A parliament of entrepreneurs: Which election candidates with business experience were victorious?

A parliament of entrepreneurs: Which election candidates with business experience were victorious?
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise NationEnterprise Nation

Posted: Fri 9th Jun 2017

Ahead of the General Election, we searched the candidate lists and found several who have previously run their own company. We've updated the list below with the results.

We'll be keeping an eye on the successful candidates to see if they help to influence small business policies.



Rachel Maclean, Redditch

Maclean is a serial entrepreneur and Enterprise Nation member. She has built several businesses in Birmingham including Air, a HR platform for small businesses.

WON: Maclean increased the Tories' majority by 309 to 7,363.

David Morris, Morecambe and Lunesdale

Morris, the government's former ambassador for freelancers and the self-employed, previously ran his own hair salon after training as an apprentice. He also wrote songs for artists including Jason Donovan, Sonia and Brother Beyond during the 1980s.

WON: Morris increased won with 47.7% of the vote

Mark Prisk, Hertford and Stortford

The former small business minister is a qualified chartered surveyor who ran his own consultancy for 10 years before becoming an MP in 2001.

WON: Prisk won again with more than 60% of the votes

Esther McVey, Tatton

McVey, who was elected as an MP in 2010 but lost out in 2015, previously ran Making It Ltd, which helps start-up companies, and founded Winning Women to support female business owners. She is standing in the consistency previously held by former chancellor George Osborne.

WON: McVey returned to Parliament with 58.6% of the votes

Stephen Metcalfe, South Basildon and East Thurrock

Metcalfe owned and ran a printing business in Basildon until he was elected as an MP in 2010. The business is now run by his wife.

WON: Metcalfe held his seat with 26,811 votes

Grant Shapps, Welwyn Hatfield

Possibly one of the UK's most infamous entrepreneurs-turned-politicans, Shapps previously ran internet marketing businesses PrintHouse Corporation and How to Corp under the name Michael Green.

WON: Shapps was re-elected with more than 26,000 votes

Margot James, Stourbridge

After working for Maurice James Industries, a business started by her father in the 1930s, James founded her own PR and medical education business in 1986. She ran the business for 12 years before selling it to the WPP Group. James served as the last government's small business minister.

WON: James retained her seat with 54.5%



Toby Perkins, Chesterfield

Perkins ran his own small business, Club Rugby, supplying rugby clothing, and was also a shareholder in a social enterprise providing nursery care to a deprived area of Chesterfield.

WON: Perkins retained his seat but with a reduced majority from 13,598 to 9,605

Ian Murray, Edinburgh South

While at school Murray ran Codfather Fish and Pizza Bar, a fast food delivery business. After running Europe's largest live television art broadcast which ran for seven summers, the Labour candidate set up his own events company, 100mph Events. Murray has also operated several bars with his partner Hannah.

WON: Murray held his seat with 54.9% of the vote

Geraint Davis, Swansea West

The Labour candidate has set up various businesses including Pure Crete, which provides holiday accommodation.

WON: Davis was re-elected with 59.8%

Ibrahim Dogus, Cities of London and Westminster

Dogus runs three restaurants near Waterloo in London and is also the founder of the British Kebab Awards.

DEFEATED: Dogus came second to Conservative candidate Mark Field

Bill Esterson, Sefton Central

Before entering Parliament in 2010 Esterson, Labour's shadow business secretary in the last Parliament, ran customer service training business Leaps and Bounds with his wife Caroline. Companies House records show he became a director of the firm in 2000 before resigning after being elected as an MP. Leaps and Bounds was dissolved in 2013.

WON: Sefton held with seat with 63% of the local vote


Liberal Democrats

John Hemming, Birmingham Yardley

Hemming, who was an MP for 10 years before losing to Labour's Jess Phillips in 2015, is a serial entrepreneur having set up John Hemming & Co, now LHC plc, at the age of 23. It is now a multi-million pound company. He also founded MarketNet, the first e-commerce operation outside the US, in 1994 and launched what he describes as "the world's first, banking, insurance, legal and stock-broking services on the internet" in 1995. In addition, Hemming set up Music Mercia International and The Purchasing Agency which competes with Visa and MasterCard.

