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House of stars

A salute to our parliamentarians of the year

24 November 2012

9:00 AM

24 November 2012

9:00 AM

The Spectator’s Parliamentarian of the Year awards were held at the Savoy Hotel on Wednesday. Here are the winners:

Newcomer of the year

Andrea Leadsom (Con). For her work grilling bankers on the Treasury select committee and setting up the Fresh Start Group.

Backbencher of the year

Alistair Darling (Lab). His campaign for the Union has made Westminster more relevant in Scotland than at any time since -devolution.

Campaigner of the year

Andy Burnham (Lab). Our former ‘Minister to Watch’ did more than any other MP to press for the Hillsborough report, which gave parliament one of its most extraordinary moments.

Inquisitor of the year

Margaret Hodge (Lab). Her public accounts committee inspires as much fear in permanent secretaries as it does in tax-avoiding chief executives.

Speech of the year

Charles Walker (Con) and Kevan Jones (Lab). Their extraordinary speeches in June, discussing their struggles with mental health problems, helped break a taboo and change the law.

Non-resignation of the year

Lord Hill (Con). He turned up at No. 10 during the September reshuffle and reportedly found the Prime Minister too distracted to -realise his visitor was quitting; instead he was told to carry on the good work. One of the unsung heroes of education reform — his award is for giving up on giving up.

Apology of the year

Nick Clegg (Lib Dem). His apology on tuition fees — for ever making, not breaking, a pledge to oppose them — went around the world after being made into a pop song. His award was collected by the computer whizzes who made his words sing: Alex Ross and James Herring.

Resurrection of the year

Sir George Young (Con). He lasted 45 days on the back benches before he was summoned back as Chief Whip. As Tory leaders since Ted Heath have discovered, Sir George is indispensible.

Minister to watch

Liz Truss (Con). In two months as an education minister, she has become known as the ‘human hand grenade’ —  thrown into a department to remove bureaucratic blockages.

Double-act of the year

Ed Davey (Lib Dem) and John Hayes (Con). Putting them together has cjreated a natural explosion big enough to power a small village. Their rowing over wind farms makes energy policy confusing, but politics much more -entertaining.

Peer of the year

Justin Welby. After entering the Lords last year, the Bishop of Durham (an ex-financier) was talent-spotted and enlisted to the Commission on Banking Standards. The most politically active clergyman ever sent to Lambeth Palace.

Minister of the year

Theresa May (Con). When she decided not to extradite Gary McKinnon it stunned parliament, not least because she told MPs first. Her Home Office once again looks ‘fit for purpose’.

Parliamentarian of the year

Jesse Norman (Con). He led the rebellion that stopped the coalition’s House of Lords stitch-up, reasserting the primacy of parliament.

Politician of the year

Boris Johnson (Con). By twice being elected Tory mayor of a Labour city, our former editor has proven himself adept at the most important political skill of all: winning elections.

The Parliamentarian of the Year Awards,
in association with MasterCard

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