THESE are the women who are changing the face of the Tory party.
All five are from varied backgrounds, with different passions and interests, but they are all united in their vision for Britain. While the Conservatives might be lead by an old Etonian, these candidates prove the partys Blue Rinse Brigade is a thing of the past. They tell Kate Jackson how they will work for YOU . . .
Dahenna Davison, Claire Coutinho, Oni Oviri, Kim Caddy and Sara Kumar all Tory candidates and not a blue rinse among them
Bishop Auckland. Labour since 1935. Labour maj: 502
Politics offered chance to make real change
THE 26-year-old lives in County Durham with nine-month-old rescue pup Carter. A keen runner, the Bishop Auckland candidate, who voted Leave, loves superhero movies and has four tattoos, including a Harry Potter design. She said:
‘Im not exactly a typical 26-year-old. Ive got a lot more life experience than my chubby cheeks suggest.
When I was 13, my dad, Dominic, went to the pub, on a normal Saturday night, and was killed by a single punch. He was just 35. After he died, I grew up pretty quickly.
Once I turned 14, I went to support my mum, Nicola, and my Nan every day during the trial (the accused was eventually found not guilty).
I knew I wanted to do something with my life that could help stop other kids going through the same.
I thought about joining the police, then law, but politics offered a chance to make real change.
I studied British politics and legislative studies at Hull University and Ive worked in a huge array of jobs, as a waitress, in a betting shop, in a casino and in retail.
One of my priorities is to restore A&E at Bishop Auckland Hospital. Residents in my patch have to travel to Durham or Darlington instead, and people are quite rightly in uproar.
Another huge passion is education. I was incredibly fortunate to get a place with a full scholarship to my local girls school, Sheffield High School.
I want every child to have great opportunities, and unfortunately secondary schools in the North East are not performing as well as they could be. I want to get to the root cause of that.’
East Surrey. Tory since 1918. MP Sam Gyimah joined Lib Dems last month. Tory maj: 23,914
Wanted to get Brexit over the line from the inside
CLAIRE, 34, lives in Surrey, with her partner Julian, 32, who works in finance. Claire, who is standing in East Surrey, has spent two years working as a Treasury special adviser and backed Leave in the referendum. She said:
‘My perfect weekend would be wandering round a food market, going for a walk in the hills and watching a good crime documentary.
Most of my time at the moment is spent out in the cold at train stations. Im planning to canvas at every one in the constituency.
My parents, Maria and Winston, came to this country from India in the 1970s with just 100.
Both doctors, they thought Britain would give them a better life, and that if you work hard you will be rewarded.
I wasnt one of those children who dreamt of becoming an MP. I started out in banking, working on a trading floor where there were just eight women out of 200 people.
Thats where I learned to be resilient!
In 2017, while I was working at KPMG, I was asked to help deliver Brexit. Like the rest of the population, I became fed up with how slowly things were moving and decided I wanted to help get Brexit over the line from the inside.
Im a committed Brexiteer. The most impressive thing Boris Johnson has done is break the impasse with the EU, with the general public and in Parliament, all in the face of people saying he wouldnt be able to do it.
When I speak to people in the street and ask them who they want to negotiate with the EU, every single person has said it should be Boris even if they have previously voted for other parties.
We are the only party who can deliver Brexit and a strong economy.’
South Shields. Labour since 1935 Lab maj: 14,508
Im Teflon, like Boris Johnson
BUSINESS owner Oni, 37, is running for South Shields. She voted Remain but is now committed to Brexit. She is single and lives in South London. She says:
‘I like to argue a lot. At home I was always an armchair warrior shouting at the TV. My dad, Frank, said I should join a political party so I could shout at people who can actually make things happen.
I was always fascinated by the industrial heritage of the north of England, so its exciting that Im hoping to represent the area. Ive been chatting to taxi drivers who always know whats what.
Theres huge potential in the North East and I cant understand why Labour hasnt driven growth here.
Ive experienced racial abuse, by black voters who think I am a traitor. I say to them, Name five things Labour has done for you, and they never can.
Im Teflon, like Boris Johnson, nothing like that sticks. ‘
Battersea. Bellwether seat for 30 years. Labour maj: 2,416
Whole experience made me reassess everything
THE premature birth of her daughter Anya, now 11, spurred Kims switch to politics. She is a local councillor who voted remain and is standing in Battersea, South West London. Kim, 41, grew up in Bristol and now lives in South London with her husband, Neil, 42, a lawyer, Anya, and son, Marcus, eight. She said:
‘Anya was born at 27 weeks, weighing just 4lb. She was really tiny and spent the first three months of her life in hospital.
Before she came along I had always assumed I would stay working as a finance manager, but the whole experience made me reassess everything.
I left my job and got involved in my community. I set up a mum and baby group, became a school governor and did a lot with Bliss, the premature baby charity.
In 2012 I was elected as a local councillor in Wandsworth. Housing is a huge issue, and people are worried they cant get on the housing ladder.
‘PEOPLE ARE WORRIED’
I want to push for building more homes, and more affordable homes, as well as making sure renters get a fair deal.
Crime is something I really care about, and working with community groups on how to stop people getting involved in crime in the first place.
I believe in helping people achieve their ambitions, and the bedrock of that is having great education services, great childrens services to support families and lots of opportunities in jobs and training.
I did campaign for Remain but now, three-and-a-half years on, we just need to move forward.
As a local councillor I see all the other issues people have to deal with and want to break the deadlock so we can get on with those.’
West Ham. Labour since 1997. Lab maj: 36,754
Obsession with politics came from Thatcher
THE 25-year-old lives in West London with her parents, Satish and Seema. Sara, who voted Leave, is aiming to win West Ham. She works for the Centre for Social Justice and runs a vegan protein powder business. She said:
‘At 16, I quit school without telling my parents. I loved my girls school, but I was aware of how comfortable it was and I wanted to be in a more regular environment.
I told my parents a couple of days later I was going to do my A levels at Ealing, Hammersmith and West London college and they said I should do what makes me happy.
My mum, who moved to this country from Kenya in 1972, is a local councillor for Ealing, and she is a brilliant mentor.
‘I AM PASSIONATE’
But my obsession with politics came from studying Margaret Thatcher and John Major.
I know West Ham well. My dad moved to East London from India in 1963 and studied at West Ham College. We still have family there.
My aim is to support those who are marginalised, not just ethnic minorities, but the elderly, people who suffer mental health problems, war veterans.
I want to tackle the problems people are facing on housing estates, such as drug misuse and anti-social behaviour.
I am passionate about the NHS too, even more so since I was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder this year. It caused horrific pain in my face and I had to take three months off work.
When Im not working, running my business and campaigning, Im obsessed with the gym and weight training. I go nearly every day and can now thrust 120kg.
I also love shopping, going out with friends and having my eyelashes and nails done.’