This British election will be remembered as one of the most surprising polls in decades. Comparisons have been made to the 1992 election, the 1964 election, even the 1931 election. The success of the Conservative Party has taken virtually everyone by surprise and three political parties are now looking for new management.
New MPs will be making their way to the House of Commons once the champagne corks have stopped popping and the dust has settled on the results. So, who are some of these new MPs? While it might be a little early in the proceedings to identify any rising stars, I have selected a few of the new faces below.
Mhairi Black (SNP)
The election of 20-year-old Mhairi Black is one of the stories of the night, taking an early scalp in the form of Douglas Alexander, the Shadow Foreign Secretary in Paisley and Renfrewshire South.
Black has become the youngest MP since 1667 and is a third year student at the University of Glasgow, with the small matter of her finals before taking up her seat in Westminster. Black was swept into parliament on the crest of the SNP wave, personifying the new look of the SNP – young, female and pro-independence.
Andrea Jenkyns (Conservative)
Perhaps the story of the night was the defeat of shadow chancellor Ed Balls in Morley and Outwood. Balls had a majority in 2010 of 1101, and Jenkyns managed to overturn this and achieve a 400 vote majority.
Jenkyns quit her job two years before the election to focus on her election battle and it could be argued that her devotion to the local area, coupled with Balls’s focus on national politics rather than his own constituency, allowed Jenkyns to claim the seat and, in her own words, aim to be the “voice of Yorkshire in Westminster”.
In her acceptance speech, Jenkyns talked about both her parents; her father, whose death inspired her to stand as an MP and her mother, who fainted upon hearing the news of her electoral success.
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
BoJo as he is affectionately, and perhaps disparagingly, known, is not a newcomer to British politics. The windswept former London Mayor was elected in Uxbridge, a rock solid Conservative seat. This is the next step of Johnson’s path towards his ambition to lead the Conservative Party.
With Cameron’s confession, that he will not fight another general election campaign as leader, his successors, including Johnson, are positioning themselves to fight perhaps the longest leadership battles since the days of Blair and Brown.
Stephen Kinnock (Labour)
As the surname suggests, Stephen Kinnock is Labour to the core. His father is Neil Kinnock, the former Labour leader who presided over the famous defeat in 1992 his mother is Glenys, former MEP. Most notably, his wife, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, is prime minister of Denmark.
This new MP has some political pedigree behind him, but can he live up to expectations? He has already faced criticism for not living in Aberavon, his new constituency, but that didn’t seriously affect his popularity.
Tom Elliott (DUP)
Elliott was elected in Fermanagh and South Tyrone as the new DUP MP, unseating Michelle Gildernew the Sinn Fein MP.
The seat was part of a deal between the DUP and UUP to challenge Sinn Fein and increase their MPs and reducing those of the loyalist party. The election of Elliott, along with 7 other DUP MPs, means that the DUP will have a much larger and louder voice at Westminster than they have had before, especially considering Cameron’s wafer thin majority.
Margaret Greenwood (Labour)
As with many of this list, the significance of Greenwood is partially based on who they defeated. Greenwood defeated Esther McVey in Wirral West, one of the hardest fought, toughest and bloodiest of battles in this election. Greenwood, a former NHS campaigner, took the seat by just over 400 votes after McVey was appointed to the Department of Work and Pensions and forced to implement and justify the hated bedroom tax, mortally wounding her chances of keeping her seat.