George Eustice MP

4 Dec 2012 06:28:54

Leveson debate snapshot: Four Conservative MPs for statutory regulation, eight against

By Paul Goodman
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For statutory regulation

Robert Buckland

George Eustice

Sir Edward Garnier

Zac Goldsmith

Against statutory regulation

Angie Bray

Therese Coffey

Damian Collins

Richard Drax

Kris Hopkins

Peter Lilley

Jacob Rees-Mogg

John Whittingdale

This is, as the headline says, a snapshot.  It doesn't deal with speeches that didn't touch on the regulation debate; nor does it count interventions, and by its nature it compresses a good deal.  For example, Mr Collins, like some other speakers, was against statutory regulation by OFCOM.  And Sir Edward rejected the very term "statutory regulation", preferring "statutory underpinning".

8.30am Update: Ms Coffey has pointed out the thrust of Mr Collins's speech was against statutory regulation, and I have made the necessary change.  Quentin Letts describes her in his sketch today as a "very great lady".

21 Nov 2012 15:57:10

Theresa May, Andrea Leadsom, Liz Truss, Charles Walker and Jesse Norman amongst the stars of the Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year awards

By Matthew Barrett
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Spectator-Logo-resize-395x400Below are the winners of the different categories of the Spectator's Parliamentarian of the Year awards, which were held this afternoon.

  • Newcomer of the Year – Andrea Leadsom MP (Con)
  • Backbencher of the Year – Alistair Darling MP (Lab)
  • Campaigner of the Year – Andy Burnham MP (Lab)
  • Inquisitor of the Year – Margaret Hodge MP (Lab)
  • Speech of the Year – Charles Walker MP (Con) & Kevan Jones MP (Lab)
  • Resignation of the Year – Lord Hill of Oareford (Con)
  • Apology of the Year – Nick Clegg MP (Lib Dem)
  • Resurrection of the Year – Sir George Young MP (Con)
  • Minister to Watch – Elizabeth Truss MP (Con)
  • Double Act of the Year – Edward Davey MP (Lib Dem) & John Hayes MP (Con)
  • Peer of the Year – Rt Revd Justin Welby
  • Minister of the Year – Theresa May MP (Con)
  • Parliamentarian of the Year – Jesse Norman MP (Con)
  • Politician of the Year – Boris Johnson (Con)

Three names especially strike me: Jesse Norman, Andrea Leadsom and Theresa May.

Jesse Norman deserves relentless praise for his defence of our constitution against the offensive, mandate-lacking desire of some in the Coalition to see the House of Lords destroyed. But Mr Norman is far from being a mere skilled rebel. He is a serious economic and philosophical thinker, and a remarkable talent on the backbenches. His award is richly deserved.

Continue reading "Theresa May, Andrea Leadsom, Liz Truss, Charles Walker and Jesse Norman amongst the stars of the Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year awards" »

5 Jun 2012 10:39:36

Tory MPs George Eustice and Andrea Leadsom welcome Open Europe's suggestion of £33bn cut in EU budget

By Tim Montgomerie
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Tory MPs from the Fresh Start Group that is trying to reforge Britain's relationship with the EU (recently profiled by my colleague Matthew Barrett) have welcomed a report from the Open Europe think tank that argues that big reductions are possible in the EU budget.

Austerity may be stalking the whole of the continent but the EU recently demanded a 6.2% increase in its own resources. The summits, dinners and other talking shops mentioned earlier by Martin Callanan don't come cheap. More expensive is the escalating cost of EU staffers. "Expenditure on MEPs’ salaries and allowances has increased by 77.5 per cent since 2005 and cost £154million in 2012, excluding pensions and transitional allowances." The Daily Mail continues:

"Expenditure on Commission staff salaries has risen by 17.9 per cent since 2005 and now totals £1.7billion.  Spending on schooling for children of EU officials currently stands at £137million, and is set for an increase in 2013 of 6.8 per cent."

Open Europe's alternative budget (can't find it online) includes scrapping a range of quangoes and also the second European Parliament in Strasbourg which France demands we keep but serves no useful function and costs European taxpayers £146 million. The think tank estimates 30% or £33 billion could, in total, be cut from the EU's unaudited budget.

