Labour landslide clears legion of lawyer MPs from Commons

Almost two-thirds of lawyer MPs lost their seats in the General Election, leaving the Commons stripped of some of its most politically experienced legal brains.

Some 44 of the 72 lawyer MPs standing as candidates failed to get re-elected and only 24 lawyer PPCs replaced them.

Among the high-profile figures whose political careers stalled at the hustings were David Hunt, a former cabinet minister, Jonathan Evans, former parliamentary secretary at the Lord Chancellor's Department, and Malcolm Rifkind QC, former minister for foreign and commonwealth affairs.

Hunt, who was elected senior partner at City firm Beachcroft Stanleys last year, said he would be talking to other partners about his role in the firm over the coming weeks. “I am already involved with the firm and remain president of the Tory reform group. I must now reflect on what I may or may not do in the future.”

A Bar Council spokeswoman said it was quite common for barrister MPs to continue taking cases when in office and return to the Bar full-time if they lost their seats. One such casualty is Sir Ivan Lawrence QC, the former chairman of the Home Affairs Committee which last year rejected Labour calls for an independent panel to appoint judges. He is returning to full-time practice at One Essex Court.

And many who failed this time round have not relinquished their political ambitions. Conservative candidate and Cameron McKenna property assistant Shailesh Vara, who stood for the first time against Clare Short in the ultra-safe Labour seat of Birmingham Ladywood, has pledged to continue in politics. “I enjoyed it, even if it was hard work.”

Of the successful 24 lawyer PPCs, 13 are now Labour MPs and one represents the Liberal Democrats. Among them was 24-year-old Claire Ward, a trainee with Pattinson and Brewer, who took 45.3 per cent of the vote in Watford. It is not yet known whether Ward will continue with her traineeship.