Yesterday ConservativeHome held its 'Inside David Cameron's Conservatives' conference. We've already unveiled our finding that Cameron and Osborne are considering a joint Downing Street HQ. Over the next fortnight we'll be highlighting other aspects of our research. To get the momentum going we've pasted below some of Jonathan Isaby's key findings on the nature of the next generation of Conservative MPs - the 'Class of 2010':
There will be a big influx of women Conservative MPs...
There are currently 17 female Conservative MPs, of whom 4 are retiring at the next election. But already set to take their place are 10 women amongst the candidates in notionally Conservative-held seats and 31 in the top 116 target seats which, on paper, would deliver a Conservative Commons majority. Of the candidates in the remaining seats in the top 200 Tory targets, a further 18 are women. This would suggest if David Cameron gets a parliamentary majority, in excess of 50 Conservative MPs will be women.
...and an increase in the number who are gay...
It provoked much comment when David Gold became the first openly gay Conservative candidate in 2001; since then only three Conservative MPs have come out as gay, but Nick Boles (pictured) is set to enter Parliament as MP for the ultra-safe Grantham and Stamford and at least half a dozen other openly gay candidates are poised to win seats this time.
...or from an ethnic minority
Two candidates from an ethnic minority have been selected for safe Tory seats - Priti Patel and Helen Grant - with another ten hoping to gain seats currently held by Labour or the Liberal Democrats.
Almost half of the original A-List have got a seat
The controversial priority list of candidates effectively tried to create a fast-track to the better seats for (initially 100) candidates selected by the powers-that-be in the party, of which half were women. Of those original 100 A-Listers, 17 are among the candidates selected for a notionally Conservative seat, with a further 25 standing in target seats.
Persistence will pay off for candidates who stayed put
A number of Conservative MPs were elected in 2005 at their second attempt in the same seat and were found to have benefited from that longer term commitment to the constituency. This is likely to be the case for a significant number of the new intake of Conservative MPs this time as there are more than 40 candidates standing in the seat they contested at the last election - of which 9 contested the same seat in 2001 as well (eg Robert Halfon, pictured).
More and more Conservative MPs will have been local councillors
Furthermore, a considerable number of the new intake will have been helped on their way into Parliament by virtue of long-standing connections with their constituencies. More than 50 already are, or have been, a councillor in part of the seat they hope to represent in Parliament. Additionally, there are dozens of further examples of other candidates with strong local credentials - often with their community activity pre-dating their political involvement.
All ages groups are represented among the candidates
There is an incredibly wide spectrum of ages represented in the candidates standing in these key seats. Of those who gave us a date of birth, 1 was born in the 1930s, 3 were born in the 1940s, 36 were born in the 1950s, 84 were born in the 1960s, 73 were born in the 1970s and 13 were born in the 1980s.
There are still lots of lawyers - but an increase in the representation of other professions and trades
No fewer than 33 of the candidates have been solicitors or barristers - and more have law degrees under their belts as well: it was ever thus. Similarly, many of the new intake will also have wide experience in business. But there would appear to be an increasing number of Conservative MPs who will have experience in teaching or lecturing, farming, the media and the armed forces.
Thatcher's socially mobile children are arriving in Parliament
Reading through the profiles of the new candidates, there are a surprising number talking about their "non-traditional Tory background" and of being inspired by Margaret Thatcher as they grew up on council estates and watched their parents buy their council houses in the 1980s. Many were the first in their family to go to university, whilst over 30 candidates did not go to university at all: many of the new intake will be the very embodiment of social mobility as envisaged by Margaret Thatcher.
Defectors have prospered
Coupled with the point about an influx of MPs from non-traditional Conservative backgrounds, no fewer than 20 candidates have previously been public supporters of - and in some cases candidates for - another political party.
ON THE POLITICAL VIEWS OF THE CLASS OF 2010.