Former Aylesbury College student who grew up in Labour household making waves as Tory MP

Huw Merriman in his constituency
Huw Merriman in his constituency

A former Aylesbury College student made reference to the Vale during his maiden Commons speech after being elected as an MP.

Tory Huw Merriman, 41, who represents Bexhill and Battle on the south coast, grew up in Gawcott Fields, Buckingham and attended Buckingham School after failing his 11-plus.

Huw Merriman in the Commons

Huw Merriman in the Commons

His mum and sisters still live in the town.

While making his debut speech in the House of Commons and addressing smiling Buckingham MP John Bercow, he made a point of mentioning his common ground with the Speaker.

He said: “It is customary in a maiden speech to bestow the title of most beautiful constituency onto the one that one serves.

“I am, however, conscious of my upbringing for the first 19 years of my life in the noble constituency of Buckingham.

Huw Merriman in Westminster

Huw Merriman in Westminster

“I think it’s best to surmise that the most beautiful constituencies are entitled by the first letter of their description.”

Mr Merriman went to The Buckingham School and then Aylesbury College where he gained the A-Levels for Durham University to study law.

He qualified as a barrister but gave it up to become a trustee of a youth charity set up following the Brixton riots, while continuing as a finance lawyer.

Last month, he got three times more votes than any other candidate for the Bexhill and Battle seat to secure it for the Conservatives.

But his family were in fact Labour supporters and trade unionists.

He said: “Having crossed the dining room floor of number 6, Gawcott Fields, I know what it takes to stand for the courage of one’s convictions and to suffer the harsh consequences of washing up sanctions as a result.

“But whilst my family and I may differ in the means, the ends of giving people hope and support, education, a job, housing, support in ill health and a strong community, are the reasons why I sought election to this noble house.”

Mr Merriman moved his young family to East Sussex in 2006 and became Wealden District Councillor for Rotherfield.

He said: “I hope that people will come to know me by name and will know that I am on their side, doing my best for them.”

While campaigning prior to the election, Mr Merriman told the Bexhill Observer: “I have spent the last 18 years carving out a successful career as a lawyer but life has not always been plain sailing.

“I attended a failing secondary modern school and had to work hard to succeed.”