DEFEATED: Hemming failed in his bid to return to Parliament coming third to Jess Phillips

Chris Stanbra, Corby

Stanbra is a self employed bookkeeper and accountant.

DEFEATED: Stanbra came third with Tory Tom Pursglove re-elected

Caroline Kenyon, Lincoln

Kenyon founded a PR business specialising in the promotion of Lincolnshire produce and British food. After the financial crisis of 2008, she remodelled her company as The Food Awards Company which runs the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year and Tiptree World Bread Awards.

DEFEATED: Kenyon came fourth with Labour gaining the seat from the Conservatives



Helena Windsor, East Surrey

This UKIP candidate previously ran a specialist microbiology business which was established by her husband in 1988.

DEFEATED: Windsor came fifth with Tory Sam Gyimah retaining the seat

Green Party

Green Party

Greenville Ham, Ceredigion

Ham is the leader of the Wales Green Party and founder of a not-for-profit hydroelectric engineering company.

DEFEATED: Ham came sixth with Ben Lake from Plaid Cyrmu gaining the seat from Liberal Democrat Mark Williams

Jonathan Elmer, City of Durham

Elmer runs social enterprise Democratise which aims to increase local participation in decision making. He is also a freelance ecologist.

Rachel Collinson, West Ham

Collinson, the Green Party's spokesperson for business, energy and industrial strategy, is a partner at The Transformational Index which helps organisations measure the environmental and social impact of business.

DEFEATED: Collinson came sixth with Labour's Roberta Blackman-Woods holding the seat



Richard Arkless, Dumfries & Galloway

Elected as an MP in 2015, Arkless runs online business LEDWarehouseUK which supplies LED bulbs and other products.

DEFEATED: Arkless lost his seat to Alister Jack from the Conservatives

Chris Law, Dundee West

Law once ran a business offering tours of the Himalayas on 1950s motorbikes. He is now a financial advisor and employs a small team. Law was elected for Parliament in 2015.

WON: Law retained his seat with 46.7%

Tommy Shephard, Edinburgh East

Shephard set up the Stand Comedy Club in 1995 before turning it into a business in 1998. It now has branches in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle and is one of the largest venues during the Edinburgh Fringe, the world's biggest arts festival.

WON: Shephard retained the seat with 18,509 votes

Corri Wilson, Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock

Wilson is director of events management company Caledonii Resources.

DEFEATED: Wilson lost the seat to Tory Bill Grant

Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymr u

Harri Roberts, Gower

Having worked for several years for a large American computer companies,  Roberts set up his own business in Swansea as an independent business and IT consultant.

DEFEATED: Roberts came third in a seat gained by Labour from the Tories

Mari Arthur, Llanelli

Arthur runs a Cardiff-based marketing, communications and business consultancy with an interest in sustainability and responsible business. She also established The Pelican Nursery in 2014 and Tiger Health Spa in 2010.

DEFEATED: Arthur came third in a seat retained by Labour

Huw Marshall, Ogmore

The former head of digital at Welsh broadcaster S4C, Marshall runs his own digital media business and is chair of Games Wales, the body that represents the computer games industry in Wales.

DEFEATED: Marshall came third in a seat retained by Labour


Michelle Dewberry, Hull West and Hessle

The 2006 winner of BBC TV's The Apprentice is standing as an independent but supporting a 'Tory Brexit'. Before appearing on the show she had a career in the telecoms sector and ran her own business transformation consultancy. After working for Lord Sugar, she set up three money saving websites, Likebees.com, chiconomise.com and thedailychic.com, but all are no longer live.

DEFEATED: Dewberry came fourth with Labour's Emma Hardy holding the seat

Fay Easton, The Wrekin

Enterprise Nation's Shropshire Champion has launched and operated five restaurant businesses and spent more than 12 year working with hundreds of new start-ups and launching business hubs including The Little Business Company.

DEFEATED: Easton came sixth with the seat retained by Conservative Mark Pritchard

Enterprise Nation
Enterprise NationEnterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

You might also like…

Get business support right to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive business tips, learn about new funding programmes, join upcoming events, take e-learning courses, and more.