Election 2017: The accountancy candidates

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The Liberal Democrats are challenging Conservative dominance within the profession by fielding almost as many candidates with an accounting background. But how many of them are likely to make it to Westminster?

Overall, 2017 has seen a slight drop in parliamentary contenders from the profession since 2015. Labour and UKIP suffered the biggest losses, with just four Labour accountants in the race this year after the party fielded a dozen last time out.

This decline could be due to the Corbyn effect, with Labour’s leftward turn after the last election alienating politically ambitious accountants.

The Lib Dems are picking up the slack in this year’s campaign and are just behind the Tories with 19 accountants standing compared to 21 Conservatives. The Green Party is also proving attractive to beancounters and has three accountants in the running.

UKIP’s decline since the 2016 referendum is reflected by a dearth of candidates overall. When looking for accountant candidates, only Fiona Mills is left flying the flag for the party in Carlisle in contrast to the five accountants who stood as UKIP candidates in 2015.

Tory accountants dominate Westminster

Tory accountants are way ahead at Westminster with 16 accountant-MPs running for re-election. It's worth keeping an eye on some of the accountants who were elected in 2010, as they have been rising through the ranks during the intervening years. Justine Greening landed an impressive position for a newbie as economic secretary to the Treasury in 2010, but has kicked around other ministries including transport, overseas development and education since being moved on in the 2011 reshuffle.

Elizabeth (Liz) Truss is hardly the most thrilling political performer, but landed the prestigious post of secretary of state for justice last year. CIMA-trained Theresa Coffey has progressed from assistant chief whip in the Coalition government to become deputy leader of the house in 2015.

The only other accountants representing the profession in the last Parliament were three Scottish Nationalists, Labour’s Teresa Pearce and Lib Dem Sarah Olney, who ousted Zac Goldsmith in last year’s Richmond Park by-election.

Some Liberals and Greens are hoping their chances will be boosted by tactical anti-Tory voting, but the chances are very slim of such upsets among accountancy’s parliamentary representatives. Lucy Allan, who won Telford for the Tories with a 39.6% share in 2015 could be vulnerable, and possibly Craig Mackinley who did very well to beat UKIP leader Nigel Farage in South Thanet last time out.

Looking down the candidate list below, most of accountancy’s Lib Dem faction will have to overcome the handicap of the party’s disastrous 2015 showing, with many running in constituencies where they came fourth or worse in 2015. One of these brave souls is Bruce Roberts, who is running again in the Labour stronghold of Clwyd South. At the last election, he wrote a piece for AccountingWEB about Running for Parliament while running a practice.

Accountant candidates standing in 2017

List is alphabetically sorted by constituency name.

Candidate Constituency Party 2015
Nigel Mills Amber Valley Con 1
Gary Mulvaney Argyll & Bute Con 3
Ann-Marie Trevelyan Berwick-on-Tweed Con 1
Duncan Royal Blackpool North & Cleveleys Green 5
Nick Gibb Bognor Regis Con 1
Joe Bourke Brentford & Isleworth LD 4
Stephen Williams Bristol West LD 3
Robert Largan Bury South Con 2
Fiona Mills Carlisle UKIP 3
Michael Cox Christchurch & E Dorset LD 4
Bruce Roberts Clwyd South LD 5
Chris Stanbra Corby LD 4
Teresa Pearce Erith & Thamesmead Lab 1
Helen Whatley Faversham & Mid Kent Con 1
Mark Harper Forest of Dean Con 1
Peter Grant Glenrothes SNP 1
Anita Day Grantham and Stamford LD 4
Richard Robinson Hampshire East LD 3
Kit Malthouse Hampshire North West Con 1
Geoffrey Seeff Harlow LD 5
Ruth George High Peak Lab 2
Charles Dundas Livingston LD 5
Richard Flowers Macclesfield LD 4
Owen Thompson Midlothian SNP 1
Tahir Maher Milton Keynes South LD 4
Claire Mathys Mitcham & Morden LD 5
Paul Kennedy Mole Valley LD 2
Marion Fellows Motherwell & Wishaw SNP 1
Elizabeth Truss Norfolk SW Con 1
Hugh Lanham Norwich North LD 5
Luke Graham Ochil & South Perthshire Con 3
Justine Greening Putney Con 1
Alok Sharma Reading West Con 1
Sarah Olney Richmond Park LD 1
Jane Berney Saffron Walden Lab 3
Craig Mackinley South Thanet Con 1
Jack Easton St Albans Green 5
Jeremy Lefroy Stafford Con 1
Karen Bradley Staffs Moorlands Con 1
Kim Caddy Streatham Con 2
Therese Coffey Suffolk Coastal Con 1
Jenny Wilkinson Sutton Coldfield LD 4
Lucy Allan Telford Con 1
David Mowat Warrington South Con 1
Paul Roberts Weaver Vale LD 4
Peter Bone Wellingborough Con 1
Karen Trench West Bromwich East LD 4
Robert Buckman West Bromwich West Green 4
Alex Williams Wigan Con 2
Julian Tisi Windsor LD 4
Andy Croy Wokingham Lab 2

