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The next Parliament will have an unprecedented number of new MPs with local government experience, according to res...
The next Parliament will have an unprecedented number of new MPs with local government experience, according to research given exclusively to LGC.

Research by the Public Policy Unit consultancy has shown that of the 175 people likely to be entering Parliament for the first time after the general election, 83 will have current or recent local government experience.

This breaks down to 60 local government-linked Labour candidates out of 97 likely winners, 16 Tories out of 61 and seven Liberal Democrats out of 12.

The Local Government Association hopes this will greatly increase its ability to sell local government's case to the main political parties, whoever wins.

The heavy bias to Labour reflects its expected electoral gains, its domination of town halls and the party's tendency to select people well-known in their local area.

The rise of local government as the recruiting ground for Labour Parliamentary candidates also reflects the decline in the number of trade unionists selected following the party's move to one member, one vote selection procedures.

The relatively low number of Tories reflects their decimation in recent local government elections, and their bias towards selecting people with national rather than local reputations.

The seven Liberal Democrats with council experience - likely to make up around a third of the party's MPs - reflects the party's high regard for its local politicians.

Labour council figures likely to take up Parliamentary seats include ex-Kinnock confidante Charles Clarke, a former Hackney councillor and now an adviser to the Association of District Councils, Lancashire CC leader.

Louise Ellman, Association of Metropolitan Authorities deputy chair Margaret Moran, former Manchester City Council leader Graham Stringer, Local Government Information Unit chair Phyllis Starkey, adviser on Labour local government policy and former Southampton City Council leader Professor Alan Whitehead, and former Greater London Council deputy leader and now Association of London Government secretary John McDonnell.

Professor Whitehead told LGC: 'There is a suspicion in local government circles that parties tend to talk local when in opposition and become instant centralists when in government. This time I am convinced it will be different.'

The Tories include former Brent LBC leader Bob Blackman, who said the new intake would raise the profile of local government in Parliament.

Barnet LBC member Sheila Scott, Conservative candidate for the tough Labour seat of Stoke on Trent South, said: 'Local government is a good grounding for Parliament. I'm used to constituents. I'm also used to the disappointments because it's difficult to always help people. I don't believe I would go native.'

Liberal Democrats include Andrew Stunnell, a key officer in the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors.

Mr Stunnell said he hoped the new intake would redress the balance between central and local government.

This influx of councillors could be a great asset to the LGA in trying to influence MPs' perceptions of local government.

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