Parliament Street Chief Executive, Patrick Sullivan in the start of a series looking at members of the new intake of Conservative MPs focuses on a particularly effective maiden speech.

With a new Parliament comes new MPs and one of their first tasks is the delivery of their maiden speech. The maiden speech is enough to put butterflies in the stomach of even the most confident politico. You don't want to bomb on your first outing in the House. A dismal first outing didn't stop Benjamin Disraeli, who famously was jeered during his maiden speech, closing with the memorable line "Though I sit down now, the time will come when you will hear me."

Alternatively, if you make too good an impression in your maiden speech, you will spend the rest of your career trying to live up to it. As anyone who has followed the Marvel Cinematic Universe knows you want to build up to your grand finale, or endgame. An example of an MP who never quite lived up to the promise of his maiden speech was F. E. Smith, later Lord Birkenhead. His maiden speech is still regarded as one of the finest in British political history and even has its own Wikipedia page. But what became of Lord Birkenhead, if you were to mention him now, most Britons would think you must be talking of comedy election candidate, Lord Buckethead (now Count Binface). To be fair to Lord Birkenhead, he did go on to serve as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for India, which isn't too shabby but in the expectations game of politics, he never quite lived up to his early potential.

So now to the maiden speeches of this new Parliament and what talent can we spot watching them.

I was personally struck watching the maiden of Dean Russell, the new MP for Watford, in that it was the first time in my memory that I heard the Chamber go "awww" as he told the assembled MPs:

"For many years, I have felt that we need to bring the world back together, to be less divisive and to try to tie those threads together. I have had a daily philosophy for many years, and it goes like this: HOPE is an acronym, and it stands for Help One Person Everyday. If we all do that in our own lives, in a way that changes people's lives, we will have a better world."

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Certain other politicians would not have been able to deliver that message without appearing corny, but with Dean, his sincerity shone through. Most of his new colleagues could be excused if they had been made cynical by years of wading through the backbiting and infighting that too often seems to come with politics. The response that Dean received was akin to receiving an "awww" from a room of Victor Meldrews or Larry Davids.

The speech was the best in a series of excellent maiden speeches, and it would serve as a good model for newly elected MPs making their inaugural speeches in future.  He thanked his predecessor, the famous Richard Harrington and spoke about the big shoes he had to fill. There was the red meat to the Conservative Party base when he said:

"As a Conservative, I feel that in this election we battled our own "Chase" and our beast?the beast of socialism?and we won. We defeated that beast."

He spoke to his constituents and sold his constituency to the nation and the world by tying his constituency to beloved national institutions like Elton John, Doctor Who and Harry Potter. The Making of Harry Potter Tour is a crucial tourist attraction in Watford.

He was able to get a good laugh out of the one verbal slip-up he did make and turned it into a highlight when he went "Madam Speaker?sorry, Madam Deputy Speaker; I promoted you". 

Dean then closed with a hopeful (pun intended) message which audibly appealed to the Cameroons that still make up a sizable percentage of the Conservative Parliamentary Party. All in all, a full spectrum maiden speech. It laid a strong foundation on which Dean can now build.

Of course, the maiden speech is not the only way a new MP can make a good first impression, and in my next column, I will be looking at how Paul Bristow, the new Conservative MP for Peterborough is making effective use of podcasting.

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