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The UK Houses of Parliament lit up at night

Durham University alumni and supporters will help to shape the future of UK politics following the country’s recent General Election.

Several graduates and a current member of University staff have been elected to the House of Commons as new Members of Parliament (MPs). Two of our alumni will take up seats in the House of Lords.

Appointments to the House of Lords

Durham alumnus James Timpson, OBE, Chief Executive of Timpson Group, who earlier this month was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science by the University, has been appointed to the Lords.

He becomes the Minister of State for Prisons, Parole and Probation after being invited to take up the position by new UK Labour Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer.

James, who studied geography at Durham, is Chair of the Prison Reform Trust and received his OBE for the training and employment of disadvantaged people. Timpson Group is now one of the UK’s largest employers of ex-offenders.

Baroness (Maeve) Sherlock OBE, who studied for her doctorate at Durham and is tutor at St Chad's College, has been appointed a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for Work and Pensions.  

Sir Graham Brady will join James in the Lords – the non-elected upper chamber of the UK’s Parliament which has a role in holding the Government to account.

A Durham law alumnus and former MP, Sir Graham was Chair of the Conservative Party’s influential 1922 Committee of backbench MPs.

He will take up his seat in the Lords after being appointed by former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak following the dissolution of Parliament prior to the General Election.

Elected as MPs

In the House of Commons, Carla Denyer, who graduated from Durham with a degree in mechanical engineering, has been elected as MP for Bristol Central.

Co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, Carla is one of four Green MPs – the highest number of elected members the Party has ever achieved.

Heidi Alexander, who holds an undergraduate degree in geography and a master's degree in European Urban and Regional Change from Durham, returns to Parliament as Labour MP for Swindon South, in Wiltshire. She has also been appointed Minister of State in the Ministry of Justice.

Victoria Collins, who studied history with us, was elected as the new Liberal Democrat MP for Harpenden and Berkhamsted, in Hertfordshire.

Iqbal Mohamed, who graduated in applied physics and electronics at Durham, takes his seat in the Commons as the Independent MP for Dewsbury and Batley, in West Yorkshire.

Sam Rushworth, Programme Manager in our Research and Innovation Services department, has been elected as the Labour MP for Bishop Auckland, in County Durham.

John Slinger, who holds a master's degree in international relations from Durham, has been elected as the Labour MP for Rugby, in Warwickshire.

Tris Osborne, who studied natural sciences and later business management with us, has been elected as the Labour MP for Chatham and Aylesford, in Kent. 

Phil Brickell, who studied law at Durham, was elected as Labour MP for Bolton West, in Greater Manchester. 

Lisa Smart, who studied maths with us, was elected Liberal Democrat MP for Hazel Grove, also in Greater Manchester. 

Lucy Rigby, who studied politics with us, was elected Labour MP for Northampton North.

Dr Peter Swallow, formerly a postdoctoral research fellow in our Department of Classics and Ancient History, has been elected Labour MP for Bracknell, Crowthorne and Sandhurst, in Berkshire.

And a long-standing Conservative MP has taken on one of the most prominent roles in the Commons. Sir Edward Leigh, who holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in history from Durham, becomes Father of the House.

Durham graduates are among the most highly-talented, skilled and sought-after in the world. Many go on to have influential careers in a wide variety of areas. On behalf of the University community, I would like to congratulate our alumni and supporters on their new positions in the Houses of Parliament. We wish them every success in shaping the key decisions which are so important to the lives of us all, both in the UK and around the world.

Professor Karen O'Brien
Vice-Chancellor and Warden

Chancellor appointed to Strategic Defence Review

Our Chancellor and distinguished foreign affairs expert, Dr Fiona Hill, has also been appointed by the Prime Minister Keir Starmer to co-lead a comprehensive review of the UK Armed Forces. 

Find out more