Andrea Leadsom of the Fresh Start Group urged the British Government to be "far more aggressive in [its] negotiating position" on the EU Budget.

George Eustice MP added*:

“For too long the EU has decided what it wants to spend first and then simply expected member states to give it the money it wants. It needs to learn to work to a budget, to cut its cloth accordingly and to accept that it will have a complete freeze in income for the foreseeable future.”

* Quoted in The Times.

28 May 2012 06:23:29

What is the Fresh Start Project? Matthew Barrett profiles the Tory MPs trying to forge a new UK-EU relationship

By Matthew Barrett
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My series profiling the backbench groups of Tory MPs has usually featured groups with general ideological goals. Groups representing the traditional right or Thatcherite wing of the Party cannot be said to focus on a single area of political life. Nor can newer groups like the Free Enterprise Group, or the 2020 Conservatives. However, Fresh Start, the subject of this profile, is focused on one big area of politics: Europe.

Origins of Fresh Start

Fresh Start was formed before the summer recess in 2011, and formally launched in September last year, at an event to which all Conservative MPs were invited. Anthony Browne, in his ConservativeHome column, reported on the launch of Fresh Start at the time:

"By one count there were 104 Conservative MPs; another put it at 120 – twice the total number of Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons. Either way, it was standing room only in the Thatcher Room in Portcullis House last night, as much of the parliamentary Conservative party (and the odd hanger-on like me) met to discuss Britain’s way forward with the European Union."


The founders are Andrea Leadsom, Chris Heaton-Harris, and George Eustice, all 2010 intake members:

  • Leadsom, the Member of Parliament for South Northamptonshire, had a career in the City prior to entering politics, having been Financial Institutions Director at Barclays Bank, Managing Director of a London hedge fund and then, Head of Corporate Governance for Invesco Perpetual. Leadsom runs Fresh Start and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for European Reform (see below) from her office, and has regular co-ordinating messages with Heaton-Harris and Eustice.
  • Heaton-Harris, from Daventry, which neighbours Leadsom's constituency, was a Member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands region from 1999 until 2009. He was an advocate of reform and helped found the Campaign for Parliamentary Reform (CPR). Heaton-Harris also helped publicise the case of Marta Andreasen, now a UKIP MEP, who, as the European Commission's Chief Accountant, complained about fraud and waste in the European institutions in 2002. 
  • Eustice is the Member of Parliament for Camborne and Redruth, and was a UKIP candidate for the South West of England region at the 1999 European Parliament elections. He has also been Campaign Director for the cross-party campaign against the €uro in 2000, Head of Press for Michael Howard during the 2005 election, and Press Secretary for David Cameron from when Cameron launched his leadership campaign until he was well established as leader, at the end of 2008. Eustice also played a key role in the Conservative effort to win a "no" vote in the AV referendum.

Continue reading "What is the Fresh Start Project? Matthew Barrett profiles the Tory MPs trying to forge a new UK-EU relationship" »

15 May 2012 15:45:08

Tomorrow's 1922 Committee Elections - nominations in full

By Paul Goodman
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8.45pm Update by Matthew Barrett: I have now learned which candidates are being backed by the traditional organisations on the right of the Conservative Party, such as the No Turning Back group. I have highlighted these in purple.


The following have been returned unopposed:-




Posts for which elections will take place (I have marked those previously identified by Tim as members of the 301 slate in blue):

1) Secretary - the following nominations have been received for TWO posts:


2) Executive members - the following nominations have been received for TWELVE posts.

PRITI PATEL - Priti Patel is being backed by both the 301 group, and the right of the Party.

Finally and separately, the following nominations have been received for Conservative members of the Backbench Business Committee - four posts:


14 May 2012 12:07:22

The People's Pledge announce shortlist of 39 constituencies for new European referendums

By Matthew Barrett
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4pm update: People's Pledge sources tells me that Anne Marie Morris, the MP for Newton Abbot has come out in support of a referendum

Mike Freer, the MP for Finchley and Golders Green, has also backed a referendum. This is significant because Freer was not one of the 81 rebels, but has now come round to the view that Britain should have an in/out European referendum. 

