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The candidates have been selected, the nominations have been submitted and the deadline for candidacies has now passed. A few thousand individuals will now spend the next 27 days battling for the 650 seats that are up for grabs.
For some it will be an easy campaign and for others it will come close to breaking them. But one thing is for certain, there will be new names, faces and personalities occupying the green benches when the House reconvenes on 13 June for the election of the Commons Speaker and the swearing-in of Members.
To help you navigate these changes, we have selected ‘25 candidates to watch’, on the basis that they are contesting seats where they stand a better than average chance of being elected, and are likely to make a significant impact if and when they arrive in Westminster.
We have identified our candidates to watch in three broad ways.
Firstly, there are those seeking to return to Parliament having been unsuccessful during previous campaigns; Liberal Democrat Sir Vince Cable being one of the most high profile examples. Tania Mathias’ surprise victory in Twickenham in 2015 turned the seat blue, but 20 years after Sir Vince became an MP he’s looking to make a comeback. Despite the ‘Lib Dem fight back’ seeming reluctant to materialise across most of the country, both the polls and anecdotal evidence suggest he stands a very good chance at overturning the 2,017 majority, especially if a bit of anti-Conservative tactical voting does come into play. Given his ‘elder statesman’ status, if he does win in June his presence in Parliament will make an impact.
Our second category is the ‘rising stars’. These candidates are the ones who have the personal credentials to go far in Westminster and to do so quickly. London Assembly Member Kemi Badenoch is a good example in that she is young and ambitious, but also has some pretty serious experience in business (Logica, RBS, Coutts), journalism (The Spectator) and politics (GLA).
Finally, there are those for whom a win would be highly significant. Kate Hoey’s opponent George Turner falls into this category. To win he’ll have to defeat a 12,708 majority in Vauxhall but with the Lib Dems piling everything at the seat, and Hoey’s support said to be waning among her natural supporters, a win for Turner over one of Labour’s most high-profile Brexiteers would be one of the headlines of the election.
The names picked out above are but three examples, and there are another 22 we believe are worth keeping a close eye on.
The 2017 Parliament will be remembered for many things, most notably, of course, Brexit. But for the individuals included in this pack, the forthcoming Parliament is an opportunity. They will have their own agendas and be keen to make a mark that secures their positions within their constituency and within their Party. The first few years are the most challenging. Let’s see how they get on.
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