Conservative MP secures top billing in draw to introduce new laws in the Commons

A Conservative MP has been warned he will face a deluge of messages from campaigners after securing the coveted top spot to introduce legislation to the House of Commons.

Mark Jenkinson (Workington) won the private members’ bill ballot, thereby securing first pick when it comes to securing parliamentary time on a sitting Friday to propose a bill he wishes to become law.

He finished ahead of Labour MPs Barry Gardiner (Brent North) in second, Carolyn Harris (Swansea East) in third and Conservative former cabinet ministers Liam Fox and Sajid Javid in fourth and fifth respectively.

Labour’s Kevin Brennan (Cardiff West) and Jeff Smith (Manchester Withington) rounded off the top seven, who have priority slots for their bills.

Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing said 459 MPs entered the ballot in a bid to secure the 20 available slots.

She explained: “That’s almost everyone on the backbenches, so clearly there is a great appetite for private members’ bills.”

The Palace of Westminster (Aaron Chown/PA)
The Palace of Westminster (Aaron Chown/PA)

Dame Eleanor threw herself into the task of drawing numbers, which were linked to the names of MPs, at random with gusto, noting: “I quite like being a bingo caller.”

On the top seven slots, she explained: “They will be guaranteed the opportunity of a full day’s debate on their bill as the first item on each of the seven sitting Fridays on which second readings have priority.

“So if you’re in the top seven you will, as of the next five minutes, become very much sought after by lots of lobby groups, interest groups, charities and campaigners who want you to take up their cause – and most of those are worthwhile.”

Dame Eleanor, ahead of pulling out the final ball from the bowl, joked: “The Member of Parliament who will for the rest of today get the most emails and phone calls asking them to take up a very good cause – and it will be very interesting for all of us to see what that proposed change of the law will be – and it’s number six, Mark Jenkinson.

“I hope you’re watching Mark Jenkinson, prepare for your phone to start ringing.”

Mr Jenkinson said: “It is a huge privilege as an MP to have been drawn first out of the private members’ bill ballot.

“This will secure time in the Commons to move a Bill – as a backbench MP, elected in 2019, representing the Workington constituency, this will be a first for me.

“I am presently considering options as regards the content of the bill I will put forward and I’ll release more details in the coming weeks.”

The 20 MPs, in order of priority are:

1. Conservative Mark Jenkinson (Workington);
2. Labour’s Barry Gardiner (Brent North);
3. Labour’s Carolyn Harris (Swansea East);
4. Conservative Liam Fox (North Somerset);
5. Conservative Sajid Javid (Bromsgrove);
6. Labour’s Kevin Brennan (Cardiff West);
7. Labour’s Jeff Smith (Manchester Withington);
8. SDLP Colum Eastwood (Foyle);
9. Conservative Peter Gibson (Darlington);
10. Conservative Ben Spencer (Runnymede and Weybridge);
11. Conservative Mel Stride (Central Devon);
12. Independent Margaret Ferrier (Rutherglen and Hamilton West);
13. Labour’s Matt Rodda (Reading East);
14. Conservative Jane Stevenson (Wolverhampton North East);
15. Labour’s Chris Bryant (Rhondda);
16. Conservative Sir Paul Beresford (Mole Valley);
17. Conservative Jeremy Wright (Kenilworth and Southam);
18. Conservative Richard Fuller (North East Bedfordshire);
19. Conservative Andrew Rosindell (Romford);
20. Labour’s Rosie Cooper (West Lancashire).