SPG Annual Weekend 2021: In conversation with… ‘How new MPs have adapted to Covid-19’

Saturday 14:30 – 15:30
  • Ben Lake MP (Plaid Cymru, Ceredigion);
  • Dehenna Davison MP (Conservative, Bishop Auckland);

Chair: Prof Emma Crewe (SOAS)


Panellist Biographies

Ben Lake MP (Plaid Cymru, Ceredigion)

In the 2017 general election, Ben Lake won the Ceredigion constituency, gaining the seat from Liberal Democrat Mark Williams with 11,623 votes (29.2% of the overall vote).  In the 2019 general election, Lake retained his seat with 15,208 votes (37.9% of the overall vote). He is currently the youngest MP in Wales. Lake is currently the Plaid Cymru spokesperson at Westminster for the Environment, Food, Rural Affairs, Education, Skills, Health, Communities, Local Government, Culture, Media, Sport and Constitutional Affairs. Lake was appointed a member of the Welsh Affairs Committee in September 2017. He is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on State Pension Inequality for Women. In December 2017, Lake was awarded the ‘Politician to Watch’ prize as part of the ITV Welsh Politician of the Year Awards 2017. In August 2019, Lake was nominated for the MP of the Year Award, acknowledging MPs who actively work with under-represented and disadvantaged communities across the UK.


Dehenna Davison MP (Conservative, Bishop Auckland)

Dehenna Davison was selected as the Conservative candidate for the Kingston upon Hull North constituency in the 2015 general election. She finished in third behind the Labour Party and UK Independence Party candidates. Davison supported Brexit in the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum. She next contested the Sedgefield constituency in the 2017 general election where she finished second behind the Labour candidate.

She was elected as MP for the Bishop Auckland constituency in the 2019 general election, with a majority of 7,962 (17.8%) on a swing of 9.5% from Labour to the Conservatives. Davison was the first Conservative MP for the constituency since its creation in 1885. The seat had been represented by a Labour MP since 1935. Her campaign focused on promises on Brexit, and reopening Bishop Auckland Hospital’s emergency department, which had been closed in 2009. Prior to becoming an MP, Davison was a research and development analyst for LUMO, a company which advises businesses on tax credits.


Professor Emma Crewe (SOAS)

Emma Crewe has been teaching and working on international aid, development and politics since the late 1980s. She began as a social scientist in the energy department of an international non-governmental organisation while undertaking doctoral research on the politics of aid (published in ‘Whose Development? 1998, co-authored with E A Harrison).

As a lecturer at the University of Sussex (1993-96) she taught on anthropology and development studies courses. Subsequently she was an adviser to grant-makers and freelance consultant working with donor governments and NGOs. More recently, she was Executive Director of ChildHope, a UK-based INGO working on social justice with national NGOs and networks in Africa, Asia and Latin America (2005-2011). Since 2014 Emma has been teaching on a highly innovative course at the University of Hertfordshire Business School, supervising postgraduates to research their own organisations and drawing on sociology/anthropology, complexity sciences, and American pragmatism.

Emma’s ethnographies of the House of Lords (ESRC funded, 1998-2002) and the British House of Commons (on a Leverhulme Research Fellowship, 2011-2013) were the first on the UK Parliament.

As a researcher at SOAS, she co-ordinated a research coalition investigating Parliament and public engagement in Bangladesh and Ethiopia with Hansard Society and national researchers (ESRC-DFID funded, 2014-2017).

In 2017 Emma established the Global Research Network for Parliaments and People at SOAS with a grant-making programme to support national scholars to study the relationship between Parliaments and People in Myanmar and Ethiopia (supported by Arts and Humanities Research Council/Global Challenges Research Fund).


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