Top Lib Dem media tarts: Sept-Nov 2007

by Stephen Tall on December 5, 2007

Which Lib Dem MPs received the most media mentions between 1st September 2007 and 30th November, 2007? To find out I trawled Lexis-Nexis’s online database of all UK national newspapers (and a huge number of regional ones), feeding in the names of each of our MPs in turn, and seeing how many returns were generated.

To qualify, the MP must have been mentioned either as a Liberal Democrat or Lib Dem. This will disadvantage those MPs who are working their regional media hard, but whose names do not appear under the party’s banners. Sorry, but them’s the rules.

Anyway, here’s the list in descending order of media mentions (with their 2006-07 positions in brackets):

1. (1) Ming Campbell – 1743
2. (3) Nick Clegg – 1291
3. (7) Chris Huhne – 1006
4. (5) Vince Cable – 780
5. (2) Charles Kennedy – 460
6. (12) David Laws – 247
7. (9) Simon Hughes – 203
8. (4) Lembit Öpik – 193
9. (6) Norman Lamb – 171
10. (25) Steve Webb – 160
11. (8) Norman Baker – 130
12. (19) Julia Goldsworthy – 128
13. (30) Susan Kramer – 123
14. (18) Ed Davey – 117
15. (23) Matthew Taylor – 116
16. (20) Danny Alexander – 114
17. (15) Evan Harris – 111
18. (14) Nick Harvey – 104
19. (21) John Hemming – 99
20. (13) Alistair Carmichael – 92
21. (11) Don Foster – 90
22. (26) Mark Oaten – 78
23. (34) David Heath – 63
24. (35) Greg Mulholland – 63
25. (22) Malcolm Bruce – 61
26. (29) Lorely Burt – 53
27. (38) Jo Swinson – 53
28. (43) Alan Beith – 53
29. (17) Adrian Sanders – 50
30. (27) Phil Willis – 50
31. (28) Dan Rogerson – 49
32. (32) Michael Moore – 49
33. (16) Andrew George – 48
34. (24) Richard Younger-Ross – 46
35. (31) Colin Breed – 44
36. (49) Mike Hancock – 44
37. (10) Sarah Teather – 41
38. (44) Mark Williams – 39
39. (47) Lynne Featherstone – 38
40. (48) Jeremy Browne – 38
41. (37) Sandra Gidley – 37
42. (61) Tim Farron – 33
43. (40) Martin Horwood – 30
44. (59) Paul Holmes – 29
45. (60) Paul Keetch – 27
46. (45) Roger Williams – 26
47. (33) Jenny Willott – 24
48. (50) John Thurso – 24
49. (46) Bob Russell – 22
50. (51) Alan Reid – 19
51. (36) Stephen Williams – 17
52. (39) Robert Smith – 17
53. (41) John Barrett – 16
54. (53) John Pugh – 16
55. (62) David Howarth – 16
56. (52) Willie Rennie – 15
57. (58) Annette Brooke – 14
58. (57) Paul Rowen – 13
59. (56) Tom Brake – 11
60. (42) Andrew Stunell – 8
61. (55) Paul Burstow – 7
62. (63) Mark Hunter – 6
63. (54) John Leech – 2

The list naturally comes with a heavy health warning – as I note whenever I produce these rankings, media mentions can be both positive and negative… as the MP who appears at No. 1 might wryly observe.

Nonetheless, as a party which often struggles to have its voice heard outside election time – when the broadcast media is forced by law actually to do its job, and report impartially – it’s clearly crucial that all our MPs do their utmost to ensure they and the party are as prominent as possible.

The party leadership has rather dominated coverage of the Lib Dems in the last three months, inevitably boosting the profiles of both leadership candidates, as well as our acting leader (and his two predecessors). So, among the shadow cabinet, I’m going to single out for congratulations David Laws, who has jumped up the ‘media tarts’ table to sixth place, and has proved an extremely effective headline-grabber in his high-profile role as Lib Dem shadow secretary of state for children, schools and families.

It’s also only fair to note that Lib Dem shadow cabinet members are, generally, going to find it easier to get into the press than our backbenchers. So particular congratulations are due to Matthew Taylor, Evan Harris, and John Hemming for their high placings. (Charles Kennedy is a bit of a special case.)

* Editor’s note: This is the third such list I’ve compiled: the first was back in March on my own blog, and the second was published here on LDV back in September.