|Hamilton in 2011|
|Member of Parliament
for Leeds North East
11 June 1997
|Preceded by||Timothy Kirkhope|
12 April 1955 |
City of Westminster, London, England
|Alma mater||University of York|
Education and professional career
Fabian Hamilton was born in London to a British Jewish family, the son of a solicitor father and a judge mother. Hamilton's parents were both members of the Liberal Party and his father stood several times for the party. He was educated at Brentwood School in Essex and the University of York where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree. He worked initially as a taxi driver for a year from 1978 before working as a graphic designer until 1994 when he became as a computer systems consultant with Apple Macintosh Computer systems, which he undertook until his election to parliament.
He was elected as a councillor to the City of Leeds Council in 1987, stepping down eleven years later in 1998. He was elected as the chairman of the Leeds West Constituency Labour Party in 1987, and he contested Leeds North East at the 1992 general election but was defeated by the sitting Conservative MP Timothy Kirkhope by 4,244 votes, gaining a 5.9% swing from the Conservative Party to Labour.
Despite having achieved the highest Labour swing in the North of England, Hamilton's local constituency voted (by a margin of one vote) in favour of an all-women shortlist. At the time Hamilton was quoted by The Independent as saying:
|“||For six years, I was chair of Leeds city council's equal opportunities committee. Equal ops was my life. And to find that, as far as the Labour Party is concerned, equal opportunity now means positive discrimination, came as a real shock to me. I am told that my generation of men will just have to stand back and make way for women. And I understand why certain women in the Party have pushed that policy. But I think they're wrong. What they don't seem to take on board is that I've only got one life, too. I didn't choose my time on earth any more than I chose my sex or my race. And I really mean it when I say that being kept out of a job just because I'm a man offends me as deeply as being kept out of a job just because I'm a Jew.||”|
On the decision to adopt an all-women shortlist, Hamilton was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying, "I reluctantly accepted the decision, made by a narrow margin, for a women-only shortlist. But I felt the wisest choice would have been somebody local." Leeds North-East made its selection on 1 July 1995, selecting Liz Davies, a barrister and councillor in the London Borough of Islington. Davies defeated four local women, two of whom were Leeds city councillors. Her selection was vetoed by the National Executive Committee, allegedly for her left-wing politics; unhappy with the situation, opponents took out an unsuccessful private prosecution against Hamilton under the Companies Act in connection with his printing business.
He was elected to the House of Commons at the 1997 general election when he defeated Kirkhope in a re-run at Leeds North East by 6,959 votes and has remained the MP there since. He made his maiden speech on 23 June 1997, in which he explained that his constituency stretches from the inner-city Leeds district of Chapeltown all the way out to Harewood House, the stately home of the Earls of Harewood.
He is said to be the first MP to hold a virtual surgery for constituents: local people go to his constituency office while he is in London, and converse via webcam.
In parliament he served as a member of the Administration Select Committee 1997-2001, and has been a member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee since the 2001 general election. He is also the chairman of the all party groups on business services, prison health, and civil contingency, he also serves as the vice chairman of the all party Iran group. He is chairing the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet.
During the parliamentary expenses scandal, The Daily Telegraph reported that Hamilton had incorrectly claimed £3000 on expenses for mortgage payments. In addition to the interest on the mortgage, which can be claimed as an expense, Hamiltion claimed for interest on an equity release scheme on the house, which cannot. Hamilton responded in a statement that this was "a genuine mistake" and that the money was paid back when the error was discovered by the House of Commons Fees Office. The Telegraph also accused Hamilton of "flipping" his second home designation to decorate and furnish both his constituency home in Leeds and London flat. In a statement Hamilton defended his actions and accused The Daily Telegraph of "deliberately misrepresenting" him.
He has been married to Rosemary Ratcliffe since 1980 and they have two daughters and a son. He has been a member of Amicus since it absorbed his former union, the Graphical, Paper and Media Union. He is Jewish and speaks fluent French.
- Jessica Elgot. "New Jewish ministers and the Miliband rivalry". The Jewish Chronicle.
- "Election 1992: The Full Results". The Independent. 11 April 1992. p. 31.
- Dickson, E. Jane (15 July 1995). "No man's land". The Independent. p. 8 (Features).
- Hadfield, Greg (3 July 1995). "Outsider dealing". Daily Mail. p. 11 (Features).
- "MP accuses opponents of legal chicanery". The Lawyer. 11 April 1997.
- "Live from London … your MP". Yorkshire Evening Post. 23 October 2008. p. 15.
- All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet
- Prince, Rosa (13 May 2009). "Fabian Hamilton overclaimed for mortgage while living with mother". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 August 2009.
- http://www.leedsne.co.uk/expenses_statement.htm[dead link]
- Fabian Hamilton MP official site
- Guardian Unlimited Politics - Ask Aristotle: Fabian Hamilton MP
- TheyWorkForYou.com - Fabian Hamilton MP
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Leeds North East