Thursday, 20 June 2024

Laing and Stewart both set for Jobs for life

Campaigners calling for a more accountable parliament have branded reselection of Eleanor Laing and the selection of Rory Stewart a return to business as usual in the Commons. 

The Vote for a Change campaign, which been at the front of calls for a referendum on the voting system at the next election, has offered its congratulations to both candidates on securing ‘Jobs for Life’ in two of the country’s safest seats. [see breakdown below]
Epping Forrest MP Eleanor Laing survived a vote of confidence, winning 83% of the votes at Conservative Association meeting despite having had to repay £25k of expenses and making £1m of tax-free profits selling her taxpayer-funded second home. Former Royal tutor Stewart has been selected for the safe seat of Penrith & the Border.
The campaign is calling for a new voting system that will allow all voters – not just party members – to have a real say on who speaks in their name.
Willie Sullivan from the Vote for a Change campaign said:

“With unemployment hovering at 2½ million it seems two workers at least are able to buck the trend. Hearty congratulations to both Eleanor and Rory for achieving the job security most of us could only dream of.


“The selection of Laing and Stewart reveal two sides of the same problem – super safe seats that produce unshakable incumbents and undefeatable newcomers. In these seats the only meaningful choice on offer rests with the parties. The rest of us may’s well stay at home.


“If Epping Forrest’s Tories want to stand Laing as their candidate, then that’s their choice. But Epping Forrest’s voters have little to no chance of holding her to account come the election. In Penrith & the Border voters have an ‘MP in Waiting’ following the Conservative nomination. The only contest in town has come and gone. Rory is already looking for property in the area – a move no opponent would be foolish enough to make with our fait accompli elections. Opponents would be better off scrabbling around for the bus ticket home, if indeed they bother campaigning at all.


“After all we’ve seen this summer it’s still that the parties aren’t going to sort themselves out. Far too many parts of this country are effectively in the pocket of one party while most of their voters are left without the representation they asked for. It’s high time all voters – not just a select few party hacks – had a real say on who represents them in Westminster.

Graham Williamson for the National Liberal Party said:-


“The NLP argue for a wide variety of improvements to our democracy. We advocate Swiss-style referendums and initiative votes as well as for Proportional representation. We also argue for recall to allow politicians who have lost public confidence to be sacked. The public has lost faith in the current system and the re-selection of Laing and Stewart is yet another nail in the coffin.” 

Based on new boundaries for the next general election, and assuming no swing to the Tories,  Penrith and Border has a notional majority 10,795 –, making it the 32nd Safest Conservative Seat in the UK. It would require a swing of 13% to the Lib Dems to see the Tory candidate defeated.

Epping Forest has a notional majority of 13, 473 making the 11th Safest Tory Seat in the UK. It would take a Labour swing of over 16% to win Epping Forest.



See Rawlings and Thrasher Media Guide to the New Parliamentary Constituencies.

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