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20 under 40: Tristram Hunt

Age: 37
Labour, Stoke-on-Trent Central

It was no wonder some Labour noses were put out of joint when the historian Tristram Hunt, articulate, photogenic and cerebral, was parachuted into a safe seat at the last election. It became the most closely fought contest locally in decades, but eventually he won the seat with a reduced majority of 5,565. Hitherto best known for his television documentaries and books, including a widely praised biography of Friedrich Engels, Hunt worked as an election volunteer for Labour in 1997 and 2001, and supported Oona King's campaign against George Galloway in Bethnal Green in 2005. Since entering parliament, he has proved a reliably contrarian figure, calling for the government to reintroduce entry fees to museums and galleries. However, as PPS to Liam Byrne, the man leading Labour's policy review, Hunt will have an opportunity to display his intellectual heft.

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This article first appeared in the 19 September 2011 issue of the New Statesman, Meet the next Prime Minister