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The Class of 2019: The New Tory MPs Who Were in The Right Place at The Right Time

© AP Photo / Stefan RousseauJoy Morrissey
Joy Morrissey - Sputnik International
The Conservatives won a crushing victory in last week’s General Election, winning 365 seats and gaining a majority of 78. Here's a look at some of the new intake of MPs.

Boris Johnson will tell 109 new Tory MPs they have a responsibility to change the party for good on Monday, 16 December, as he lays out his plans for pushing through the Brexit Withdrawal Bill.

Many of those MPs were “paper candidates” who were selected at the last minute and did not think they had a hope of winning in safe Labour seats.

Here are some of the new MPs and their back stories.

Alex Stafford (Rother Valley)

There can be few more starker illustrations of the staggering size of the Tory tsunami than Alex Stafford’s election as MP for Rother Valley.

The constituency, on the outskirts of Sheffield, was once home to mining villages and the infamous Orgreave coking works where in June 1984 thousands of striking miners clashed with police as they tried to stop coal-laden lorries into the plant.

​In July this year the 73-year-old Labour MP Kevin Barron - a former colliery electrician - announced he would not stand for re-election but the new Labour candidate, 23-year-old Sophie Wilson was swept away by the Tory tidal wave in a heavily pro-Brexit seat.

The beneficiary was Alex Stafford, a privately-educated Tory councillor in the London Borough of Ealing, who on a whim had put his name forward and been selected on 9 November to be the Conservative candidate in Rother Valley.

Labour’s vote fell by a whopping 16 percent and Stafford was duly elected, with a majority of 6,318.  

Virginia Crosbie (Ynys Mon)

Four days after Stafford was selected, Essex resident Virginia Crosbie was chosen as the Conservative candidate for Ynys Mon - the isle of Anglesey in north west Wales.

​Her selection, only 24 hours before nominations closed, was even more surprising because Ynys Mon was one of the Tories’ top targets.

The seat had traditionally been a three-way fight between the Tories, Labour and the Welsh nationalist Plaid Cymru.

Labour MP Albert Owen stepped down earlier this year and was replaced by a local, Mary Roberts.

Crosbie, a former maths teacher, won with a majority of 1,968 and has promised to move from Essex to Anglesey.

Lee Anderson (Ashfield)

Gloria De Piero, the glamorous former TV presenter who had been Labour MP for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire since 2010, could see the writing on the wall and announced earlier this year she would not be seeking re-election.

​Natalie Fleet was chosen as the new Labour candidate in a constituency which voted 70 percent for Leave in the 2016 referendum.

She was destroyed in Thursday’s polls and ended up in tears.

The winner was Tory candidate Lee Anderson, whose “personal opinion” about how to deal with problematic tenants on a housing estate went viral.

In it Anderson said: “Six o'clock every morning, let's have them up, let's have them in the field, picking potatoes or any other seasonal vegetables, back in the tent, cold shower, lights out, six o'clock, same again the next day. That would be my solution."

But his controversial “labour camp” idea did not stop him winning with a majority of 5,733.

Darren Henry (Broxtowe)

Another new MP with unorthodox views is Darren Henry, a former squadron leader in the Royal Air Force, who has succeeded Remainer Anna Soubry as MP for Broxtowe in Nottinghamshire.

​Henry is something of a maverick and he created uproar on social media when a video of him at the hustings went viral. In it he appeared to criticise food bank users for being feckless and encouraged them to get payday loans to solve their financial problems.

Henry, who says he was from a “British working class family”, writes on his website: “To quote DH Lawrence - who used to dip my wife's great grandma's plaits in their Sunday School ink pots - this is ‘THE COUNTRY OF MY HEART’ - and this is where I want to serve you as your loyal Member of Parliament.”

Look out for Henry’s maiden speech. It should be a corker.

Richard Holden (North West Durham)

Laura Pidcock had been spoken of as a potential successor to Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader but her dreams came crashing down when she lost to the Conservative candidate Richard Holden.

​Holden overturned a Labour majority of 8,792 in 2017, and swept in with 1,144 votes more than Pidcock, the Shadow Secretary of State for Employment Rights.

But it was not the first time Holden has been in the headlines.

In 2018 Holden, who had been working as an aide to then Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, went on trial accused of groping a woman at a party two years earlier.

After being acquitted by a jury after less than an hour’s deliberation, Holden told journalists: "That this case has been pursued at all is a travesty. It has been a cruel public shaming and an utter waste of time ans resources." 