These two new additions to the list of MPs supporting the People's Pledge means 68 MPs - from several parties - back a referendum. 


PeoplesPledge2Following on from their successful referendum campaign in Thurrock - turnout was higher than in the recent local elections - The People's Pledge campaign have announced further referendums, to be held in 3 contiguous seats. The campaign has announced a shortlist of 39 seats, grouped in 13 contiguous triples, from different regions, from which one triplet will be chosen in the next few days, with a polling date set for late July.

Continue reading "The People's Pledge announce shortlist of 39 constituencies for new European referendums" »

17 Apr 2012 07:59:19

What is the 40 group? Matthew Barrett profiles the MPs trying to keep hold of the most marginal Tory seats

By Matthew Barrett
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I recently profiled the 2020 and Free Enterprise groups of Tory MPs. Those two groups are formed by ideology: MPs are attracted to the groups because, in the case of the Free Enterprise Group, members wish to open up markets and make Britain business-friendly enough to compete with other world class economies. The 2020's members want to renew and refresh Project Cameron, while considering how the country should look after a majority Conservative government.

The 40 is rather different as it is a group of MPs brought together solely by necessity - the members are those MPs who were elected in 2010 with the narrowest majorities in the Party.

Origins of the group and key members


The group was founded early last year by Eric Ollerenshaw (Lancaster and Fleetwood), Graham Evans (Weaver Vale), and David Mowat (Warrington South). There is no rigid structure to the group as such, given its non-ideological purpose, but when it meets, the convener is usually David Mowat. Other key "executive" members of the group include Evans and Ollerenshaw, as well as Amber Rudd (Hastings and Rye), James Morris (Halesowen and Rowley Regis) and Ben Gummer (Ipswich).

Continue reading "What is the 40 group? Matthew Barrett profiles the MPs trying to keep hold of the most marginal Tory seats" »

21 Mar 2012 05:57:45

What is the Free Enterprise Group? Matthew Barrett profiles the most influential new gathering of Tory MPs

Free Enterprise GroupBy Matthew Barrett
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The Forty. The 301. The 2020. These are some of the groups formed by Conservative MPs after the last general election. Most are largely made up of, or driven by, 2010-intake MPs. Over the next few weeks, I'll be profiling some of these groups. 

Today, we kick off with the Free Enterprise Group (FEG). The FEG is considered influential by sources at the Treasury, and George Osborne is said to think very highly of it, regarding it as the most important of the new groups to emerge. 

Origins of the Group: The group initially formed out of concern at the anti-free market atmosphere that has developed in the last few years. The behaviour of the last government, in cosying up to big business cartels and corporatist interests, often gave people a mistakenly bad impression of the free market that didn't necessarily exist twenty years ago. Polling suggests 21st-century Britons are less receptive towards free enterprise than the Chinese, Americans and Germans. There is also a wider cause - making Britain globally competitive again. The FEG's website highlights startling statistics about our place in the world: the fact that we are now 83rd in the world for regulation, 94th for taxation, and so on. This concern derives not just from the fact that we are being overtaken by emerging markets like Brazil, but also established Western economies, like Germany, have become more free market than Britain.

Continue reading "What is the Free Enterprise Group? Matthew Barrett profiles the most influential new gathering of Tory MPs" »

15 Mar 2012 12:34:10

Tory George Eustice is the fastest MP in Westminster

By Tim Montgomerie
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Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt (pictured) was one of forty or so MPs and peers from all parties who ran yesterday's Westminster Mile - a race to raise funds for Sport Relief. The winner, though, was another Tory MP, George Eustice. He beat last year's winner David Davies into second place. The Monmouth MP would probably beat George, however, in a boxing contest! Others taking up the challenge for Sport Relief included Alun Cairns MP for Vale of Glamorgan, Rob Wilson MP for Reading East and Karen Bradley MP for Staffordshire Moorlands.

31 Jan 2012 18:15:43

Cameron today: Off the hook on the veto. On it over more IMF money.

