Anne Begg

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Dame Anne Begg
DBE MP
Anne Addresses May Day Rally in 2008.JPG
Member of Parliament
for Aberdeen South
Incumbent
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by Raymond Robertson
Majority 3,506 (8.1%)
Personal details
Born (1955-12-06) 6 December 1955 (age 58)
Brechin, Angus, Scotland
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Alma mater University of Aberdeen
Website www.annebegg.com

Dame (Margaret) Anne Begg,[1] DBE (born 6 December 1955) is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Aberdeen South since 1997. Begg is the first permanent wheelchair user in the House of Commons since 1880.[2][3]

Education and career[edit]

Begg was educated at the Damacre Primary School in Brechin; Brechin High School on Duke Street (both also attended by Sir Robert Watson-Watt), and the University of Aberdeen where she earned an MA in History and Politics.[4][5] From Aberdeen College of Education (merged with the Dundee College of Education in 1987 to become the Northern College of Education then became the Faculty of Education of the University of Aberdeen in December 2001), she gained a Secondary Teaching Certificate in 1978.

From 1978 she taught history and English at the Webster's High School in Kirriemuir.[5] She joined the Labour Party in 1983.[6] In 1988 she became the principal teacher of English at the Arbroath Academy.[5] In the same year she won the Disabled Scot of the Year Award.[4]

Begg was selected to stand for election for Labour through an all-women shortlist.[7] Aberdeen South like many seats fell to Labour in their landslide victory at the 1997 general election. She defeated the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Scottish Office Raymond Robertson.[8] In 2001, she became the first Labour MP to retain the Aberdeen South seat.

Begg has been a wheelchair user since 1984 as she lives with the degenerative Gaucher's disease.[5] She was the second full-time user of a wheelchair elected to the House of Commons, after Arthur MacMorrough Kavanagh who was first elected in 1868 and sat until 1880.[9] She made her maiden speech on 21 May 1997.[10][11] She is currently Secretary of the All-Party BBC Group and Chair of the All Party Group on Equalities, the All Party Oil and Gas Industry Group, the All Party Group on Chronic Pain, and the All Party Commercial Radio group.[12] She is also currently a member of the House of Commons Chairmen’s Panel[5] and has recently been appointed to be Vice Chair of the recently instituted Speaker's Conference which is tasked with looking at the under representation of women, ethnic minorities and disabled people in the House of Commons.[13]

Since July 2010 she has chaired the Work and Pensions Select Committee.

Votes and political views[edit]

Begg voted in favour of a bill that banned smoking in restaurants in April 2003.[14] In December 2004 and October 2005, she voted in favour of the Identity Cards Bill.[15][16] She voted in favour of allowing unmarried heterosexual and homosexual couples to adopt,[17] and in favour of the Civil Partnership Bill.[18] In March 2002, she voted to ban the hunting of wild mammals with dogs.[19] She voted in favour of the NHS Foundation Trust proposal[20] and against the replacement of the Trident system.[21]

She voted in favour of adding clauses to a bill that allow the Secretary of State to detain indefinitely, pending deportation, anyone he suspects is a terrorist, even if the law forbids that person's deportation from ever taking place.[22] She voted against allowing people detained at a police station to be fingerprinted and searched for an identifying birthmark only if it is in connection with a terrorism investigation.[23]

In March 2003, she voted against the declaration of war against Iraq.[24] In June 2003, she voted against a motion that would have recalled the Prime Minister's assertion that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that could be used at 45 minutes' notice, and launching an independent inquiry into the intelligence received and the decisions that were based on it.[25] In June 2007, she voted against a motion calling for an independent inquiry by a committee of Privy Counsellors into the Iraq War.[26]

In November 2008, Begg was one of 18 MPs who signed a Commons motion backing a Team GB football team at the 2012 Olympics, saying football "should not be any different from other competing sports and our young talent should be allowed to show their skills on the world stage". The football governing bodies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all opposed to a Great Britain team, fearing it would stop them competing as individual nations in future tournaments.

During the 2009 MPs expenses scandal, Begg was one of the first Scottish MPs to take the step of publishing all of her claims under the Additional Costs Allowance on her website before they were released by the House of Commons authorities saying that it was "important people can see how MPs spend taxpayers' money."[27]

In June 2011, Begg crossed swords with Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, over the issue of disabled people being allowed to work for less than minimum wage if they so choose in order to establish themselves in employment. Davies explained that he was representing the views of constituents anxious to get a foothold on the earnings ladder, but Begg believed that this was simply an attempt to discriminate against disabled people.[28]

National campaigns[edit]

Begg is a vocal campaigner for allowing embryonic stem cells to be used in the research for treatments of diseases, including currently incurable conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease.[29] She has also been heavily involved in lobbying the Department of Health against an all-out ban on the pain-relief drug co-proxamol, used by many people who suffer from chronic pain conditions.[30]

She has also taken the lead in lobbying the government on issues such as the Seafarer's Earnings Deduction[31] and compensation for trawlermen who lost their livelihoods during the Cod Wars.[32] In the 2009 Budget, Begg also won a concession from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling MP, that "those caring responsibilities of grandparents of working age will count towards their entitlement to the basic state pension."[33] Begg had campaigned for grandparents of working age to receive National Insurance Credits in recognition of the fact that their caring role may impact on their contributions to their state pension entitlement.[34][35]

On the floor of the House of Commons, Begg has also vehemently criticised fraudsters who take advantage of vulnerable people in her constituency through the use of mail scams[36] and pyramid schemes.[37]

Local campaigns[edit]

Begg was one of the most vociferous critics of Aberdeen City Council during the budget crisis of 2008, which lead to many of her constituents having their services cut.[38] In 2009 Begg also criticised as "draconian" a move by Aberdeen City Council to set a debt collection agency on an 80-year old partially sighted woman for the sum of £17.50.[39]

