New Parliament, New Control?
With a huge number of seats up for grabs, the potential for an entirely different Government, and more than 70 MPs (so far) standing down, the makeup of Parliament is going to be very different after this election than before it.
But should we be expecting fresh faces in the positions of importance to the insurance industry? Here we look at some of the key MPs for the industry in the last Parliament, and look at their prospects of holding their positions come December 13th.
Name: John Glen (Conservative)
Former Role: Economic Secretary to the Treasury
The Treasury Minister with the insurance portfolio, John Glen handles legislation, regulation and a range of other matters of relevance for the insurance industry.
Given that his constituency has been under the control of the Conservative Party for almost 100 years (since 1924), the chances of him being unseated this December are remote to say the least.
He’s also a prime candidate to hold onto his Ministerial role should the Conservative Party form another government. His nearly two years on the job so far is a long tenure by recent standards, and with a large MP churn expected, there may not be enough candidates with the experience necessary to replace him.
Name: Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC (Conservative)
Constituency: South Swindon
Former Role: Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
The fifth Lord Chancellor in four years has only been in the post for 4 months, but cabinet positions can often be re-arranged after elections, to reward good performers in the national election or set out a new stall for how the country will be run.
Add to this the narrow majority that Mr Buckland enjoys in South Swindon (2,464), and the fact that it has been a Labour seat as recently as 2010, and there’s definitely a path that can be plotted out which sees the Ministry of Justice looking for its 6th Lord Chancellor in four years in the days and weeks following the General Election.
Name: Richard Burgon (Labour)
Constituency: Leeds East
Former Role: Shadow Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
A Shadow Cabinet member since 2016, Richard Burgon was a relatively early adopter of the Corbyn project within the Labour Party and has been one of its leading proponents and media figures in the years since his appointment.
His background as a trade union lawyer gave him both the experience and the left-wing pedigree to be appointed to the role, and he is a certainty to translate his Shadow Cabinet role into the Cabinet proper should he be re-elected (highly likely given his current majority and urban constituency) and Labour be able to form a government following the General Election.
Once in post, he is also likely to provide important input to Labour policy in his area, which could have a strong impact on the ongoing attempt to reform the whiplash system.
Name: Robert Neill (Conservative)
Constituency: Bromley and Chislehurst
Former Role: Chair of the Justice Select Committee
Formed in 1997, Robert Neill’s Greater London constituency has never been held by anyone other than the Conservative Party. There has been a lot of discussion about Greater London being one of the key battlegrounds of this election, but the sizeable majority (9,590) in Bromley and Chislehurst should insulate Robert Neill from any opposition charge.
What is more complicated and harder to hang onto is his position as Chair of the Justice Committee. The Chairs of Select Committees are divided amongst the parties on a proportional basis depending on how many seats they have in the House of Commons, with the chairs of those committees then elected by Parliamentarians.
To be returned, Mr Neill would need to retain his seat, the Conservatives would need to be re-designated control of the Justice Committee, and he would need to be re-elected as its Chair. Chairs of committees are often returned to their roles following elections, but there are many scenarios in which the Justice Committee may go another direction.
Name: Craig Tracey (Conservative)
Constituency: North Warwickshire
Former Role: Chair of the Insurance and Financial Services APPG
The majority may not be large (8,510), but given that Craig Tracey’s seat has not been Labour since 2010, if the Conservatives lose in North Warwickshire, then it has real problems looking across the country at large.
If and when Craig Tracey is returned to Parliament, his experience as an MP since 2015 and pro-Brexit stance may lead him on to bigger and better things before long (he was appointed as a Parliamentary Private Secretary in 2019, the first step on the ladder to a Ministerial role).
In the meantime, there is no reason to suggest that he won’t continue his backbench work on the Insurance and Financial Services APPG, which he has chaired since 2016, and which gives insurance representatives a forum to discuss the latest developments in the industry. As a former insurance broker, Craig Tracey is a vocal supporter of the insurance industry and its causes.