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Guide to the new intake of Welsh MPs

18 May 10 10:30 GMT

Mark Hannaby
BBC Wales political reporter

Many of the Welsh MPs elected in the recent general election have been familiar for years.

But 11 of the new crop didn't represent the country in the last parliament.

Two of them were once Welsh assembly members and two previously served as MPs - but only one in Wales.

So here's the run-down of the new faces representing Wales at Westminster.

GUTO BEBB (Conservative, Aberconwy)

Nobody could claim Guto Bebb hasn't shown persistence in striving to be a Conservative elected representative.

He stood for the Tories at the Ogmore parliamentary by-election in 2002 and then for the Conwy seat at the assembly election of 2003 and the general election of 2005.

But Mr Bebb wasn't always a 'true blue' Tory. Until 2001 he was a member of Plaid Cymru and had been Caernarfon chair of that party until his involvement with the campaign to oppose adoption of the euro resulted in tensions leading to his resignation.

Mr Bebb's grandfather, W. Ambrose Bebb, was one of the founders of Plaid Cymru and stood in the former Caernarvonshire seat in 1945.

Well they do say, 'know your enemy'.

Guto Bebb is married with five children and runs his own economic development consultancy.

ALUN CAIRNS (Conservative, Vale of Glamorgan)

An assembly member since the first assembly election in 1999, Alun Cairns now continues his career in another chamber, but some ill-chosen words briefly endangered that possibility.

During a discussion on BBC Wales' 'Dau o'r Bae' radio programme regarding who politician guests would support during Euro 2008, Mr Cairns used a racially offensive term to explain why he would not be backing the Italian team.

He apologised but was suspended as candidate for the Vale of Glamorgan, to be reinstated four months later following an "investigation" (i.e. after the fuss had died down).

Having attained his cherished ambition of becoming an MP, there are no obvious clouds on the horizon of the former Welsh Conservative spokesman on education and the economy.

Then again, there's always the World Cup...

GERAINT DAVIES (Labour, Swansea West)

Geraint Davies is already familiar with the lobbies of Westminster, having been member for Croydon Central between 1997 and 2005.

In the figures for 2004/2005, Mr Davies had claimed more in expenses than any other MP in the UK - £176,026 - which he put down to the size of his former constituency.

Back then, Mr Davies said: "Somebody has got to do the most work. I am proud it was me.

"I am glad I invested my time and energy and allowances in serving my constituency.

"It clearly seems to me that this shows I was one of the most hard-working MPs in Britain."

Croydon's loss, it appears, is Swansea West's gain.

In his previous time as MP, Mr Davies was appointed chair of the Environment Transport & Regions Departmental Committee and served on the Public Accounts Committee.

Mr Davies can trace his mother's family back in Swansea four generations and in 2005 joined the Environment Agency, working on the issue of climate change and flood defences.

GLYN DAVIES (Conservative, Montgomeryshire)

Glyn Davies' extraordinary victory over asteroid-avoiding, minor celebrity-befriending Lib Dem 'character' Lembit Opik was one of the most attention-grabbing stories of the general election.

This was a boon for Berriew farmer and former assembly member Mr Davies in more than the obvious way as perhaps the last time he came to the widespread attention of an audience across the UK it was for getting caught with his pants down.

In 1999 he was stopped by police for driving a lorry-load of sheep with a faulty tail light and emerged to speak with officers wearing underpants, Wellington boots and a jacket.

Mr Davies had removed his trousers because he had fallen in manure and didn't wish to sully his vehicle.

This incident, dismissed by then-Tory Leader William Hague as "trivial", will doubtless be forgotten in the light of his achieving a remarkable 13.2% swing from the Lib Dems this time.

Those who doubted Glyn Davies' ability to overcome long electoral odds might have learned something from the way he fought and overcame colon cancer.

His blog A view from rural Wales has won acclaim for what's seen as its non-partisan honesty and humour.

JONATHAN EDWARDS (Plaid Cymru, Carmarthen East & Dinefwr)

Jonathan Edwards is "considered one of Plaid's foremost strategic thinkers" according to the biography on his party webpage.

Strategy is clearly a preoccupation for the former Carmarthen councillor and "Sheriff of Carmarthen" - his postgraduate work was on the end of the Cold War, so he should find plotting the endgame of various coalition governments a breeze.

