Big brains and glittering careers: five fresh Labour MPs to watch

Torsten Bell

A former adviser to Alistair Darling during his time as chancellor, he has since become one of the most respected surveyors of the British economy in the country in his role as director of the Resolution Foundation thinktank. His recent book on improving the economy was Starmerite in outlook, putting economic growth at its heart. However, he did call for a rewriting of fiscal rules to allow for long-term investment in infrastructure. Expect Bell to have a significant policy job at the centre of a Labour government that has staked everything on securing economic growth.

Josh Simons

Josh Simons, former director of the Labour Together thinktank.
Josh Simons, former director of Labour Together. Photograph: Labour Together

Simons has seen Labour in several guises at close quarters. He was a policy adviser to Jeremy Corbyn during his time as party leader. After a stint in the US completing a PhD and working for Meta, Simons returned to UK politics at the helm of the Labour Together thinktank, which was formed out of Starmer’s successful leadership campaign and has been close to the Labour leader’s political project ever since. Labour Together has seen many of its team seconded to Labour for the general election, while Simons has been an outrider for Starmer’s message. One to watch.

Miatta Fahnbulleh

Fahnbulleh’s personal story has been a dramatic one, even before she reaches Westminster. Her family fled civil war in Liberia, settling in Britain. She became an economist and has experience in government at the Cabinet Office under. She went on to advise Ed Miliband during his Labour leadership and led the New Economics Foundation thinktank until last year. The group is seen as sitting on Labour’s left. Fahnbulleh has pushed hard for serious action on the climate crisis and has advocated more urgency in the UK’s response. She is likely to be the big brain of the party’s soft left.

Mike Tapp

Labour put time and resources into holding on to the strategically significant seat of Dover and Deal, which fell into its hands after the surprise defection of former Conservative MP Natalie Elphicke shortly before the general election was called. However, Tapp had been working the seat hard and remained the Labour election candidate. With Channel small-boat crossings likely to remain an issue in the new parliament, Tapp could become an important voice. In an area that is targeted by Reform UK, Tapp’s military background and work with the National Crime Agency also make him a compelling figure.

Kirsty McNeill

Kirsty McNeill, Scottish Labour MP for Penicuik, Midlothian constituency. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

McNeill is part of a newly enhanced cadre of Scottish Labour MPs who have made it to Westminster, with the party recovering from its return of one Scottish MP at the 2019 election. She has years of political experience as a former special adviser to Gordon Brown during his time in No 10. Before the election, McNeill had risen to become one of the most senior figures at Save the Children UK. As a result of her work, she has said that she will dedicate her attention to child poverty, and she should have the intellectual heft to push for it to be a priority in government.

The Guardian