Our list is by no means complete. If you are aware of any accountant candidates who are standing for parliament, let us know by commenting below

About John Stokdyk

John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight

AccountingWEB’s Head of Insight has been with the site since 1999 and likes to spend his time studying accountants’ technology habits. When not nerding out, you can find him exploring obscure indie music and searching for the perfect organic sourdough loaf from his base in Brighton, UK.


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02nd Jun 2017 09:52

Yeah, My MP (on the above list) didn't even respond to communications about MTD. Guess he's not too interested in accountancy anymore.

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02nd Jun 2017 10:12

I am standing for Labour in Saffron Walden. I am a fellow of ICAEW

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By mabzden
02nd Jun 2017 11:12

Good luck Jane.

But shouldn't you be out canvassing? ;-)

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to mabzden
02nd Jun 2017 11:37

I thought social media was the way to get your message over these days, certainly the SNP surge was predicated on its strong web presence; wearing out the soles of one's shoes is so yesterday.

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05th Jun 2017 10:44

I have communicated with two of our candidates through social media. I don't remember the last time I had a knock on the door from a candidate - possibly because the incumbent is too comfortable and the opposition know this. My husband has met one of them at the local shops. I was in a different area of the country at the weekend and the Labour party had a very strong presence in the city centre. Surely this is a more effective way these days, rather than knocking on people's doors - with many people having notices on their doors instructing them not to.
In any other situation, I would say that the current Government should see Brexit through as it is such a monumentally important process but I can't condone the Tories being in charge of the farce that is their policy on disability and many other policies that affect the poorer end of the social scale.

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By mabzden
to bendybod
05th Jun 2017 12:10

I'm involved with one of the parties locally and we've been out knocking on doors for several few weeks. Social media is a bonus but what you really want is a list of people who say they're going to vote for you. You can only get this by asking them face to face.

If someone does knock on your door it's worth telling them your complaints, even if they're not the candidate. They'll report your whinge back to the candidate, and they'll in turn tell head office about the issues people are ranting about on the doorstep.

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to mabzden
02nd Jun 2017 12:35


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02nd Jun 2017 10:15

Jo Fitzgerald, the Green candidte for Stockton South discribes herself as: "self employed New Business and Accounting Consultant."
I'm not sure if she is a qualified accountant.

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02nd Jun 2017 11:07

Does anybody know whose idea was MTD? I can't believe with so many accountants involved in governmet this stupid idea is still proceeding!!!

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By GrayMan
02nd Jun 2017 11:19

Anyone can call themselves an accountant, and the truth is even qualified accountants usually ask the client to sign a certificate on the retained copy of the accounts stating "These accounts are authorised for submission to the Inland Revenue" prior to submitting the accounts and tax computations to the tax office. This over rides any certificate on the accounts and puts responsibility for errors firmly back with the client.

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By dwgw
02nd Jun 2017 11:26

Mr MacKinlay has just been charged with offences under the Representation of the People Act. The election expenses fraud investigation isn't over.

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to dwgw
02nd Jun 2017 11:35

Thanks dwgw, I was so mired in checking candidate details that I completely missed the news.

Since this matter is now subjudice, we can't say much more than you have about Craig MacKinlay - but I've now posted a piece on our news pages summarising what we can say about the case:

It certainly makes the race in South Thanet one to watch again in 2017!

