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UK polling station sign outside church | AccountingWEB | Election 2024: The accountancy Candidates
istock_Polling-booth_Peter Fleming

Election 2024: The accountancy candidates

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The Conservatives are fielding the most candidates with an accountancy background in this general election, but with fewer parliamentary contenders from the profession compared to previous years, how successful will accountants be this time around?

27th Jun 2024
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As the general election approaches, AccountingWEB has scoured the list of parliamentary candidates across the political spectrum and have gathered information on who from the profession is standing this year. 

There are fewer candidates with an accountancy background standing in the 2024 election than the previous elections. In 2019, 53 accountants marched the streets with their chosen rosette pinned to their lapels, but only 39 successfully managed to convince the electorate to place an X next to their name.  

The same number vied to become MPs in 2017, with only 38 getting the golden ticket to Westminster. This year, the accountant candidates we’ve identified are down on the previous years to only 36. Has the electorate heard enough from accountants? 

Candidate Constituency Party
Rebecca Paul Reigate Con
Darren Millar Clwyd West Con
Nigel Mills Amber Valley Con
Andrew Griffith Arundel and South Downs Con
Anne-Marie Trevelyan North Northumberland Con
Helen Whately Faversham and Mid Kent Con
Mark Harper Forest of Dean Con
Kit Malthouse North West Hampshire Con
Robert Largan High Peak Con
Saqib Bhatti Meriden and Solihull East Con
Ben Everitt Milton Keynes North Con
Iain Stewart Milton Keynes South Con
Elizabeth Truss South West Norfolk Con
Karen Bradley Staffordshire Moorlands Con
Thérèse Coffey Suffolk Coastal Con
Charles Shackerley-Bennett South Shropshire Reform
Christopher Wongsosaputro Torbay Labour
Tim Leaver North West Norfolk Labour
Anna Crabtree Beaconsfield Lib Dem
Helen Baxter Queen’s Park and Maida Vale Lib Dem
Sarah Olney Richmond Park Lib Dem
Helen Morgan North Shropshire Lib Dem
Ash Cartman North Somerset Lib Dem
Jenny Wilkinson Kenilworth and Southam Lib Dem
Mike Cox Christchurch Lib Dem
Simon Moorehead Inverclyde and Renfrewshire West Reform
Robert Reaney Bolsover Reform
Richard Pearse Weston-super-Mare Reform
Erin Crawford Birmingham Selly Oak Reform
Michael Mann North Ayrshire and Arran Reform
Irene Yoong-Henery Birmingham Ladywood Reform
Malcolm Rider Featherstone Harlow Reform
Peter Grant Glenrothes and Central Fife SNP
Owen Thompson Midlothian SNP
Marion Fellows Motherwell and Wishaw SNP

Conservatives

The Conservatives remain the dominant party for accountants with 15 accounting candidates on the list, but this is a decline on the 2019 cohort, where the party fielded 23 from the profession. 

The decline of Conservative accounting candidates is reflected by the number from the party standing down at this election (or just before), including the following. 

  • Lucy Allan, the former MP for Telford – qualified chartered accountant, Allan took the seat in the 2015 election, but she was suspended from the Conservative party in May this year after lending her support to Reform. 
  • Alok Sharma, the former MP for Reading West – another chartered accountant, Sharma was most known over the past Parliament for his role as president for COP26. 
  • Peter Bone, the former MP for Wellingborough – the chartered accountant won his seat in 2005, but the accountant was suspended from the House of Commons after a sexual misconduct investigation, which prompted a by-election in October 2023. 
  • Craig Mackinlay, the former MP for South Thanet – chartered accountant and chartered tax adviser, Mackinlay decided to stand down as an MP at this election after the amputation of his lower arms and legs following a severe case of sepsis.
  • Nick Gibb, the former MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton – an Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) member, Gibb worked at KPMG before being elected as an MP. He announced in November that he was standing down as an MP after resigning from Sunak’s government.  

While the Conservatives lose some faces from their accounting roster, they retain many who have made a name for themselves over the past parliament, where they have held ministerial positions and, for one member, they even infamously had a short stint in Number 10 Downing Street. 

