By Matthew Barrett
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Labour will be able to introduce three new Members of Parliament when the House next meets. The party won three by-elections on Thursday, in Manchester Central, Corby and Cardiff South and Penarth. Will they bring some expert wisdom to Parliament? Perhaps they leave behind distinguished careers? Have any of them courageously served their country, as Dan Jarvis, Labour's victorious Barnsley Central candidate, had?
Alas no. All three Labour candidates are products of the Westminster and public sector elites. Let's take a look at them.
- Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South and Penarth): An Oxford graduate, and former advisor to Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander. Doughty last worked for Oxfam's Welsh office.
- Andy Sawford (Corby): Son of Phil Sawford, who was the MP for the neighbouring Kettering constituency from 1997 until 2005. Has worked for the Local Government Association, as chief executive of the Local Government Information Unit, and in PR. The Sunday Times said of Sawford (£): "[T]alking to him was an unnerving and even slightly chilling experience. It was like talking to a malfunctioning cyborg. He answered not a single question directly and simply repeated the same answer about how the voters would be better off voting for him rather than a “cheerleader for Cameron”."
- Lucy Powell (Manchester Central): Another Oxford graduate, and former advisor to Ed Miliband. Powell has worked for a number of quangos and a Labour MP. After losing a different parliamentary seat in Manchester in 2010, Powell ran Ed Miliband's leadership campaign. Powell is also a former director of the notorious Britain in Europe group, and said as recently as this summer: "I’ve always argued that Britain should be at the centre of Europe rather than on its fringes."
All parties are guilty of choosing candidates who have backgrounds in politics and related organisations, but these new MPs seem distinctly unplaced to bring a fresh approach to Labour in Parliament.