New boys head for Commons

TWO of East Anglia's new Conservative MPs have told how their victories had not sunk in.Douglas Carswell, who took Harwich, and Brooks Newmark, the new Braintree MP, are now preparing for their parliamentary bows.

TWO of East Anglia's new Conservative MPs have told how their victories had not sunk in.

Douglas Carswell, who took Harwich, and Brooks Newmark, the new Braintree MP, are now preparing for their parliamentary bows.

Meanwhile, the Labour politicians they ousted, Alan Hurst in Braintree and Ivan Henderson in Harwich, were reflecting on the loss and being comforted by colleagues - the latter receiving a call from Chancellor Gordon Brown.

Mr Carswell, 34, said yesterday that going to the House of Commons next week would probably make him feel like the new boy at school.


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"I was handed a letter by the returning officer and told to be in the Commons for 10am on Monday, I will buy my train ticket from Clacton - it will be like the first day at school, finding my feet and finding my way around. I am really looking forward to it."

Meanwhile, Mr Henderson was being comforted by many of his former Westminster colleagues, some of whom rang him in tears yesterday morning to commiserate. He even received a half-hour call from Chancellor Gordon Brown.

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He declined interviews yesterday but a spokesman for him said: "One of Ivan's greatest strengths was that he has never taken anyone for granted. However, those of us who have had the privilege of working alongside him believe the Harwich constituency has lost the finest MP it has ever had."

Meanwhile, venture capitalist Brooks Newmark is the new Conservative MP for Braintree, replacing Labour's Alan Hurst who held the seat since 1997.

While Mr Newmark was celebrating with party workers at his home in Bradwell, Mr Hurst was back at his criminal law practice in Southend, and anticipating turning up for court duty on Monday.

By yesterday afternoon, Mr Newmark could still not quite believe he had won a seat in parliament after three attempts - two in Braintree and one in Newcastle Central. "I suspect it won't sink in until I walk through St Stephen's door," he said.

His first morning as MP was spent giving his support to Conservative candidates at the Essex County Council count in Braintree community centre.

His five children, Benjamin, 16, Sam, 14, Max, 12, Lily, 10 and Zachary, seven, were all at school.

They are set to see more of their father as Mr Newmark anticipates having more time for his family in his new job.

As a partner in a venture capital company, Mr Newmark, who moved to England from America when he was nine years old, said he worked long hours and was virtually on call 24 hours a day and frequently travelled internationally.

He is now looking forward to getting his teeth into constituency work, but yesterday said he did not know which select committees he would like to join.

"At this stage, I'm going to find my seat when I get there and just take on whatever cases I inherit from Alan and be very focussed as a community-based MP," said Mr Newmark.

Meanwhile, Mr Hurst was disappointed but making a swift transition back to his pre-MP life.

He said: "You shouldn't go into public life if you let one's own self-estimation overtake the practicalities of it."

He said he was looking forward to watching his son receive an Iraq service medal at a ceremony tomorrow . His son, who is in the Territorial Army, served in Iraq for five months with the Royal Signals Corps.

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