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.
|Nigel Mills||Amber Valley||Con||1|
|Gary Mulvaney||Argyll & Bute||Con||3|
|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|
|Michael Cox||Christchurch & E Dorset||LD||4|
|Bruce Roberts||Clwyd South||LD||5|
|Teresa Pearce||Erith & Thamesmead||Lab||1|
|Helen Whatley||Faversham & Mid Kent||Con||1|
|Mark Harper||Forest of Dean||Con||1|
|Anita Day||Grantham and Stamford||LD||4|
|Richard Robinson||Hampshire East||LD||3|
|Kit Malthouse||Hampshire North West||Con||1|
|Ruth George||High Peak||Lab||2|
|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|
|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|
|Karen Bradley||Staffs Moorlands||Con||1|
|Therese Coffey||Suffolk Coastal||Con||1|
|Jenny Wilkinson||Sutton Coldfield||LD||4|
|David Mowat||Warrington South||Con||1|
|Paul Roberts||Weaver Vale||LD||4|
|Karen Trench||West Bromwich East||LD||4|
|Robert Buckman||West Bromwich West||Green||4|
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
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.