Begg also wrote to the Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond requesting a change to the house buying system in Scotland.[40] She also criticised plans to close an Aberdeen school 18 months after it had been saved, saying that they were "closing the school by stealth."[41]

Personal life[edit]

In November 1999 Begg sustained a broken wrist and a broken leg and was knocked from her wheelchair in a road accident outside Aberdeen Airport.[42] Begg was forced to stay in hospital for three months as a result of her injuries.[42]

She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to disabled people and to equal opportunities.[43]

Notable former employees[edit]

  • Catherine Stihler, Labour MEP for Scotland
  • Ian Price, General Secretary of the Scottish Labour Party
  • Andrew Learmonth, Scottish Comedian

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.ukwhoswho.com/view/article/oupww/whoswho/U7069/
  2. ^ Mp, Labour (21 October 2002). "Anne Begg". BBC News. 
  3. ^ http://www.turtlebunbury.com/history/history_heroes/hist_hero_arthur_kavanagh.html
  4. ^ a b "VOTE 2001 – CANDIDATES:". BBC News. Retrieved 18 September 2007. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Biography of Anne Begg MP". Anne Begg. Archived from the original on 25 October 2007. Retrieved 18 September 2007. 
  6. ^ "Anne Begg". ePolitix.com. Retrieved 18 September 2007. 
  7. ^ Find Articles[dead link]
  8. ^ "VOTE 2001 – RESULTS & CONSTITUENCIES – Aberdeen South". BBC News. Retrieved 18 September 2007. 
  9. ^ "Interview with Anne Begg, Member of Parliament, U.K.". Disability World. 16 June 2004. Retrieved 18 September 2007. 
  10. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 21 May 1997 (pt 27)". Archived from the original on 26 October 2007. Retrieved 18 September 2007. 
  11. ^ http://www.turtlebunbury.com/history/history_heroes/hist_hero_arthur_kavanagh.html
  12. ^ "Anne's biography". Labour Party. Retrieved 19 December 2008. 
  13. ^ "Speaker's Conference:Membership". UK Parliament. Retrieved 19 December 2008. 
  14. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 14 Apr 2003 (pt 15)". UK Parliament. Retrieved 17 September 2007. 
  15. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 20 Dec 2004 (pt 42)". UK Parliament. Retrieved 17 September 2007. 
  16. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 18 Oct 2005 (pt 35)". UK Parliament. Retrieved 17 September 2007. 
  17. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 4 Nov 2002 (pt 28)". UK Parliament. Retrieved 17 September 2007. 
  18. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 12 Oct 2004 (pt 34)". UK Parliament. Retrieved 17 September 2007. 
  19. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 18 Mar 2002 (pt 40)". UK Parliament. Retrieved 17 September 2007. 
  20. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 8 Jul 2003 (pt 27)". UK Parliament. Retrieved 17 September 2007. 
  21. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 14 Mar 2007 (pt 0022)". UK Parliament. Retrieved 17 September 2007. 
  22. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 21 Nov 2001 (pt 28)". UK Parliament. Archived from the original on 27 August 2007. Retrieved 17 September 2007. 
  23. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 26 Nov 2001 (pt 30)". UK Parliament. Retrieved 17 September 2007. 
  24. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 18 Mar 2003 (pt 48)". UK Parliament. Archived from the original on 21 August 2007. Retrieved 17 September 2007. 
  25. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 4 Jun 2003 (pt 25)". UK Parliament. Retrieved 17 September 2007. 
  26. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 11 Jun 2007 (pt 0015)". UK Parliament. Retrieved 17 September 2007. 
  27. ^ "Doran's books reveal repairs expenditure". The Press and Journal. 19 May 2009. 
  28. ^ Stratton, Allegra (17 June 2011). "Tory MP Philip Davies: disabled people could work for less pay". The Guardian (London). 
  29. ^ "UK to extend embyo research". BBC News. 19 December 2000. Retrieved 9 January 2009. 
  30. ^ "Co-proxamol row heats up as MPs deman U-turn". Pulse. 19 January 2007. Retrieved 9 January 2009. 
  31. ^ "Minister hints seafarers will escape tax blow". The Press and Journal. 16 October 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  32. ^ "Cod War fishermen in line for extra payouts". the Press and Journal. 12 December 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  33. ^ "Government’s plans ‘a missed opportunity’". Press and Journal. 23 April 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2009. 
  34. ^ "Early Day Motions". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 April 2009. [dead link]
  35. ^ "Ways and Means – Financial Statement". TheyWorkForYou. 22 April 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2009. 
  36. ^ "Mail scams concerns to be raised". BBC News. 20 February 2008. Retrieved 9 January 2009. 
  37. ^ "'Women Empowering Women' scheme". UK Parliament. 27 November 2001. Retrieved 9 January 2009. 
  38. ^ "£50m cuts fear for city council". BBC News. 16 July 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  39. ^ "MP slams 'draconian' debt threat". BBC News. 2 March 2009. Archived from the original on 6 March 2009. Retrieved 15 April 2009. 
  40. ^ "A Labour MP has been backed in her call for a change to the house buying system in Scotland. Anne Begg, who represents Aberdeen South, wants to change the blind bidding...". The Press and Journal. Retrieved 17 September 2007. [dead link]
  41. ^ "Political outcry over school plan". BBC News. 15 February 2006. Retrieved 17 September 2007. 
  42. ^ a b Scotland MP injured in airport accident BBC News, 8 November 1999
  43. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59647. p. 6. 31 December 2010.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Raymond Robertson
Member of Parliament for Aberdeen South
1997–present
Incumbent