While the various parties are busy publicising their manifestos, AccountingWEB gathered information into what accountancy candidates are standing in next month's general election.
In 2010, more than 50 accountant candidates with links to the profession stood for the election.
Like the Conservatives, the ICAEW are the profession's dominant party - but unlike the Tories the institute enjoys a clear majority among accountancy's sitting MPs. In terms of overall representation at Westminster, the Accountancy Party would be junior to the Lib Dems, but with three cabinet ministers and a couple of government whips in place at the end of the parliamentary session, they wield wield significant influence.
In 2010 nearly half of the accountants who we identified to be running were Conservatives, with 20 Liberal Democrats, six Labour, one UKIP, one SNP and one Green. In all 10 new accountants were voted in - nine Lib Dems and one Tory. In addition, a further 16 retained their seats.
The existing MPs who are standing again are:
- Peter Bone, Wellingborough, Conservative Bone qualified as a chartered accountant in 1976 and is a member of the ICAEW. Wellingborough was one of Labour’s top 10 targets in 2010 as Bone only won the seat with a slim 687 vote majority in ’05. But Labour’s schemes were scuppered when increased his vote by 11% to achieve a 11,787 majority.
- Karen Bradley, Staffordshire Moorlands, Conservative Boundary changes helped drain support away from incumbent Labour MP Charlotte Atkins to give Bradley a crushing victory in 2010. A chartered accountant and tax adviser, Bradley was made a member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee in 2010, and in 2012 was elected co-secretary of the backbench 1922 Committee. She relinquished these positions on her appointment to the Government Whips' Office in September 2012.
- Therese Coffey, Conservative, Suffolk Coastal Chartered management accountant Coffey took over John Gummer’s safe Tory seat in 2010 and exhibited the kind of quiet effectiveness that lands you in the government whip’s office, where she became an assistant whip in 2014. One to watch.
- Nick Gibb, Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, Conservative This ICAEW member worked for NatWest and KPMG before being elected as an MP in 1997. The minister of state for education, it would be a major shock for the Tories if he lost his seat in 2015.
- Justine Greening, Putney, Conservative Greening has had a roller-coaster ride since the 2010 Election. David Cameron promoted her to transport secretary but then bumped her down (with some public dissent) to secretary of state for international development in September 2012. Still a cabinet post is a cabinet post. Greening trained and qualified as an accountant, before working as an accountant/finance manager for, amongst others, PwC, GlaxoSmithKline and Centrica.
- Mark Harper, Forest of Dean, Conservative Local practitioner Harper boosted his vote by almost 15% in 2010 and moved onto big things. He was appointed minister of state for immigration in 2012 before becoming minister of state for people with disabilities in 2014.
- Jeremy Lefroy, Stafford, Conservative Stafford remains a key seat for the Tories in 2015 if they are going to form the next government. Chartered accountant Lefroy was a political newbie in 2010 but achieved a comfortable win against Labour last time out. Can he do it again? 2010 result: Con 1st (43.9%)
- Karen Lumley, Redditch After coming a close second in this constituency in 2005, persistence and "porngate" paid off as Lumley ousted former Labour Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who lost her ministerial job over the expense claim for her husband's dubious DVD rentals. 2010 result: Con 1st (43.5%)
- Nigel Mills, Amber Valley, Conservative Chartered accountant and international tax adviser Nigel Mills worked for PwC and KPMG before pulling off a major coup by gaining Amber Valley by 536 votes after a recount. Having won the marginal seat, he has made some positive interventions on tax debates - but will he survive the effects of Candy Crush-gate?
- Elizabeth Truss, Conservative, South West Norfolk A qualified management accountant the former Liberal Democrat is one the biggest successes of “Cameron’s Cuties” who swelled the Tory ranks in 2010. In spite of being characterised by The Guardian as “a politician guaranteed to drain the excitement out of any gathering”, she became environment secretary in 2014 - outranking Putney’s Justine Greening, who was shifted down the pecking order in 2012.
- Iain Wright, Hartlepool, Labour Wright’s been the MP for Hartlepool since 2004 and he’ll be in the running again in 2015. He was born and raised in Hartlepool and before his election worked as a chartered accountant and for the Regional Development Agency One North East.
- Jeremy Lefroy, Stafford, Conservative Stafford remains a key seat for the Tories in 2015 if they are going to form the next government. Chartered accountant Lefroy was a political newbie in 2010 but achieved a comfortable win against Labour last time out. Can he do it again?
2010 result: Con 43.9%; Lab 33.0%; Lib Dem 16.3%; UKIP 3.4%
- Alok Sharma, Reading West, Conservative Sharma’s victory was a stunning result for the chartered accountant and first-time candidate. The one-time auditor, business adviser and university tutor won the Tories' 107th rated target with a 25.6% increase in their vote.
