Tech ministers returned with increased majorities

Written by Sam Trendall on 13 December 2019 in News
News

Simon Hart, Oliver Dowden, and Matt Warman all regain their seats and win more votes than in 2017

Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

The Conservative candidates that entered the general election with ministerial responsibility for key digital, data and technology areas have all been returned to the House of Commons with increased majorities.

In Hertsmere, Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden grew an already commanding vote share by 1.4 percentage points to 62.5%. 

Simon Hart – whose pre-election post as minister for implementation includes oversight of the Government Digital Service – retained his seat of Carmarthen West and Pembrokeshire South. In 2017 he won the seat, which he has held since 2010, with a lead of 7.3 percentage points over Labour rival Marc Tierney. This time out he beat the same opponent by a margin of 18.4 points.

Matt Warman, a former technology journalist who has served as minister for digital and broadband since July, has been elected as MP for Boston and Skegness for the third time. Voters in his constituency – which includes the district that posted the highest proportion of leave voters of anywhere in the UK in the 2016 EU referendum – returned him to Westminster with an extra 13.1% share of the vote. Labour, meanwhile, shed 9.7 percentage points compared with its 2017 performance.


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One senior Westminster representative of tech and data issues who will not be returning to the House of Commons is former secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport Nicky Morgan who stands down as an MP after nine years in parliament. Her Loughborough constituency was retained by the Conservatives, with new representative Jane Hunt enjoying a majority that has been boosted by 5.3 points compared with the last election. 

Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Andrea Leadsom retained the seat of Northamptonshire South with a dominant 62.4% share of the vote.

It was a rather different story for tech-focused MPs on the opposite benches.

Jo Platt, formerly a shadow minister with a key role in leading Labour’s direction on cybersecurity and digital government, lost her seat of Leigh following one of the biggest swings of the election. The north-west town has elected James Grundy as its first-ever Tory MP.

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett retained his seat of Hemsworth – although a near double-digit swing from Labour to Conservative made it a much closer-run contest than in 2017.

Liam Byrne, shadow minister for the digital economy, saw his vote share erode a little compared with two years, but was still supported by a massive 78.7% of voters in Birmingham Hodge Hill.

Shadow industrial strategy minister Chi Onwurah saw her share of the vote in Newcastle upon Tyne Central decline 7.3 percentage points, but still comfortably carried the seat with a lead of more than 30 points over the Conservatives.

This result was a near-carbon copy of that in Salford and Eccles, where shadow BEIS minister Rebecca Long-Bailey was re-elected. 

Prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to tinker with his ministerial line-up next week, ahead of a wider-ranging reshuffle in the early months of next year.

 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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