By Paul Goodman
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Last year, the Prime Minister flew to Brussels amidst rumour of a leadership challenge if he didn't achieve at least a token repatriation of power.

Today, he faced the Commons not only with no such repatriation realised but with his veto - so rapturously greeted at the time by Conservative MPs - arguably valueless, since it's now clear that he won't challenge the principle of the EU institutions being used to enforce the F.U agreement.

Yet there was no mass revolt from his backbenches, and no revival to date of the leadership challenge rumours.  What explains this change in the Tory atmosphere?  I hope to explore the question in detail soon, but will for the moment rest with an answer I've cited before.

Continue reading "Cameron today: Off the hook on the veto. On it over more IMF money." »

22 Oct 2011 16:44:52

22 MPs have signed George Eustice's compromise EU motion

By Tim Montgomerie
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22 Tory MPs have signed George Eustice's amendment to the current motion on an EU referendum. The names are as follows: 

  1. George Eustice
  2. Andrea Leadsom
  3. Guto Bebb
  4. Mike Freer
  5. Mark Garnier
  6. Amber Rudd
  7. Sarah Newton
  8. Richard Fuller
  9. Mr Steve Brine
  10. Jackie Doyle-Price
  11. Charlie Elphicke
  12. Margot James
  13. Simon Kirby
  14. Karen Lumley
  15. Claire Perry
  16. James Wharton
  17. Nadhim Zahawi
  18. Gavin Williamson
  19. Paul Maynard
  20. David Mowat
  21. Steven Mosley
  22. David Morris

As Paul Goodman tweets that equals about 90 MPs not backing Government's position:

Screen shot 2011-10-22 at 17.16.22

It should be noted that two of the names above signed the original David Nuttall motion; David Mowat and Steven Mosley. This reduces the declared number of Nuttall supporters to 66 although I'm aware of three more MPs likely to support Nuttall in the next 48 hours. As Paul tweets, however, if you add the Eustice number to the Nuttall number you get to 90. But I can't imagine loyalists like Nadhim Zahawi backing Nuttall.

I'm also intriqued to see Claire Perry backing the Eustice amendment. She's now a PPS. What does she think she's doing?

21 Oct 2011 12:10:40

In open letter, Bernard Jenkin MP rejects George Eustice's EU compromise motion

Jenkin Bernard Sep 2011Yesterday George Eustice proposed a compromise amendment on the EU debate scheduled for Monday. Bernard Jenkin MP has sent a public reply to him, rejecting his amendment:

"Dear George,

I think we all appreciate your and others’ efforts to build bridges here, but I feel I must make it clear to colleagues why I (and probably most colleagues) cannot support the amendment as drafted.  I am copying this to backbench colleagues.

Firstly, David Nuttall’s motion sums up the EU question which faces the nation: do we carry on with EU integration on present terms of membership; or get out altogether; or renegotiate revised terms of membership?  Your amendment seeks to narrow the terms of the debate by removing reference to one option which is clearly available to this country, which is to leave the EU.  I personally don’t agree with an in-out referendum, but I recognise that that it is a legitimate option to be debated.  The argument that this was not in our manifesto is irrelevant.

Second, you advance your amendment on the basis that it is consistent with the coalition agreement, but this is not relevant either.  Both the coalition agreement and our manifesto have both been overtaken by events.  Support for fiscal union in the Euro area was not in either – and would have never have been entertained if it had been proposed for either document.  It is fiscal union which is leading to a fundamental change in the character of the EU, and which has given rise to the demand for this debate.

Third, as a supporter of renegotiation, why am I not tempted by your amendment?  Because any remit for renegotiation must set out the objective of establishing a new relationship with our EU partners.  For such a new relationship to be meaningful, there must be a fundamental change in that relationship. It must restore the basic democratic principle that the authority to pass laws should be democratically accountable to those who are affected by them.  The powers delegated to the EU (or withdrawn) must in future be determined by Parliament, and not by the EU institutions acting autonomously.  Without this, nothing much will change.  The difficulty we now face is that the EU Treaties are now so all encompassing, and the institutions so assertive, that the exercise of merely nibbling back powers and competences here and there would not reverse the effect of the Lisbon Treaty on the UK, or Nice, or Amsterdam, or Maastricht, or the Single European Act, or address the fundamental problems which actually arise from the Treaty of Rome.