- David Mowat, Warrington South, Conservative Accenture's former global managing partner took the Warrington South seat from Labour in 2010. He’ll be returning in 2015 for more and can expect quite the tussle as Labour are targeting the seat, openly admitting that if they don't win this Cheshire constituency, their chances of being in power after 7 May look remote. 2010 result: Con 35.8%; Lab 33.0%; Lib Dem 17.5%
- Michael Moore, Liberal Democrats MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk. Moore was born in Northern Ireland, but from a young age was brought up in Scotland. After graduating from Edinburgh University he worked for a year as a parliamentary researcher for Lib Dem MP Archy Kirkwood and then joined what is now PwC, qualifying as a Scottish chartered accountant (ICAS). In 1997 Michael was elected to the House of Commons, representing the Scottish Borders. He served as secretary of state for Scotland in the coalition, legislating for more powers for the Scottish parliament and negotiating the Edinburgh Agreement, paving the way for the independence referendum.
After combing the candidate lists, we have identified around 40 qualified accountants or people who have held significant finance roles across all parties - less than the 50 candidates from the Accountancy Party last time around. Perhaps politically minded accountants have realised there are more productive ways they can use their time. After their triumphs in 2010, several accountant candidates are standing down after just one term. These one-hit wonders include:
- Ian Swales, Liberal Democrats Redcar Swales has been MP for Redcar constituency since May 2010. He was born in Leeds and grew up in Harrogate. Following a chemical engineering degree at Manchester University he joined Yorkshire Electricity and qualified as an accountant in 1977.
- Mark Hoban Conservatives, Fareham Holder of the safest seat among existing accountant MPs, Hoban increased his vote by 11% in this prosperous corner of Hampshire. Previously a shadow Treasury minister, we could see more of him if the Tories manage to put together a working majority.
- Michael Weatherley, Conservative, Hove Management accountant Weatherly pulled off a minor coup when he overturned Labour MP Celia Barlow's 420 majority in 2010. Retiring after one term after a serious bout with throat cancer.
This year, the accountant candidates we have identified include:
- Craig Mackinlay, South Thanet, Conservative The former deputy leader of UKIP is a member of the CIoT and is a managing partner in a Kent firm. He returns under the Tory banner to challenge Farage in his own back yard of South Thanet.
- Kit Malthouse, North West Hampshire, Conservative Malthouse cut his teeth as a CA at Touche Ross & Company (now Deloitte), before working as a financial director. This is his first stab at national politics – but he’s been a member of London’s assembly since 2008.
- Peter Bedford, Bolsover, Conservative A political newbie, ICAEW member Bedford took up employment with PricewaterhouseCoopersin ‘07. He also served as an Internal Auditor for Aggregate Industries UK Ltd and Britvic plc and continues to support the business within its Advisory and Compliance function.
- Kim Caddy, Streatham, Conservative Kim Caddy parlayed her Oxbridge education into a senior finance role at an engineering conglomerate. She left her high flying corporate career behind and has been serving as deputy mayor of Wandsworth for the past year. She’s now been tasked with unseating Labour golden boy Chuka Umunna.
- Meirion Jenkins, Bridgend After coming third in Birminham Yardley in 2010, he has moved across to Wales to challenge Labour in the town where he grew up. Studied accountancy at university and trained as an accountant in the motor industry. With 25 years in the software industry, including running his own start-ups, he now advises the UK Government advising on international trade.
- James Symes, Ealing, Southall, Conservative Symes studied accounting and finance at the University of Exeter before moving back to London to work with KPMG. This is his first go on the political hamster wheel.
- Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Berwick-upon-Tweed Trevelyan hasn’t been an accountant in a long while, leaving her post at PwC in 1995. She’s been a parliamentary spokesman for the Tories since 2005 and is running in England’s most northern reach of north Northumberland.
- Saqhib Ali, North East Bedfordshire A qualified accountant and holder of an MBA from Cranfield, Ali has worked for a variety of companies, large and small, both in the UK and abroad.
- Jane Berney, Saffran Walden Berney worked a combined 9 years for KPMG and EY as an audit manager and has been working with the ICAEW as a technical manager for business law. She’s running in the constituency of Saffron Walden in Essex.
- Andy Croy Wokingham After teaching in Kenya for eight years, Croy retrained as an accountant with ACCA and now works as an accountant for a pharmaceutical company. He has previously worked for a variety of companies in the Thames Valley area.
- Tom Ebbutt, Bromsgrove A councillor in the London Borough of Hackney, Ebbutt is qualified accountant and history graduate from the University of Cambridge. After having worked for Deloitte Consulting, he is now operations director for the Teaching Leaders education charity.
- David Oakensen, Somerton and Frome Oakensen was the deputy mayor of Frome in 2010. He’s a CA by profession and has been an active member of the Labour party for 35 years.
- Michael Taylor, Hazel Grove For the past year, Taylor has been working for Tomorrow’s Practice, the ICAEW's practice research project designed to understand the nexus of forces that are shaping accountancy practices now and in the near future. He’ll be giving up this day job if he manages to secure his seat in Westminster.