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By Harlan
02nd Jun 2017 12:12

It's precisely because of my accountancy and business expertise that I enthusiastically endorse Corbyn's Labour in GE2017, and I don't appreciate the article's lazy and sneering suggestion to the contrary.

Accountancy's historic domination by conservative old-boys who base their careers on their connections rather than a talent is a drag on the economy that the profession ought to be addressing, not wallowing in.

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to Harlan
02nd Jun 2017 12:36

Hear Hear!

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02nd Jun 2017 13:24

I'm sorry for offending Harlan and Jane, but I wouldn't say I was "sneering" at anyone in the piece. The article pointed out that the number of accountants standing for Labour has plummeted from 12 in 2015 to four this year.

In an effort to explain this drop, I don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility that the more socialist slant to Corbyn's policies might not appeal to Labour accountants.

Jane, if you're not too busy, I'd love to hear your counter argument.

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to John Stokdyk
02nd Jun 2017 13:44

I'm not offended and to be honest I don't think you can read anything into the change in the number of accountants standing for Labour.

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By Harlan
to John Stokdyk
02nd Jun 2017 16:36

It's hard to set out a counter argument when you haven't presented any argument at all, merely presented your own opinion and expected it to be taken as self-evident fact. On one level I just don't see why you think it's significant that the percentage of Labour candidates who you believe to be accountants has "plummeted" from under 2% to under 1%.

But speaking as an accountant, the Labour policies of a properly-funded NHS, a school system that is not collapsing and facing yet further cuts, and a halt to the Conservative's no-deal brexit built on rampant nationalism at incalculable social and economic cost are as appealing to me as they are to any decent member of society in any walk of life.

I waited over two hours for an ambulance for my toddler when he had a 40 degree temperature and seizures, and the hospital on which we were taken is to be downgraded under Conservative plans. Should the prospect of legalised fox-hunting or whatever nasty bauble the Conservatives promise blind me to the fact that we all depend on functional public services, and are grievously harmed by the bitterly-divided society that they foster?

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02nd Jun 2017 12:51

Whoopee - the usual choice between crony-capitalists or totalo-statists.

Not a single libertarian among the bloody lot.

No wonder the profession's spiralling down the Bazalgette.

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By tedbuck
02nd Jun 2017 12:55

Well - that is interesting! Could any rational being support Jeremy Corbyn's view of the world?

One would have thought that accountants would have been anti any crew whose main object is to spend money that isn't there just to catch a few votes.

I expect that if JC gets in they may live to regret their decisions to support him. He is a 'nice' convincing person but it's all fluff and underneath he is a relic of the 1960s hippy culture.

Dear Me - what are we coming to when such as he could even be seriously considered for office. I should have thought T May was left enough for any Labour voter. Who are the Lib Dems?

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to tedbuck
02nd Jun 2017 13:09

@ted buck, I feel the same way about May.

Can anyone seriously vote for 5 more years of spitting in the face of the poor and dismantling public services for private profit*?

But people are doing so.

*overdramatic post to balance the one above

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02nd Jun 2017 13:12

@John, if I was standing for a party, I would certainly not be alienated by JC.

His stance on corporation tax is bang on in my opinion.

Just because you add up accounts for a living doesn't mean you cant think of your fellow man. Indeed I think I was far more right wing when I was in my 20's than I am now and financially comfortable.

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to ireallyshouldknowthisbut
02nd Jun 2017 13:51

For the many not the few - that's why I'm standing as a Labour candidate

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02nd Jun 2017 15:01

Jane, as an ICAEW member I assume that you've raised significant concerns over the whole MTD debacle? Have you had many constituants approach you over this? It would be interesting to hear your position and thoughts on it and what you've actioned to date.

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to Sheepy306
02nd Jun 2017 16:08

No one has asked me but then I'm not a tax specialist. I understand that ICAEW's Tax Faculty is doing a lot of work on MTD

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02nd Jun 2017 16:59

Oh, I see.

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By 356B
02nd Jun 2017 16:25

Ruth George, worked for USDAW:
Andy Croy was a teacher and now works for Astella Pharma:

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