AS the dust settles on the General Election, four first-time MPs are getting to grips with their new jobs.

The new recruits, aged 29 to 66, are among 226 new Members of Parliament who are being shown the ropes.

Just Labour’s Jack Straw (Blackburn) and Ribble Valley Tory Nigel Evans remain from the six East Lancashire MPs who won their seats in 2005.

Two of them, Greg Pope in Hyndburn and former Burnley MP Kitty Ussher, stood down voluntarily, while Labour’s Gordon Prentice and Janet Anderson were defeated in Pendle, and Rossendale and Darwen.

On a bad night for Labour, Tories Andrew Stephenson and Jake Berry claimed those two seats, while Lib Dem Gordon Birtwistle ended 79 years of Labour rule in Burnley.

Labour did, however, hold Hyndburn where councillor Graham Jones was elected.

Yesterday most of the new recruits were either in London or on their way down.

This week they will all be shown around Westminster, sign for their security passes – and learn how to claim expenses.

Here we introduce East Lancashire’s new Parliamentary representatives.


NEW Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry is a 31-year-old solicitor from Liverpool.

He studied law at Sheffield University and trained in the City of London before becoming a solicitor in Manchester specialising in property law.

Mr Berry lives with his partner Charlotte in Helmshore.

They list their hobbies as waterskiing and walking in the West Pennine Moors with their poodle, Lola.

Before standing in Darwen, Mr Berry fought two local elections as a candidate in Liverpool and Manchester.

He was also the Election Agent for the Liverpool City Seats Initiative in the 2005 General Election.

Mr Berry had campaigned for three years to take Rossendale and Darwen from Labour.

He has pledged to fight for local shops and better transport links.

Mr Berry said: “I want to say thank you to everyone who has helped with my campaign and who has voted.

"It’s an honour to be given this opportunity to serve you as MP.

“I hope I will never let you down.”


Improve the rail links to Manchester from Rawtenstall and Darwen.

Improve town centres, particularly Rawtenstall’s eyesore Valley Centre.

Repair the economy, creating employment opportunities for young people.


The 66-year-old former Burnley Council leader has been a councillor since 1982.

The former engineer was born in Oswaldtwistle but has lived in Burnley for more than 30 years, originally going into politics as a Labour councillor in the 1970s.

His election to represent Burnley in the House of Commons came at the third attempt after the Lib Dems made the historic Labour heartland one of their key targets.

He said: “I am as fit as a fiddle.

“You get MPs who are parachuted into parliament without doing anything. I have got experience.”

Mr Birtwistle’s tough stance against the closure of Burnley General Hospital’s accident and emergency and children’s wards, and efforts to regenerate the borough, are thought to have been key factors in overturning a 5,778 Labour majority.

He had been criticised by political opponents in the build-up to the election over the collapse of his firm, Oswaldtwistle-based Stuart Engineering, in 2002.

But Mr Birtwistle said it went into adminstration after a supplier chose to switch a major contract to Hungary. Mr Birtwistle had been council leader of Burnley since May 2006 when the Lib Dems took control of the council from Labour.

He said: “I would like to thank the people of Burnley for their bravery in voting for something new. I can assure you that I will not let them down.”


Returning the A&E to Burnley General Hospital.

Working to bring new high-value jobs and firms to Burnley.

Reinstating the Todmorden Curve, which would link Burnley directly to Manchester by rail/


GRAHAM Jones is the local boy made good.

The printer said he was living the dream by representing the area where he was born and brought up.

Mr Jones, 44, fought off the challenge of the Conservatives to succeed Greg Pope, who stood down as Hyndburn’s MP after 18 years.

He was brought up in Baxenden and has lived in Accrington since 1989, working in the technical field of printing plates in the graphic design industry.

He has been a councillor since 2002, but has stood down as the leader of the opposition Labour group on Hyndburn Council since being elected.

He was also elected to Lancashire County Council last summer.

In local politics, he has a reputation for fighting for ‘the little man’, often taking up relatively minor cases with a passion.

Mr Jones has often been involved in strong exchanges with Conservative borough leader Peter Britcliffe, with neither man typically backing down.

Mr Jones said: “This is my home.

“There’ll be no foreign trips paid for by foreign governments for me.

"The only people whose interests I’ll act for will be yours.”


Improve Hyndburn’s housing.

Transport infrastructure, notably the missing Todmorden Curve track linking Burnley with Manchester which would boost this borough.

Protect the local economy and jobs from public spending cuts.


The 29-year-old, who ousted Labour’s Gordon Prentice with a 3,585 majority to become one of the country’s youngest MPs, was born in Moss Side in Manchester, and runs an insurance business in the city.

A Tory activist since the age of 16, he was a councillor in Macclesfield at 22 and was made an ‘A list’ candidate by the party.

He was selected to fight the key marginal seat of Pendle in 2006 and lives in Colne.

Mr Stephenson is involved in community groups across Pendle and serves as a school governor at an infant school in Nelson.

In his spare time he enjoys walking and in 2008 he took part in a trek along the Great Wall of China personally raising more than £5,000 for charity.

As a self-employed insurance consultant, Mr Stephenson said he knows the pressures of working six days a week and running a business in the recession.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted by the result and I am humbled to become Pendle’s MP.

“I am delighted by the faith local people have put in me and I hope I can repay that.”


Get the economy moving - more support for local manufacturers.

Fight to make sure local regeneration projects are completed.

Press for the return of A&E facilities at Burnley Hospital.