Page last updated at 14:28 GMT, Tuesday, 18 May 2010 15:28 UK

Notable new faces in Commons

The largest intake of new MPs since 1997 took their seats on the famous green benches for the first time on Tuesday afternoon. Here are some of the names that stand out among the 227 new arrivals.

Rushanara Ali
Rushanara Ali helped Labour win back the East End of London

The number of black and ethnic minority MPs has nearly doubled, from 14 to 26, and includes the first Muslim women to take seats at Westminster. Labour MP Shabana Mahmood made history in Clare Short's former seat Birmingham Ladywood, along with Yasmin Qureshi, who won in Bolton South East and Rushanara Ali, who defeated Respect in George Galloway's former Bethnal Green and Bow constituency. Priti Patel, became the first female Asian Conservative MP in the safe Conservative seat of Witham. Labour remains the party with the most black or ethnic minority MPs - 16, or 6% of the parliamentary party, up 2% on 2005. Of the Conservatives' 148 new MPs, nine are from a black or ethnic minority background, 4% of the Parliamentary Party, up from 1% in 2005. Only the Liberal Democrats, of the three main parties, now have no black and ethnic minority MPs.

Margot James
Margot James seized Stourbridge for the Conservatives

Among the notable new arrivals are Margot James, the new Conservative MP for Stourbridge, a successful businesswoman and only the second openly gay woman to sit in the Commons. Louise Bagshawe is another eye-catching new Conservative arrival. Ms Bagshawe is a best-selling author of "chick lit" novels, including such titles as Glitz, Passion, Glamour and Desire - titles she has described as "escapism - even for me". The divorced mother-of-three has swapped New York for a home in her Corby constituency, in Northamptonshire.


The Commons continues to be dominated by one gender - 78% of MPs are men, down 2% on 2005. There are 48 Conservative women MPs, up from 18 at the end of the last Parliament, but Labour still has the most women MPs at 81. The number of female Lib Dem MPs has gone down from nine to seven. The Conservatives now have the largest number of openly gay male MPs - at least 10, according to the Conservative Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender group. Labour has eight gay MPs. The Lib Dems do not release figures on how many openly gay MPs they have, although there are thought to be two, including new MP Stephen Gilbert in St Austell and Newquay.

Tristram Hunt
TV historian Tristram Hunt is now a Labour MP

Some of the new Commons intake will already be familiar to television viewers. Gloria De Piero, who succeeds Geoff Hoon in the safe Labour seat of Ashfield, in Nottinghamshire, despite a 17% swing to the Lib Dems, is better known as GMTV's former political correspondent.

But the GMTV sofa was nothing if not politically balanced it seems. Former breakfast TV presenter for the channel Esther McVey is the new Conservative MP for Wirral West. Another familiar TV face, on the Labour benches, is historian Tristram Hunt, a friend of Lord Mandelson who worked at Labour's Millbank HQ at the 1997 general election. He won Stoke-on-Trent Central despite an 8% swing to the Liberal Democrats after controversy over the way he was parachuted into the seat the last minute.

The new Conservative MP for Penrith and The Border, Rory Stewart, has one of the more interesting CVs in the new Commons intake. TV viewers will recognise him from his BBC documentary on Lawrence of Arabia. A former British diplomat and army officer, he was deputy governor of a province of Iraq in 2003 to 2004. He is also known for an epic walk across Afghanistan in 2002. He took to the hills again during the election campaign, with a walk across the lakeland constituency.

Zac Goldsmith
Zac Goldsmith succeeded where father Sir James failed - by becoming an MP

There are a few familiar surnames in the new House of Commons, including Zac Goldsmith, the billionnaire son of the late financier Sir James Goldsmith, whose Referendum Party flew the flag for Euroscepticism at the 1997 general election. Mr Goldsmith, a leading environmental campaigner, snatched Richmond Park, in South London, from the Lib Dems.

London Mayor Boris Johnson's younger brother Jo won the ultra safe Conservative seat of Orpington, in Kent. A former journalist for the Financial Times, he headed the newspaper's South Asia bureau and was in charge of the influential Lex column. He is said to be the ambitious one in the family.

Another new Conservative MP with connections in the world of journalism is Jacob Rees-Mogg, son of former Times editor William Rees-Mogg, who won in North-East Somerset. His sister, Annunziata Rees-Mogg, failed to win in neighbouring Somerset and Frome, however.

Ben Gummer, the 32-year-old son of former Conservative minister John Gummer, who stood down at this election, is the new Tory MP for Ipswich. The Conservatives are not the only party with political dynasties. Walsall South's new Labour MP Valerie Vaz joins her brother Keith, the former Europe minister, on the Commons benches.

Stephen Twigg
Stephen Twigg is a Labour MP once again after an absence of a few years

Of all those elected in 2010, 64% had been MPs in the previous Parliament. Four Labour MPs from earlier Parliaments were returned - Christopher Leslie in Nottingham East, Stephen Twigg in Liverpool West Derby, John Cryer in Leyton and Wanstead and Geraint Davies in Swansea West. Only one Conservative MP, Jonathan Evans, who was an MP between 1992 and 1997, has made a comeback, beating Labour's Julie Morgan in Cardiff North by just 194 votes.

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