Alan Hurst (politician)
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|Member of Parliament
1 May 1997 – 5 May 2005
|Preceded by||Tony Newton|
|Succeeded by||Brooks Newmark|
|Born||2 September 1945|
|Alma mater||University of Liverpool|
Before his election as MP he had been deputy leader of Southend-on-Sea Council, joining the council in 1968. He continued to practise part-time as a solicitor while an MP.
At the 1997 general election he caused a stir by overturning Tony Newton's majority of c. 17,000, by a majority of just over 1,400; Braintree had been Conservative since the 1955 election. Almost as surprising (though not with hindsight, since the Tories made next to no progress nationally in 2001) was his holding the seat at the 2001 general election, though this time with a majority of 358, making it Labour's second-most marginal victory at that election and the sixth-most overall. He lost the seat in the 2005 general election to Brooks Newmark of the Conservative Party.
Hurst never held government office, remaining a backbencher. He served on the Select Committee for agriculture for a time (including during the 2001 UK foot and mouth crisis) and then on the Speaker's Panel. He occasionally rebelled against the government (see Public Whip page), often on judicial issues, though not on any high-profile issues or as part of any major rebellions, with the exception of supporting an amendment to the top-up fees bill (Higher Education Act 2004) which would have removed such fees from the bill whilst maintaining other aspects of it, an attempt to have the bill's increased funding for universities without higher fees (presumably by putting up the basic or higher rate of income tax or introducing a graduate tax); the government claimed that the greater funding (almost, though not quite, universally accepted to be necessary) could only be achieved with top-up fees, so the choice was fees or continuing underfunding, but many saw this as a false dichotomy imposed by the government (which had pledged not to raise income tax - indeed, had cut it in its first term - and had already raised National Insurance contributions once, though this move was very popular) to hold funding hostage, as it were, and ensure the bill's passing. This rebellion was not overly important, as the much larger rebellion on the bill's second reading had already failed (by a mere five votes). He did vote for a total ban on hunting with dogs when the government was proposing mere restriction, but this was not, strictly speaking, a rebellion as it was a free vote.
He married Hilary Burch in 1976. They have a son and a daughter.
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Braintree