After being cleared, Holden was allowed to go back on the Tory candidates’ list and was later selected for North West Durham, a seat which had been Labour ever since its formation in 1950.

Natalie Elphicke (Dover)

Another Conservative politician who faced sexual misconduct allegations was Charlie Elphicke, who was MP for Dover in Kent since 2010 until earlier this year when he had the whip removed by the party.

​Elphicke is due to face trial in June 2020 for three counts of sexual assault but denies any wrongdoing.

As her husband was unable to stand, Natalie Elphicke put herself forward, was selected as the Conservative candidate and was duly elected last week.

She is not the only Tory wife who replaced her spouse - Kate Griffiths was elected in Burton-upon-Trent, instead of her husband, Andrew, who was accused of sending sexually inappropriate messages to constituents. He was later cleared of wrongdoing by the parliamentary watchdog.

Sara Britcliffe (Hyndburn)

At 24, Sara Britcliffe becomes the youngest MP in the House of Commons.

Hyndburn in Lancashire was part of the “red wall” of Labour stronghold seats which came crashing down in the early hours of Friday, 13 December.

​Britcliffe’s father, Peter, was a long-serving councillor in Accrington and had tried to win the seat twice during the Tony Blair era.

His daughter benefited from the massive backlash against Labour’s refusal to accept the Brexit referendum result.

Aaron Bell (Newcastle-under-Lyme)

Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire had been a Labour stronghold for 100 years but Aaron Bell changed all that last week.

He overturned a wafer-thin Labour majority and beat Carl Greatbatch by 7,446 votes.

Bell is something of a quiz show king - in 2006 he won £25,000 on the popular TV show Deal Or No Deal and used the money to put a deposit down on a house.

Three years later he won Krypton Factor, another TV game show which involves mental puzzles.

Marco Longhi (Dudley North)

The former MP for Dudley North - Ian Austin - was described as a “judas” by Labour Party supporters after he not only quit the party but also urged voters to support Boris Johnson.

Austin’s act of treachery may have earned him the enmity of many on the Left but it would have been welcomed by Marco Longhi, the Conservative candidate in Dudley North, who duly won the seat with a whopping majority of 11,533.

Longhi grew up in Rome - where his father worked for an airline - and developed a deep love of Italian football club Lazio.

Longhi, who moved to England when he was 19, told the Express & Star newspaper: “In Italy I was always 'the English guy', and over here I was always 'the Italian guy'. I just want to be considered a citizen of the world."
Claire Coutinho (East Surrey)

Claire Coutinho’s parents - both doctors - came to England from Goa, India in the 1970s with only £100 in their pocket.

They worked in the NHS and taught their daughter the value of education.

Coutinho, 34, worked in the City and spent two years working in the Treasury, so expect her to be given a ministerial job quite soon.

She was elected as the new MP for East Surrey, replacing Sam Gyimah, who defected to the Liberal Democrats and finished in third place in Kensington.

Joy Morrissey (Beaconsfield)

When Dominic Grieve rebelled against Boris Johnson over Brexit and was thrown out of the Conservative Party, his local party in Beaconsfield, just outside London, plumped for Joy Morrissey as his successor.

The American-born Morrissey had stood as a candidate before - in 2017 she was soundly thrashed by Labour’s Rupa Huq in Ealing Central & Acton.

​But in Beaconsfield she had no trouble defeating Grieve who, despite gaining the support of actor Hugh Grant, was beaten by 15,712 votes.

Morrissey’s bizarre claim to fame is that in her younger days she starred in a couple of raunchy comedy films - her biggest role being in a low budget “bonk fest” called Geek Mythology, which involved a sex scene.

In 2017 the film’s director, Phil Hwang, told the Daily Mirror: “While I'm surprised she ended up running for political office in England, I'm very confident Joy Morrisey is up to the task.”

Sarah Atherton (Wrexham)

Wrexham in north Wales was a rock-solid Labour seat until Jeremy Corbyn’s “nightmare before Christmas”.

Sarah Atherton, who won it for the Tories, is a former soldier and nurse who also ran a micro-brewery in the town.

Atherton said: "The people of Wrexham wanted Brexit done and delivered. I think that's why we have got a majority of 2,000 tonight."

Atherton was criticised by Plaid Cymru during her campaign for failing to provide leaflets in the Welsh language.

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