10% of prospective MPs have worked in the media

The relationship between the media and politics has always been a close one. Some would say it is inevitably symbiotic, others view it more negatively and consider it more incestuous. Good or bad, the fact is that a large number of journalists have always entered into politics and next year is no exception. There is an impressive number of prospective MPs standing in target or retirement seats at the 2015 General Election that have worked in journalism or the media in other roles, demonstrating once again the close relationship between the two professions.

The 22 parliamentary candidates listed below account for around 10 per cent of all candidates in potentially winnable seats. In 2010 around 5 per cent of the new intake of MPs had experience of working in the media (with around 7 per cent in 1997), so we’ll have to wait until the results are known on 8 May to see whether there is any developing trend. By party, 14 per cent (9 candidates) of winnable Conservatives have worked in the sector, compared to 8 per cent of Labour (11) candidates. The remaining two candidates are from the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru. Exactly half (eleven) of the candidates have worked for the BBC at some point in their careers.

The candidates in target or retirement seats that have worked in the media as a journalist or in other roles are:

  • Polly Billington (Lab, Thurrock, target) – BBC reporter (Today programme, Radio 1 Newsbeat, News 24 and the Politics Show) and producer (One, Six and 10 o’clock news)
  • James Cartlidge (Con, Suffolk South, de-selection) – Freelance journalist (including Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Spectator)
  • Mims Davies (Con, Eastleigh, target) – Local radio presenter, reporter and producer
  • Rowenna Davis (Lab, Southampton Itchen, retirement) – Freelance journalist (numerous) and commentator
  • Delyth Evans (Lab, Carmarthen West & Pembrokeshire South, target) – TV journalist (HTV and BBC – World at One and PM)
  • Nusrat Ghani (Con, Wealden, retirement) – Head of Public Affairs, BBC World Service and Director of Communications and Fundraising, BBC World Service Trust
  • Kate Godfrey (Lab, Stafford, target) – Researcher, The Guardian
  • Victoria Groulef (Lab, Reading West, target) – BBC researcher and “director on political and finance programmes for national radio and TV”
  • Christine Jardine (Lib Dem, Gordon, retirement) – Senior Production journalist at the BBC, Journalism tutor/lecturer at the University of Strathclyde, Scotland Editor for Press Association
  • Boris Johnson (Con, Uxbridge & Ruislip South, retirement) – Journalist (Times, Wolverhampton Express & Star, Daily Telegraph as European community correspondent and Assistant Editor and political columnist and Editor of The Spectator)
  • Dr Sally Keeble (Lab, Northampton North, target) – Journalist, Daily News in Durban, South Africa and journalist, Birmingham Post
  • Julian Knight (Con, Solihull, target) – Journalist (Consumer journalist, BBC and Money & Property Editor, The Independent) and author of 7 Dummies books
  • Clive Lewis (Lab, Norwich South, target) – BBC journalist and presenter (Chief Political reporter for Politics Show East and Look East news)
  • Stewart Maxwell Scott (Con, Carshalton & Wallington, target) – Speechwriter to Director-General of BBC
  • Chris Oxlade (Lab, Crawley, target) – Radio Mercury and owner of two radio production and event companies
  • Luke Pollard (Lab, Plymouth Sutton & Devonport, target) – Carlton television on the children’s Birthday People TV programme
  • Rebecca Pow (Con, Taunton Deane, target) – Journalist (BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and a range of lifestyle magazines) and presenter, producer and director (HTV and ITV West)
  • Liz Saville Roberts (Plaid Cymru, Dwyfor Meirionnydd, retirement) – Journalist (Caernarfon & Denbigh Herald)
  • Thomas Tugendhat MBE (Con, Tonbridge & Malling, retirement) – Freelance journalist writing on politics and economics from Lebanon (including The Times and The Scotsman)
  • Matthew Turmaine (Lab, Watford, target) – Producer, Production and Operations Manager and Head of Client Services and Fulfilment, BBC Worldwide
  • Matt Warman (Con, Boston & Skegness, retirement) – Journalist, Consumer Technology Editor and Head of Technology, Telegraph Media Group
  • Mary Wimbury (Lab, Aberconwy, target) – Various public affairs, public relations and communications roles for the BBC

All information has been gathered from publicly available sources.


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