Finally, there is a great danger that Parliament will emerge from this looking very out of touch if the House is not to debate the original motion or at least something which reflects its spirit.  The BBBC [Backbench Business Committee] adopted this motion in response to the e-petitions which demand an in-out EU referendum.  Had the authors of the amendment approached the BBBC with their motion, it would not have been entertained by the BBBC, since there are no e-petitions behind it.  If this amendment were to be selected, the debate and the vote which followed would be on the amendment, and not on the main motion – hardly an example of e-petitions working as they were intended!"

Meanwhile the original EU referendum motion has attracted its 66th signature from a Tory MP.

12 Oct 2011 06:57:00

'Fresh Start Project' publishes goal of new UK-EU relationship

By Tim Montgomerie
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On the 12th September more than one hundred Tory MPs met for the first ever meeting of the Fresh Start Project. The launch meeting of that new Eurosceptic grouping was reported at the time by Anthony Browne. Two Labour MPs have now agreed to caucus with the group - Frank Field and Gisela Stuart.

The Fresh Start Project's mission has been sent to ConHome: 

"UK citizens want co-operation and free commerce with our EU partners, but a majority believes that too much power has been transferred to the EU; in areas ranging from policing to employment law, from Health and Safety to petty regulation, our citizens want more control over their own lives.

The euro-zone crisis threatens to overturn the historic agreement that tax and spending are the sole responsibility of national governments. This makes the time ripe for a new relationship with our EU partners, in which the UK can take more decisions and Brussels fewer; this would be in line with the basic principle that the authority to pass laws should be democratically accountable to those who are affected by them.

MPs across all parties are determined to work together to:

  1. examine the options for a new UK-EU relationship that would better serve the interests of UK citizens
  2. examine the options for a new UK-EU relationship that would better serve the interests of UK citizens
  3. set out what this new relationship could look like and
  4. establish a process for achieving the change."


"Today, Europe is an issue that unites Conservatives rather than one which divides us."

"At times of crisis, the future belongs to those with both a viable plan and the political will to press for that plan to be adopted.  Now that the EU’s flagship policy, the euro, is in crisis it is a time for Britain to show leadership in Europe and to demonstrate what the EU should be for in the 21st century.  It is not a time to try to avoid discussion.

Continue reading "'Fresh Start Project' publishes goal of new UK-EU relationship" »

28 Jun 2011 19:36:23

Tory MPs voiced their scepticism about an elected second chamber during yesterday's debate in the Commons

By Jonathan Isaby
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I have already covered Conor Burns' sideswipe at Lord Heseltine from the debate on Lords reform, but what else happened during the debate?

Overall, one got the impression that (with a few exceptions) the Conservative benches were highly sceptical about an elected second chamber - including many who are usually deemed to be supporters of the Government.

Later in his speech, Conor Burns spoke in favour of the status quo - ie a fully appointed chamber - and then considered what parties had promised in their manifestos:

"I wish to deal briefly with the argument that reform was in every party’s manifesto. It was, to some degree, and the Liberal Democrats, who had the most pro-reform manifesto commitment, got 23% of the vote in the general election. Labour, which was slightly more lukewarm, got 29%, and the Conservatives, who were the most lukewarm, got 36%. There is almost an argument that if we want to do things on the basis of what was in the manifestos, we should remember that the most people voted for the party that was most lukewarm on the issue. We have to ask ourselves, as at the time of Maastricht, when all three Front-Bench teams are united on something, how do those who dissent make their view known?

Continue reading "Tory MPs voiced their scepticism about an elected second chamber during yesterday's debate in the Commons" »

19 Jun 2011 16:18:35

Majority of the 50 most "cost-efficient" MPs are Conservatives

By Matthew Barrett
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HoCThe company Key Business Insight's "Commons Performance Cockpit" ranks MPs by their total cost - that is, staffing costs, travel expenses, office costs, salary, and so on. The majority of the 50 "most efficient" MPs, in terms of total cost, are Conservatives. 

