An actor on BBC drama Bread, a jazz saxophonist and the consultant behind the ‘GREAT’ Britain campaign are among the 63 newly elected MPs.

Photo of parliament

A third of the new Members of Parliament (MPs) elected in last week’s general election have an arts and culture connection, research by AP shows.

One of the 63 new MPs is actor Giles Watling, now Conservative MP for Clacton, who is best known for playing ‘Oswald’ on the BBC drama Bread between 1988 and 1991.

Sarah Jones, Croydon Central’s new Labour MP, says she “brought the Department for Culture, the Foreign Office, UK Trade and Investment and Visit Britain together to create the concept of the ‘GREAT’ Britain campaign” whilst working at Quiller Consultants.

Among the Liberal Democrats’ eight new MPs are Jo Swinson – the party’s former spokesperson for the arts – and Wera Hobhouse, previously a professional artist.

Information on LinkedIn pages, personal websites, local media stories and publicly available CVs reveals the newcomers’ links to the arts and culture.

Conservative MPs:

  • Andrew Bowie (Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine) – Assistant Conductor/Committee Member at The Garioch Fiddlers Strathspey and Reel Society
  • Ben Bradley (Mansfield) – chaired the City Entertainments Committee whilst on the Executive of the Students Union at Nottingham Trent University
  • Ross Thomson (Aberdeen South) – volunteers at Aberdeen Arts Centre

Labour MPs:

  • Bambos Charalambous (Enfield Southgate) – former director of London Arts Board, formerly Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture, Localism and Young People on Enfield Council
  • David Drew (Stroud) – involved in the transfer of Landsdown Hall and Gallery from the County Council to a social enterprise whilst an MP
  • Rosie Duffield (Canterbury) – writes political satire
  • James Frith (Bury North) – describes himself as “Sport & music nut” on Twitter, and claims to have “toured UK as a member of a working band which I also managed”
  • Darren Jones (Bristol North West) – a jazz saxophonist
  • Stephen Morgan (Portsmouth South) – former chair of the Portsmouth Cultural Consortium; former spokesperson for Culture, Leisure and Sport at Portsmouth City Council
  • Danielle Rowley (Midlothian) – former press officer at Dalkeith Festival
  • Lloyd Russell-Moyle (Brighton Kemptown) – a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Says he has “sat on the boards of a number of companies, educational establishments and programmes related to education, music and co-operation”
  • Paul Sweeney (Glasgow North East) – member of the Board of Directors at Glasgow Building Preservation Trust
  • Paul Williams (Stockton South) – trustee of Arc, Stockton Arts Centre

Liberal Democrat MPs:

  • Ed Davey (Kingston & Surbiton) – Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
  • Stephen Lloyd (Eastbourne) – Organised the Sunshine Carnival in Eastbourne in 2012
  • Layla Moran (Oxford West and Abingdon) – Grade 8 Voice and Cello
  • Vince Cable (Twickenham) – Once scored 36/40 from the judges on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing

The election results have been celebrated for creating the most diverse parliament to date. Notable successes include Preet Gill (Birmingham Edgbaston), the country’s first female Sikh MP, and two disabled Labour MPs, Marsha de Cordova (Battersea) and Jared O’Mara (Sheffield Hallam).

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