Class of 97 take up the reins

Tes Editorial

The class of 97 dominates the new Education and Employment Select Committee.

Young MPs are also prominent. The average age of its 17 members is 46, and there are five under 40.

The political breakdown is 11 Labour, four Conservative, one Liberal Democrat and one Plaid Cymru.

All but one of the members have had a university education, only six are from Oxbridge.

Only five list education as part of their career, while strangely, only 13 number it among their special interests.

Members of the committee Chairman: Margaret Hodge, 54, Labour Member for Barking since 1994. Educated at London School of Economics (BSc). Senior consultant at Price Waterhouse 1992-94. A former leader of Islington Council, she became Labour's specialist on under-fives education in opposition. One of only two Labour survivors of the old select committee.

Employment chairman: Derek Foster, 60, Labour member for Bishop Auckland since 1979. Educated at Bede Grammar School, Sunderland and Oxford (BA, philosophy, politics and economics). Former education administrator, parliamentary aide to Neil Kinnock, 1983-85, former Labour chief whip. Quit as public service minister after three days.

Candy Atherton, 41, Labour member for Falmouth and Camborne since May. Educated at Midhurst Grammar School, Sussex and University of North London (BA applied social studies). A journalist who lists her interests as the environment, disability and health.

Charlotte Atkins, 47, Labour member for Staffordshire Moorlands since May. Educated at Colchester County High School and the London School of Economics (BSc Economics) and London (MA, area studies) A former parliamentary official with public service union Unison.

Joe Benton, 63, Labour member for Bootle since 1990. Educated at St Monica's primary and secondary schools and Bootle Technical College. Trained as a fitter and turner but went on to a personnel management career.

Graham Brady, 30, Conservative member for Altrincham and Sale since May. Educated at Altrincham Grammar School and Durham University (BA, Law). Worked for PR giant Shandwick and the Centre for Policy Studies.

Yvette Cooper, 28, Labour member for Pontefract and Castleford since May. Educated at Alton Sixth Form College, Hampshire and Balliol College, Oxford (politics, philosophy and economics), Harvard University, and the London School of Economics (MSc). Former researcher for John Smith, policy adviser to Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in 1992, Labour treasury adviser, research associate at the LSE, leader writer for the Independent.

Cynog Dafis, 59, Plaid Cymru MP for Ceredigion since 1992. Educated at Neath Boys' Grammar School and University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. Former teacher in schools and further education. Also worked in adult education at University College, Swansea.

Valerie Davey, 57, Labour member for Bristol West since May. Educated at Birmingham University (MA) and London (PGCE). Former teacher in schools and FE. Leading light in local government in Bristol. Unseated Cabinet minister William Waldegrave at the general election.

Caroline Flint, 35, Labour member for Don Valley since May. Educated at Richmond Tertiary College and the University of East Anglia (BA American historyliterature and film studies). A former local government officer. Featured in fashion shoot of new women MPs for Elle magazine.

Don Foster, 50, Liberal Democrat member for Bath since 1992. Educated at Lancaster Royal Grammar School, Keele University (BSC and CEd) and Bath University (MEd). Former teacher and education lecturer, also leading local authority member. Liberal Democrat education spokesman.

John Healey, 37, Labour member for Wentworth since May. Educated at St Peter's School, York, and Christ's College, Cambridge. Former head of communications for Manufacturing Science Finance union, and campaigns director at the TUC.

Eleanor Laing, 39, Conservative member for Epping Forest since May. Educated at St Columba's School, Renfrewshire and Edinburgh University (BA, LLB). Former lawyer and special adviser to John MacGregor at education and transport.

Judy Mallaber, 46, Labour member for Amber Valley since May. Educated at North London Collegiate School and St Anne's College, Oxford. Former director Local Government Information Unit.

Theresa May, 40, Conservative member for Maidenhead since May. Educated at Wheatley Park Comprehensive and St Hugh's College, Oxford. Former adviser for international affairs at the Association for Payment Clearing Services.

Nicholas St Aubyn, 41, Conservative member for Guildford since May. Educated at Eaton and Trinity College, Oxford. Worked in banking, finance and industry.

Gerry Steinberg, 52, Labour member for Durham since 1987. Educated at Durham Johnston Grammar School, Sheffield College of Education and Newcastle Polytechnic. Former teacher and headteacher. One of two remaining members of old education select committee.

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