- Michael Foster (Lab), Worcester
Foster was unseated by the Tories last time out, but a swing of 3-4% could win it back for him. Keep an eye out for this result, as Worcester remains one of the key marginal Labour needs to retake if it is to have any chance of power. 2010 result: Con 39.5%; Lab 33.4%; Lib Dem 19.4%; UKIP 2.8%
- Joseph Bourke, Brentford and Isleworth Bourke ran in 2010 for the Dagenham and Rainham seat, finishing a distant fourth. This hasn’t deterred the ICAEW member from having another go. Brentford and Isleworth should offer more hope, though, the Lib Dem’s 2010 candidate finished third but had a solid showing. 2010 result: Con 37.2%; Lab 33.6%; Lib Dem 23.7%; UKIP 1.6%; Green 1.5%
- Michael Cox, Uxbridge Cox is back again to contest Uxbridge and South Ruislip for the Lib-Dems, where he came third last time. Aformer Ruislip Manor ward councillor and ex leader of the Hillingdon Liberal Democrat, he is a chartered accountant and practitioner.
- Tom Davies, South West DevonDavies was born and raised in South West Devon. Oxford educated, he currently works as the head of Grant Thornton’s not for profit team.
- Charles Dundas, Livingston A graduate of the University of Glasgow, Dundas has worked as an accountant for the National Australia Bank; as a researcher in the Scottish Parliament; and as a consultant for a commercial public affairs firm. 2010 result: 3rd (11.1%)
- Alex Feakes, Lewisham West & Penge Ran Labour a close second in Lewisham in 2010 and is back. After qualifying as an accountant and working in tax consultancy with PwC he worked for Network Rail before setting up his own film and video company. In 2005 he gained second place for the Lib Dems in Lewisham West and hopes to go one better in the reshaped Lewisham West & Penge constituency. Though a seasoned candidate, Labour’s 6,000 majority last time may be too much for him to overturn.
- Ian Jackson, Cannock Chase Came second for the Lib-Dems in Lichfield in 2010, but unlikely to make it to Westminster after moving to a less winnable neighbouring constituency. We don’t have much information on him, but think he could be a financial controller with JCB.
- Satnam Kaur Khalsa, Hayes & Harlington An ACCA-qualified accountant with 25 years of auditing experience, Khalsa is looking to improve on her third place finish in 2010.
- Bruce Roberts, Clwyd South AccountingWEB’s own Bruce Roberts has been serving the small businesses of North-East Wales as an accountant since ’97. Ever the accountant, Roberts has spoken at length on tax policy and about what he believes to be solid, common sense financial planning.
- Richard Robinson, East Hampshire This experienced accountant is taking his first bite at the political apple, running in his local community. He has 25 years of experience as an accountant, and it looks likely that he’ll remain in his profession: His constituency is a conservative stronghold.
- Mahmud Henry Rogers, Bedford Rogers studied at the London School of Economics and has a masters from the United Nations University and Maastricht Graduate School of Governance in the Netherlands. A councillor on Bedford Borough Council, he claims to have worked as an accountant in the private and public sectors.
- Steve Sollitt, Havant A 45-year-old Management Accountant working for the NHS based in Southampton. He has worked for the NHS in a range of roles for nearly 13 years.
- Marion Fellows, Motherwell & Wishaw Fellows studied accountancy and finance at Herriot Watt University in Edinburgh and now having her second go at the Motherwell & Wishaw constituency. It doesn’t look good for her, however, as her Labour opponent has been in power since the heady days of Blair’s new Labour and crushed her in 2010. 2010 Result - 2nd (18.2%)
- Owen Thompson, Midlothian Another Scottish accountant and another Labour stronghold. Labour have held this seat since its creation in 1955 and it doesn’t look set to change. But Thompson, who studied accountancy and finance at Napier University looks set to mount a strong challenge none-the-less.
- Ian Luder, South Basildon and East Thurrock The former lord mayor of London has experience working for the fallen giant Arthur Andersen and GT as a tax accountant. He’s hoping to re-invigorate UKIP’s fortunes in South Basildon and East Thurrock, they only garnered over 2,000 votes in ’10.
- Barry Mahoney, South Leicestershire Barry Mahoney, a financial controller, has quite the uphill battle in South Leics: UKIP’s candidate finished a distant fifth.
- Waqas Ali Khan, Bradford A bit of a outlier as far as UKIP candidates go: Young and of immigrant extraction, Khan received his BSc in accountancy and finance from Bradford University. He faces an uphill battle, though: The last time UKIP ran in Shipley (2001), they only got a touch more than 500 votes.
- Jack Easton, St Albans The only Green representative among accountancy’s election candidates, Easton trained with Touche Ross before joining Hacker Young in 1988, where he now works as Technical, training and audit partner. Will be looking to improve on his tally of 758 votes last time out. 2010 result: 5th (1.4%)
To find out how they got on, have a look at Election 2015: How the Accountancy Party did on the morning after the vote.
About Accounting WEB
Contributions from the AccountingWEB.co.uk editorial team.