Huw Richards assesses the members of the new education and science parliamentary committees
The science and technology committee can claim to be the best-qualified group in the entire House. Of its 11 members six have doctorates.
These include the likely chair, Michael Clark, who has a PhD in chemistry from Cambridge. The committee chair is one of those allocated to the Conservatives under negotiations between the whips' offices, which determine the party division of committee membership and chairs. Another committee member, Claire Curtis-Thomas, Labour victor of Crosby, has an MBA from Aston.
Five of the PhDs are among the seven Labour members, who reflect an influx of scientists on May 1. These include Ian Gibson, former dean of science at the University of East Anglia and a Stanford University professor, who won Norwich North. Biochemist Desmond Turner took Brighton Kemptown. Ashok Kumar, a British Steel Technical research officer and another Aston graduate, regained Middlesborough South and Cleveland East.
Further industrial science experience is contributed by Nigel Beard, the new Labour member for Bexley and Crayford, who was group research and development manager for Zeneca before the election. Nigel Jones, the single Liberal and only non-graduate on the committee, was a project manager for ICL Computers for 21 years before taking Cheltenham from the Conservatives in 1992. Among the Conservatives, newly-elected Caroline Spelman ran a food and biotechnology consultancy before entering the House.
MPS ON THE EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT COMMITTEE
Candy Atherton, 42, elected Lab Falmouth and Camborne 1997, studied at University of North London, journalist; Charlotte Atkins, 47, elected Lab Staffordshire Moorlands 1997, studied at LSE, parliamentary officer; Joe Benton, 63, Lab Bootle since 1990, studied at Bootle Technical College, personnel manager; Graham Brady, 30, elected Con Altrincham and Sale 1997, studied at Durham University, public affairs; Yvette Cooper, 28, elected Lab Pontefract and Castleford 1997, studied at Oxford, Harvard and LSE, journalist; Cynog Dafis, 59, Plaid Cymru Ceredigion since 1992, studied at Aberystwyth, education researcher; Valerie Davey, 57, elected Lab Bristol West 1997, studied at Birmingham and London, teacher; Caroline Flint, 35, elected Lab Don Valley 1997, studied at East Anglia University, science researcher; Derek Foster, 60, Lab Bishop Auckland since 1979, studied at Oxford, assistant director of education; Don Foster, 50, Lib Bath since 1992, studied at Keele and Bath, education lecturer; John Healey, 37, elected Lab Wentworth 1997, studied at Cambridge, campaign director; Margaret Hodge, 52, Lab Barking since 1994, studied at LSE, management consultant; Eleanor Laing, 39, elected Con Epping Forest 1997, studied at Edinburgh University, solicitor; Judy Mallaber, 46, elected Lab Amber Valley 1997, studied at Oxford, director, Local Government Information Unit; Theresa May, 40, elected Con Maidenhead 1997, studied at Oxford, international affairs adviser at Association for Payment Clearing Services; Nick St Aubyn, 41, Con Guildford 1997, studied at Oxford, banking and industry; Gerry Steinberg, 52, Lab Durham since 1987, studied Sheffield College of Education and Newcastle Poly, special school headmaster.