Mr Edwards was also "chief of staff" (maybe it was a big office) for Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM and Adam Price MP and since 2007 has worked for Citizens Advice Cymru.

CHRIS EVANS - (Labour, Islwyn)

Rhondda-born Chris Evans' preparation to serve as Islwyn's MP was largely undertaken as researcher to the constituency's previous representative, Don Touhig.

Mr Evans has also been a full-time trade union official with the Union of Finance Staff, campaigning, for example, to prevent IT and finance jobs being lost to off-shore locations.

He apparently knows something about money.

Since leaving university he's worked in bookmaking and in banking, which contrary to widespread belief are different professions.

JONATHAN EVANS (Conservative, Cardiff North)

By his own admission, Jonathan Evans is something of an endangered species - a Conservative MP who favours proportional representation.

Although he's been away from the Commons for 13 years, Mr Evans is a very familiar figure in Welsh politics.

He served as MP for Brecon and Radnorshire between 1992-7 and was a junior minister in John Major's government.

Mr Evans was also one of Wales' members of the European Parliament between 1999 and 2009.

He is true blue - being both a season ticket holder for Cardiff City and Cardiff Blues.

SIMON HART (Conservative, Carmarthen West and Pembrokeshire South)

In his previous role as chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, Simon Hart was perhaps the foremost pro-hunting voice in the UK.

So associated was he with controversial methods of 'vermin control' that Queen guitarist Brian May chose the constituency he stood in to highlight what he regarded as the Conservatives' desire "to bring back fox hunting and all the other hideous blood sports".

Foxes beware! Queen's intervention didn't prove killer. The hammer didn't fall on Mr Hart's candidacy.

Instead he defeated former Wales Office minister Nick Ainger with a swing of 6.9%.

SUSAN ELAN JONES (Labour, Clwyd South)

"No income tax, no VAT..." It's unlikely Susan Elan Jones shares 'Del Boy' Trotter's attitude to economics, but she does have something in common with the Only Fools and Horses character.

Before standing in Clwyd South, Japanese-speaking Ms Jones was a councillor, representing the Trotters' home ward of Peckham in the London borough of Southwark, where she campaigned against the spread of lap-dancing clubs amongst many other issues.

During the campaign, Labour preferred to emphasise Ms Jones' north east Wales background to her metropolitan experience.

Her early education was at Ponciau, Grango and Ruabon Schools, her father is from Pentre Broughton and worked at Brymbo steelworks and her mother was a medical secretary at Wrexham Maelor Hospital.

Her family, says Labour's website, has lived in Clwyd South "for many generations". So there.

NICK SMITH (Labour, Blaenau Gwent)

It fell to Nick Smith to return Blaenau Gwent to Labour following the disaster for the party of losing a totemic constituency to independent candidates.

Mr Smith was born in Tredegar and was a senior national officer for Labour during the nineties.

From 1998 he served as a councillor in Camden in London, rising to become Cabinet Officer for Education.

Whilst holding this post he also became Secretary General of the European Parliamentary Labour Party, leading to him being dubbed 'Two Jobs Nick' in the 'Camden New Journal' newspaper, which reported his failure to attend a number of meetings.

When Nick Smith's Independent opponent Dai Davies brought this subject up during the election campaign he was accused by Mr Smith of "playing the man and not the ball". Ouch.

OWEN SMITH (Labour, Pontypridd)

If Owen Smith is a hunter turned gatekeeper then it's a role he's become accustomed to in recent years.

Until 2002, Mr Smith was a BBC producer working on Radio Four's 'Today' programme and BBC Wales ' 'Dragon's Eye' amongst other programmes.

He should therefore know more than most people about asking difficult questions.

Yet since leaving the BBC he's largely been in the business of answering them, as an adviser to former Welsh and Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy, then as a lobbyist for a drugs company, and as Labour's 2006 by-election candidate in the vexed seat of Blaenau Gwent.

Despite increasing Labour's vote noticeably, Owen Smith lost that contest. He was perhaps given a somewhat easier task in fighting his hometown seat of Pontypridd, where he replaced retiring MP Dr Kim Howells.

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