Public Affairs: Lobbyists triumph at polls

Many industry candidates win seats but some see majority decreased.

Lobbyists experienced varying degrees of success in last week's general election, with many well-known industry figures being propelled to victory - but not all of them managing to increase their party's majority.

One of the most successful candidates from the lobbying world was Aviva head of public affairs Tracey Crouch, who became Conservative MP for Chatham & Aylesford on a substantial 11 per cent swing from Labour.

Another impressive performance was put in by ex-Hanover associate Penny Mordaunt, the Tory candidate in Portsmouth North. Mordaunt took the seat on an 8.5 per cent swing from Labour.

Other Tory candidates to achieve swings in their party's direction were Finsbury Group partner Robin Walker in Worcester (6.5 per swing from Labour), ex-Portland associate partner George Eustice in Camborne and Redruth (five per cent per swing from the Liberal Democrats) and ex-PLMR associate director Conor Burns in Bournemouth West (three per cent swing from the Lib Dems).

Other well-known Tory candidates with lobbying backgrounds suffered swings against their party - but were still successful.

Weber Shandwick director Priti Patel won Witham with a convincing majority despite a one per cent swing to the Lib Dems. Lexington Communications director Damian Collins took Folkestone and Hythe for the Tories but was hit by a 2.5 per cent swing to the Lib Dems.

For the Lib Dems, Weber Shandwick director Tamora Langley was defeated in Lewisham Deptford.

Given the woes of the Labour Party, it was a tall order for any of its candidates to increase the party's share of the vote - and few did. Scout Association head of public affairs Stella Creasy was elected MP for Walthamstow with a minimal 0.04 per cent swing to the Lib Dems, while former EDS lobbyist Mike Dugher took Barnsley East despite a huge 14 per cent swing to the Lib Dems.

Other lobbyists will remain in their day jobs after being defeated at the polls. They include Curtin & Co consultant Antony Calvert (Con), Citigate Public Policy MD Simon Nayyar (Con), TLG co-founder Nick Bent (Lab), Connect Communications consultant Andrew Pakes (Lab) and Macmillan Cancer Support head of public affairs Mike Hobday (Lib Dem).

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