The top 50 "most efficient" MPs between 1st April, 2010 and 31st March, 2011 are listed below:

  1. Dan Jarvis (Labour, Barnsley Central) £5,457*
  2. Deborah Abrahams (Labour, Oldham East and Saddleworth) £12,472**
  3. Eric Illsley (Labour, Barnsley Central) £57,485***
  4. Zac Goldsmith (Conservative, Richmond Park) £59,242
  5. Rushanara Ali (Labour, Bethnal Green and Bow) £59,242
  6. Ben Gummer (Conservative, Ipswich) £60,422
  7. Gavin Shuker (Labour, Luton South) £60,687
  8. George Eustice (Conservative, Camborne and Redruth) £60,692
  9. Sam Gyimah (Conservative, East Surrey) £60,899
  10. Matthew Offord (Conservative, Hendon) £61,077
  11. Anne-Marie Morris (Conservative, Newton Abbot) £61,292
  12. Teresa Pearce (Labour, Erith and Thamesmead) £61,776
  13. Mark Reckless (Conservative, Rochester and Strood) £61,780
  14. Guy Opperman (Conservative, Hexham) £61,857
  15. Gemma Doyle (Labour, West Dunbartonshire) £62,324
  16. Christopher Pincher (Conservative, Tamworth) £62,583
  17. Stella Creasy (Labour, Walthamstow)  £63,510
  18. Ian Paisley, Jnr (Democratic Unionist, North Antrim) £64,755
  19. Richard Drax (Conservative, South Dorset)  £65,102
  20. Owen Smith (Labour, Pontypridd) £65,157
  21. Damian Hinds (Conservative, East Hampshire) £65,365
  22. Julian Huppert (Liberal Democrat, Cambridge) £65,396
  23. Kwasi Kwarteng (Conservative, Spelthorne) £65,571
  24. Gavin Barwell (Conservative, Croydon Central)  £65,651
  25. Jonathan Lord (Conservative, Woking) £66,162
  26. Rebecca Harris (Conservative, Castle Point) £66,576
  27. Anas Sarwar (Labour, Glasgow Central) £67,630
  28. Andrea Leadsom (Conservative, South Northamptonshire)  £67,940
  29. Claire Perry (Conservative, Devizes) £68,047
  30. Sajid Javid (Conservative, Bromsgrove)  £68,171
  31. Sarah Newton (Conservative, Truro and Falmouth) £68,172
  32. Conor Burns (Conservative, Bournemouth West) £68,443
  33. Eric Ollerenshaw (Conservative, Lancaster and Fleetwood)  £68,624
  34. Margaret Ritchie (SDLP, South Down) £68,705
  35. Rehman Chisti (Conservative, Gillingham and Rainham) £68,917
  36. Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist, Strangford)  £69,063
  37. Liz Kendall (Labour, Leicester West) £69,147
  38. George Hollingberry (Conservative, Meon Valley) £69,251
  39. Alok Sharma (Conservative, Reading West)  £69,273
  40. Chris Kelly (Conservative, Dudley South) £70,316
  41. Angie Bray (Conservative, Ealing Central and Acton) £70,334
  42. Naomi Long (Alliance, Belfast East) £70,581
  43. Kate Green (Labour, Stretford and Urmston)  £70,619
  44. Margot James (Conservative, Stourbridge)  £70,755
  45. Pamela Nash (Labour, Airdrie and Shotts) £70,842
  46. Jack Dromey (Labour, Birmingham Erdington)  £70,912
  47. Kris Hopkins (Conservative, Keighley)  £70,944
  48. Stephen Metcalfe (Conservative, South Basildon and East Thurrock) £70,966
  49. Shabana Mahmood (Labour, Birmingham Ladywood) £71,072
  50. Tristram Hunt (Labour, Stoke-on-Trent Central) £71,269

*Took his seat on 3rd March, 2011
**Took her seat on 13th January, 2011
***Resigned his seat on 8th February, 2011