Parliament has bid farewell to some of its greatest membersby Josh Lowe, Dipo Faloyin / May 8, 2015 / Leave a comment
This remarkable election has seen the end of several legendary parliamentary careers, and the disappointment of some key challengers. Harsh, brutal and surprising—that’s politics, eh?
Here are five top figures who’ve had to say goodbye to the commons:
A few short weeks ago, Danny Alexander was one of the four most powerful men in the country—part of the “quad” at the heart of the coalition along with George Osborne, David Cameron and Nick Clegg. Now, he’s just another highlander, doomed to wander the fens until he finds a lucrative gig at a think tank or international charity. Alexander began his parliamentary career in 2005 and was instantly marked out as a rising star, taking a Work and Pensions brief in Charles Kennedy’s administration. A former Chief of Staff to Nick Clegg, Alexander has been one of the leader’s closest confidants. As a key architect of the coalition, he has played a huge role in shaping recent history and the fate of his party. Unseated by the SNP’s Drew Hendry, Alexander was a victim both of the SNP surge and the Lib Dem collapse, caught in the crossfire of this election’s two big trends.
Ed Balls is a divisive figure; while he has won plaudits for his economic literacy and wealth of experience (he more or less co-ran the Treasury as an advisor to Brown for much of the last Labour government), he has also been called abrasive, and has failed to persuade voters that they can trust him with the economy. That point will be seen as a key reason for Labour’s defeat within the party. The recount was a stay of execution, a chance for his final meal to settle before he faced the press firing squad. His concession speech was somber, heartfelt, and gracious, at times the moment threatened to overwhelm him. Conservative candidate Andreas Jenkins made very little attempt to hide her joy, even before her 422 majority was announced. It is safe to say, she wasn’t the only Tory in Britain smiling.