Friday, 10 February 2017

Where are they now?

In the run-up to the mould-breaking 1997 general election, the Independent On Sunday published pen portraits of Labour candidates to watch. It is interesting to see what happened to them since.

Matt Carter (York): once the Labour Party's youngest general secretary, he failed to be elected in 1997 but forged a career in public relations. In January 2010 Carter became CEO of Burson-Marsteller, a leading public relations and communications consultancy, part of Young & Rubicam Brands, a subsidiary of Martin Sorrell's WPP.

John Adams (Worthing West): failed to be elected in 1997 and came third in Worthing East four years later. Nothing more known.

Claire Ward (Watford): served as Labour MP for Watford from 1997 to 2010, and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice from 2009-2010. She now works as Chief Executive at Independent Pharmacy Federation.

Lorna Fitzsimons (Rochdale): famously one of the "Blair babes", was also successful in 1997 but resigned from parliament in 2005. She is also in PR now.

Jacqui Smith (Redditch): another 1997 winner, she rose to become the first female Home Secretary but lost her seat in 2010 after being named as one of those MPs making the most from the expenses regime. She has been chair of Birmingham's University Hospitals NHS trust since December 2013 and often appears to offer her opinions on TV news and current affairs programmes.

Paul Richards (Billericay): unsuccessful, but continues to be a Labour activist and author.

Alastair Hudson (Beaconsfield): The very conservative Beaconsfield always was a long shot. Mr Hudson writes about his subsequent career as a legal academic here.

Stephen Twigg (Enfield Southgate): The story of election night was the ousting of Michael Portillo (then seen as a standard-bearer for the Conservative right-wing) by Stephen Twigg. He lost the seat in 2005, but was rewarded with a fairly safe seat in Liverpool West Derby in 2010 which he retained in 2015.

John Healey (Wentworth): the only one in this list to hold the same seat continuously from 1997 until the present day, John Healey held various ministerial posts under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Jim Murphy (Eastwood): Before being ousted in the SNP landslide north of the border in 2015, Jim Murphy was MP continuously from 1997, held ministerial and shadow ministerial posts and ended as Leader of Scottish Labour

Tess Kingham (Gloucester): won her seat, but gave up Westminster politics after one term. She is married to a civil servant and has three children. According to wikipedia she is not just a housewife, but is studying for a PhD in Biological Anthropology at the University of Kent.

Andy Reed (Loughborough): won in 1997, but lost Loughborough to Nicky Morgan in 2010. He has been involved with various sporting bodies since.

Douglas Alexander (Perth): Another high-achiever who lost his seat (though not the redistributed Perth) in 2015, Douglas Alexander joined international law form Pinsent Masons in January 2016 as a “strategic advisor”.

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