Standing for re-election in South West Norfolk, chartered management accountant Liz Truss has added another title to her resume after the last election: the UK’s shortest-serving prime minister. Her tenure at 10 Downing Street ended after just 44 days, following the fallout from her disastrous mini-Budget in September 2022.

While Truss’s ineptitude deserves a paragraph in itself, the parade of accountants holding ministerial positions have also faced their own fair share of bungles over the past five years; from management accountant Thérèse Coffey having to defend the test-and-trace strategy, which had a reporting structure based on an outdated version of Excel, to Kit Malthouse claiming £4,000 in expenses to pay for his podcast called The Maltcast.  

These accountants are returning to defend their seats again, alongside others who have taken up ministerial positions such as Mark Harper, Helen Whately, Andrew Griffith and Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

Also standing again is chartered accountant Saqib Bhatti, who recently appeared on the pages of AccountingWEB after he discussed with Accounting Excellence award winner Clare Bartlett her campaign to improve the relationship between HMRC and the profession.      

While most of the Conservative crop are defending their seats, Tory newbie Rebecca Paul is the latest candidate to be plucked from the accounting profession. The chartered accountant and chartered tax adviser for 20 years has previously held tax roles in Diageo plc, PepsiCo, Jigsaw and EY, but now wants to add MP of previously Conservative-held Reigate.  

Labour

While Labour is striding ahead in the opinion polls, we have only managed to find two red-rose candidates from the profession. Chris Wongsosaputro, a candidate in Torbay and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), previously worked for over seven years at Big Four firm EY. Starting off as an audit associate, Wongsosaputro climbed the corporate ladder to audit manager and then strategy and transactions executive. He then moved to EY’s consulting arm EY-Parthenon before recently joining PwC’s consulting unit, Strategy& as a consultant. 

The other Labour candidate is chartered accountant Tim Leaver. He started his career with UHY Hacker Young in audit, but he soon moved into industry where he was a corporate finance manager and a finance director at a couple of pharmaceutical companies, and then the finance controller at priceline.com. He then moved into CEO roles but he mostly stayed in the medical and science sector. 

While not an accountant the other Labour candidate that is closely connected to the accounting and tax world is Laura Coryton. The Richmond Park candidate is best known for her successful campaign to remove VAT on menstrual products. 

Lib Dems

Coryton is standing against accountancy candidate and current MP since 2019, Sarah Olney. The Lib Dem is joined by chartered accountant Helen Morgan of North Shropshire as accounting candidates from the Liberal Democrats. 

Sir Ed Davey’s outfit is by our current calculations fielding the third-highest number of accounting candidates. Hoping to become an MP this year is chartered accountant Mike Cox of Christchurch. Qualifying with ICAEW in 1985, the vast amount of his career has been as the founding partner of the two-office firm Cox Costello & Horne. He previously trained and qualified with Cooper Lancaster Brewers (now Littlejohns). As a senior partner, Cox has spent almost 27 years of his 40-year career with the London-based national firm but he has also held finance director positions.  

Also vying to be an MP is chartered accountant Anna Crabtree. Prior to becoming the parliamentary candidate for Beaconsfield, Crabtree was an audit manager at Grant Thornton before becoming head of financial planning and analysis at the Horserace Betting Levy Board. 

Another chartered accountant on the Lib Dem’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate list is Helen Baxter of Queen’s Park & Maida Vale. Baxter qualified with KPMG as an audit senior before a four-year stint at Moore Stephens. She also previously worked at BDO as an international aid auditor. More recently she was head of financial accounting at the Historic Royal Palaces. 

Standing for the Lib Dems in Kenilworth & Southam is Jenny Wilkinson. Starting out as a trainee accountant back in 1994, Wilkinson has had a near 30-year career at KPMG, where she has moved around a number of disciplines from audit to investigation and dispute to currently head of risk in Birmingham. 

