dross in the parliamentary party. It only seems to be getting worse and worse. Interviewing for a marginal seat did not impress me:
Rarely do any of them understand economics. Rarely do they have a philosophy or principles. Ask them their opinions on crime and they will trot out exactly what David Davis has said in the past week. They think that 2 months fighting a no hoper at the last election means they have election experience. If they are intellectually robust then they have a compensating flaw to match.