David Anthony Gerald Sumberg (born June 2, 1941 in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire) is a British politician, and former Member of the European Parliament for the North West England region for the Conservative Party. He was first elected to the European Parliament in 1999 and stood down in 2009.
He is married to Carolyn and has two grown up children, Jonathan and Katie. In the 1970s he was a partner in a firm of Manchester lawyers Maurice Rubin & Co. Sumberg was previously the Member of Parliament for Bury South, from 1983 to 1997, and is a former Manchester City Councillor. As an MP he acted as the Parliamentary Private Secretary for the Attorney General, Sir Patrick Mayhew.He seconded the Loyal Humble Address of Ian Gow MP in November 1989; a privilege that was traditionally afforded only once to an MP. During the occasion he was criticized by Eric Heffer MP for making a personal reference. "An earnest man ... of considerable courage", remarked Neil Kinnock MP, when making the opposition reply to the address. "graciously he might become something of a rolling stone... until then...", joked the Labour leader.
After losing his seat in 1997, the Labour Government published correspondence about the "Hillsborough Disaster Inquiry", during which period Sumberg was PPS to the Home Office. It was revealed a constituent had written the MP aghast at no inquiry going forward. As an MEP, he said that he was "not a signed up member" of the "European Project" and did not support a more centralised European Union, "unlike most of my MEP colleagues".
He has been criticised by members of other political parties and the national media for his low attendance and political inactivity. Although he has made speeches on other occasions. From 2004 to 2008 he made only two speeches and gave twelve “explanations of votes” - a total of 536 words. He has also tabled only five questions and has not written any of the reports or tabled any resolutions to the one committee he sat on. His local rival, Chris Davies MEP, said he would undoubtedly make the shortlist for Britain's laziest MEP. Defending himself, he said speeches in the European Parliament did not achieve a great deal as they are to empty chambers with no-one listening.When he stepped down from the European Parliament, his reasons were made public.
He paid his wife £54,000 per year from the staff allowance and claimed £40,000 per year in office expenses; he used the North West England Conservative Campaigns Centre as a forwarding address to his house in his north London, where he claimed the expenses.
- MEP has no office in constituency but still claims £40,000 expenses, The Times, 2008-11-23
- 'UK's laziest MEP' made two speeches in 4 years, The Independent, 2008-06-10 Retrieved 2014-11-21.
- http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-454016449701231/unrestricted/Etd5.pdf Retrieved 2014-11-21.
- http://www.boltoninterweb.co.uk/index.php/Members_of_Parliament. Retrieved 2014-11-21
- http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/uks-laziest-mep-made-two-speeches-in-4-years-843828.html# Retrieved 2014-11-21
- EastEnders MEP pays gay lover £30,000 to be his secretary, Daily Mail, 2008-06-10
- http://www.buryfocus.co.uk/news-features/17/news-headlines/6686/comments-on-decision-by-exbury-south-mp-to-step-down-from-euro-job Retrieved 2014-11-21.
- http://www.libdemvoice.org/david-sumberg-6188.html Retrieved 2014-11-21.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by David Sumberg
- Profile on European Parliament website
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