Election stars

TV debates might throw a focus on party leaders but media coverage of MPs and parliamentary candidates will still influence voters. Claire Murphy highlights those likely to generate the most interest.

Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones: renegade
Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones: renegade

MOST LIKELY TO... keep her constituents interested in politics

Lynne Featherstone - Liberal Democrat, Hornsey & Wood Green

Featherstone brings new meaning to the word ubiquitous with her firm grasp of social media. She regularly uses You Tube, Flickr and Facebook and writes a well-maintained blog. All of this, plus a link to her parliamentary activity via Hansard, is integrated into one sophisticated website that also allows her constituents to make comments.

MOST LIKELY TO ... commit a gaffe on You Tube

Kerry McCarthy - Labour, Bristol East

McCarthy, one of Labour's most social-media enabled MPs, is currently being skewered by a pointed and predominantly online 'Kerry Out' campaign, designed to replace her with Tory rival, Adeela Shafi. McCarthy has so far maintained a fairly resilient silence but it may only be a matter of time before a Bristol Tory with a particularly good cameraphone catches her reaction to the personal attacks.

MOST LIKELY TO ... boost the Conservatives' credentials on Afghanistan

Rory Stewart - Conservative PPC, Penrith and The Border

A former tutor to Princes William and Harry, Stewart's background is pure establishment - Eton, Oxford, Foreign Office. But this is where the stereotype ends. He famously set out on an epic 6,000 mile solo walk across Afghanistan in 2001 and later became deputy governor of two Iraqi provinces. He then carved out a career as a Harvard academic, writer and presenter. Brad Pitt's TV company is said to have lined up Orlando Bloom to play Stewart in a film of his life. Whether he can gain constituents' trust remains to be seen, although spending December and January walking in the area helped. But his media star power (he has already featured on Andrew Marr's sofa and on Desert Island Discs) will keep him high profile.

MOST LIKELY TO ... reignite Gordon Brown's class war

The Honourable Jacob Rees-Mogg - Conservative PPC, North East Somerset

Rees-Mogg, a serial PPC, is said to have been warned off developing a relationship with the local media by Conservative Central Office for fear he comes over as too posh. He has already attracted the ire of local press and bloggers by plagiarising a Sun article for campaign literature and paying a council press officer to write his press releases. Back in 2000, Rees-Mogg tried to fight perceptions of his class with a Mail on Sunday journalist: 'I do wish you wouldn't keep going on about my nanny. If I had a valet you'd think it was perfectly normal.' He did subsequently accept some responsibility for his media profile, telling The Scotsman: 'I gradually realised that whatever I happened to be speaking about, the number of voters in my favour dropped as soon as I opened my mouth.'

MOST LIKELY TO ... be quoted in features on the 'new Conservative generation'

Shaun Bailey - Conservative PPC, Hammersmith & Shepherds Bush

A charity worker who is now campaigning just a few miles from the council estate he was born on, Bailey's main mission is to overhaul the benefits system to give the long-term unemployed more incentive to work. He speaks with honesty about the effects of drug use and family breakdown on inner-city estates and is not afraid to voice his political views. 'Poor people don't need all this liberalism. They need direction,' he told The Guardian in 2007.

MOST LIKELY TO ... be on the Labour whips' speed-dial

Gisela Stuart - Labour, Birmingham Edgbaston

Stuart is a bona fide renegade, having been one of the few Labour MPs to have come out in support of the failed Hoon/Hewitt putsch. The likelihood of her stepping away from Gordon Brown's line on the doorsteps is made greater because her constituency is seen as a key winnable target for the Conservatives.

MOST LIKELY TO... be coming at voters from every possible screen and page

Nadine Dorries - Conservative, Mid Bedfordshire

Dorries, who came out fighting in the media last year after various expenses-related accusations, is an enthusiastic blogger and Tweeter. She is also one of four politicians filmed living in council blocks, who featured this month on Channel 4's Tower Block of Commons. A former nurse, she supports the lowering of the foetal abortion time limit from 24 to 20 weeks, an issue that inevitably attracts attention. A recent tweet read: 'Just written for Elle magazine re late term abortion. Cue abuse, death threats etc.'

MOST LIKELY TO ... make Cameron choke on his organic muesli

Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones - Conservative PPC, Chippenham

Emmanuel-Jones followed a period in the Army with a stint as a TV director before launching his own food company, The Black Farmer. His sparky brand of entrepreneurialism led to a place on Cameron's A-list of candidates who are seen as embodying new Conservative values. But his spectacular honesty and popularity with the media could come back to haunt Cameron during the election campaign. Last year he told The Observer that his party leader was 'a posh git' who was not as friendly and open as he is himself. His self-confessed political hero? George Galloway.

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