The final accounting candidate from the Lib Dems is Ash Cartman, who is the candidate in North Somerset. A chartered accountant, Carter currently serves as the CFO for the media group Wonderborn Studios. Prior to that, Cartman held a part-time FD position at South West-based digital marketing firm Ascot Group and a chief operating financial officer position Momentum Financial Technology. He has also spent time in practice, where he owned his own accounting firm in Bristol, which specialised in new and high growth startups. He sold the practice after nearly seven years in 2014 to join Momentum Financial Technology.  

SNP

All of the three accounting candidates from the SNP on our list are returning to defend their seats; Owen Thompson is seeking re-electing in Midlothian, fellow accountancy and finance graduate Marion Fellows is back knocking on doors in Motherwell and Wishaw, while qualified accountant Peter Grant is hoping to retain his seat in Glenrothes and Central Fife.  

Reform

After combing the list of candidates, it shouldn’t surprise anyone – considering they’re the newest party – that Reform has the biggest number of new accountant candidates. The upstart party, flanked by Nigel Farage, has eight candidates with a connection to the profession. 

Simon Moorehead is a chartered accountant and is standing in Inverclyde and Renfrewshire West. Aside from starting out at Grant Thornton, he has mostly worked in industry having served as a finance director for PC World Business, Wigan Athletic and music distribution company Total Home Entertainment. He has also dabbled in celebrity fragrance and brand licensing for Katie Price, Katy Perry and Westlife. 

Elsewhere, Mike Mann, standing in North Ayrshire and Arran, is a fellow of the Institute of Financial Accountants. He spent nine months as the chief accountant for the department for international development as part of the Kosovo post-war reconstruction programme, as well as six months at Deloitte and nine months as a team leader at BDO in Jordan. 

Irene Yoong-Henery, standing in Birmingham Ladywood, is a chartered management accountant and worked as an assistant regional accountant at Sainsbury’s from 1992 until 1997. 

Two of the Reform candidates – Richard Pearse of Weston-super-Mare and Erin Crawford of Birmingham Selly Oak – have made the list because they have studied (or currently studying in the case of Crawford) accountancy and finance at university. 

Join us the day after the general election on AccountingWEB where we will track the success of our accountancy candidates and find out how many will be taking their trusty calculator to Westminster.  

Our list is by no means complete (we haven’t found a Green candidate, for example). If you are aware of any accountant candidates who are standing for Parliament, let us know by commenting below.

Replies (6)

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the sea otter
By memyself-eye
27th Jun 2024 17:31

The only accountant I know of that made one iota of difference to policy (or anything) is Michael O'Leary CEO of RyanAir.
A foul mouthed (in a good way) straight talking, no bullsh... err.. nonsense Irishman
Get him to stand and all our problems will be over provided you book online and no baggage in the hold please.
Oh, and no amendments allowed.
Who in history, ever voted for an accountant?

Thanks (4)
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By FactChecker
27th Jun 2024 22:20

Definition of "candidates with an accountancy background" is so thin in some cases as to be more transparent than their policies.
How many have practised and for how long?
Does qualifying purely as an interim stepping-stone for political ambitions count?

Thanks (4)
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By listerramjet
28th Jun 2024 09:06

Do we call a political candidate with an “accounting” background a failed accountant?
To be fair, getting elected as an MP does offer perhaps the best pension options. Particularly if you can convert that to either PM or the Lords.

Thanks (2)
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By johnjenkins
28th Jun 2024 09:22

It doesn't matter what background the Conservative candidates have they will get well trounced at the GE. I'm hoping that the Tories, Reform and Lib/Dems might just have enough seats to stop Labour destroying the country. Robert you are quite right "is this the best our Great country has to offer the electorate as PM"

Thanks (3)
Replying to johnjenkins:
Rob Swan
By Rob Swan
28th Jun 2024 09:44

"Is this the best our Great country has to offer the electorate as PM?"

Well.... apparently 'Yes'.
These is little doubt (IMHO) that our ship is sinking and.... appointing a new captain is not going to change that. The ship could be saved but I'm pretty sure it won't be, given the choice available.

Thanks (1)
Rob Swan
By Rob Swan
28th Jun 2024 09:38

Liz Truss, accountant. Completely ignored 'double entry' with her entirely 'single entry' budget! Mad or stupid? I'm not sure which, but definitely one or the other.

Thanks (1)