Five PR and public affairs professionals who could win seats in parliament

A number of PR and public affairs industry figures are standing for election on 8 June, and while many are outside bets for a seat in Westminster, some would appear on the brink of packing in the day job.

In recent weeks PRWeek has been collecting information on candidates for election emanating from the sector. Many are in seats where they need to overturn substantial majorities, and they and their parties will privately view their candidacy as a way to gain experience and test their mettle for future campaigns.

Here are five candidates whose chances of winning a seat are far stronger - with the first seen as something of a rising star in the Conservative party.

Owen Meredith, director of external relations at publishing trade body the PPA. He is widely tipped for the Conservative benches of parliament - Meredith is standing in Newcastle-under-Lyme, which is currently held by the Labour party, but with a majority of just 650 votes.

Peter Cuthbertson, an account director at Oakhill Communications, is also set for a close contest. In 2015, he contested Darlington for the Conservatives and won 14,479 votes, more than 3,000 behind Labour winner Jenny Chapman. This time round the fight is predicted to be tougher for the Labour incumbent - the vote could be swung if some of the more than 5,000 UKIP voters from 2015 desert their party.

Another Conservative candidate, James Wild, will fancy his chances in North Norfolk. The former Hanover account director and spad to business minister Michael Fallon is standing in a seat where the Conservatives lost to the Lib Dems by 4,000 votes in 2015. However, UKIP won more than 8,000 votes in 2015, but are not contesting this year's race.

Clark Vasey, who works in corporate affairs at Fujitsu, would also have to overturn a substantial 2015 loss of nearly 5,000 votes. However, the 7,500 votes polled by UKIP last time around puts him in a strong position in the race against Labour incumbent Sue Hayman.

Even if the national result appears unlikely to be great news for their parties, a small local swing against the national tide could benefit Luke Pollard of Field Consulting. In 2015, he lost by less than 600 votes for Labour in Plymouth, Sutton & Davenport, a seat he is again contesting.

The full list of candidates can be viewed here.

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