Who are Damien Egan and Gen Kitchen? Labour’s new MPs after by-election victories

Damien Egan and Genevieve Kitchen are the Labour Party’s newest MPs after they overturned large majorities in the Kingswood and Wellingborough by-elections respectively. 

The by-election in Kingswood took place after former Conservative MP Chris Skidmore stood down in protest at the government’s plan to boost oil and gas drilling in the North Sea.

Damien Egan beat Sam Bromiley, the Conservative candidate in Kingswood, by 2,501 votes. 

The by-election in Wellingborough was held after former Conservative MP Peter Bone was forced out of the House of Commons, with an inquiry upholding claims he “committed many varied acts of bullying and one act of sexual misconduct” against a staff member.

Kitchen beat the Conservative candidate in Wellingborough Helen Harrison, the relatively new partner of the ousted Bone, by more than 6,000 votes.

Born in 1996, Kitchen was a philanthropy manager at a children’s health charity and a former head of fundraising at a Children’s Hospice.

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Having studied History and Politics at Queen Mary University in London between 2013 and 2016, she served on Newham Council in London from 2018-2022. 

Kitchen, who grew up in Northampton, is also a Trustee of London City Airport’s Community Fund.

The new Labour MP for Kingswood, Egan, has served as mayor of Lewisham since 2018, and was re-elected in 2022. 

He was first elected a councillor on Lewisham Council in 2010, and went on to serve as the cabinet member for housing between 2014 and 2017. 

Born in Cork, Ireland, he grew up in Bristol.

He previously contested the constituencies of Weston-Super-Mare and Beckenham at the 2005 and 2010 general elections respectively. 

He was raised a Catholic but later converted to Judaism, the religion of his husband. 

He once became a parish councillor in Downend and Staple Hill in Bristol at the age of 21.

What’s at stake in the Kingswood and Wellingborough by-elections?