Gisela Stuart

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Gisela Stuart
Stuart in 2008
Member of Parliament
for Birmingham Edgbaston
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by Jill Knight
Majority 1,274 (3.1%)
Personal details
Born (1955-11-26) 26 November 1955 (age 59)
Velden, Bavaria, West Germany
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Robert Scott Stuart (1980-2000; divorced)
Derek Scott (2010-12; died)
Children 2 sons
Alma mater University of London External System
University of Birmingham[1]
Religion Roman Catholic

Gisela Gschaider Stuart (born 26 November 1955) is a German-born, British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Birmingham Edgbaston since 1997.

Early life[edit]

Stuart, who was born as Gisela Gschaider in Velden, Bavaria, West Germany, was raised in her parents' Roman Catholic faith. She attended the Realschule Vilsbiburg on Amselstraße in Vilsbiburg.

After serving an apprenticeship in bookselling she moved to Britain in 1974 in order to improve her English and to undertake a Business Studies course at Manchester Polytechnic. Stuart subsequently relocated to the Midlands.

She graduated from the University of London with an LLB in 1993, having studied through the University of London External System. From 1992-7, she was a law lecturer at Worcester College of Technology. She began researching for a PhD in trust law (ownership of pension funds) at the University of Birmingham, however she did not complete her PhD and instead went into politics full-time.[2]

In 1994 Stuart contested the Worcester and South Warwickshire seat at the European Elections.[3]

Parliamentary career[edit]

In 1995, Stuart was selected as Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for the Birmingham Edgbaston constituency, which had been held by the Conservative Party for over 70 years. On 1 May 1997, Stuart was elected as the first ever Labour MP for the seat, making it one of a succession of traditionally true blue seats to succumb to the landslide Labour victory. Stuart's victory was also the first televised Labour gain of the evening.

During the first Tony Blair premiership, Stuart served on the Social Security Select Committee and in 1998 as PPS to Home Office Minister of State Paul Boateng, before joining the Government in 1999 as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health. Stuart left the Government in the reshuffle that followed the 2001 General Election.[4]

In Blair's second term, Stuart was appointed as one of the UK Parliamentary Representatives to the European Convention, which was tasked with drawing up a new constitution for the European Union. In this capacity, Stuart also served as one of the 13 members of the Convention's Presidium - the steering group responsible for managing the business of the Convention.

The experience of drawing up the Constitution had a significant impact upon Stuart's views of the European Union. When the draft Constitution finally emerged, Stuart was amongst its most trenchant critics, stating that it had been drawn up by a "self-selected group of the European political elite" determined to deepen European integration. She subsequently expounded upon these views in a 2004 Fabian Society pamphlet, "The Making of Europe's Constitution".

Between 2001 and 2010, Stuart also served as a member of the House of Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs.[5]

She held Birmingham Edgbaston for Labour at the 2005 General Election but her majority was exactly halved in both percentage and numerical terms. Despite the predictions of the pundits, Stuart went on to retain the seat at the 2010 general election, against a national tide of Labour defeat.[6] Her successful campaign has been seen as a model for a new style of community-based Labour politics. It also earned her the title of Survivor of the Year at The Spectator magazine’s 2010 Parliamentarian of the Year awards, which was presented to her by the new Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron.[7]

She is a signatory of the Henry Jackson Society principles, which promote the spread of liberal democracy across the world and the maintenance of a strong military with global expeditionary reach.[8] Following the election, she joined the Commons Select Committee on Defence.[9]

Stuart is also editor of the weekly political magazine The House Magazine.[10]

Support for George W. Bush's re-election[edit]

In October 2004, she became the only Labour MP who openly supported the re-election of George W. Bush in that year's US presidential election, arguing "you know where you stand with George and, in today's world, that's much better than rudderless leaders who drift with the prevailing wind." She wrote that a victory for Democratic Party challenger, John Kerry, would prompt "victory celebrations among those who want to destroy liberal democracies. More terrorists and suicide bombers would step forward to become martyrs in their quest to destroy the West."[11]

Personal life[edit]

She was married to Derek Scott, who was economic adviser to the Prime Minister during the Blair Government. Scott died on 31 July 2012. She has two grown-up sons from her previous marriage to Robert Scott Stuart.

Voting record[edit]

How Stuart voted on key issues since 2001:[12]

  • Has never voted on a transparent Parliament
  • Voted for introducing a smoking ban
  • Voted for introducing ID cards
  • Voted for introducing foundation hospitals
  • Voted for introducing student top-up fees
  • Voted for Labour's anti-terrorism laws
  • Voted for the Iraq war
  • Voted against investigating the Iraq war
  • Voted for replacing Trident
  • Voted for the hunting ban
  • Voted for equal gay rights

Intention to run for mayor of Birmingham and Other Incidents[edit]

In October 2011, Gisela Stuart announced that should Birmingham vote to have an elected mayor, she would seek to become the Labour Party candidate for that position. She has played a leading role in the efforts to secure a Yes vote in the mayoral referendum.

Stuart has also played a key role in shaping the Birmingham Labour Party's policies on education, as a senior member of the party's Policy Commission. In particular, Stuart has placed a heavy emphasis upon driving up standards, closing the skills gap and challenging the high levels of youth unemployment across Birmingham. Her proposals for a Birmingham Baccalaureate, designed to give local youngsters the skills and abilities that city businesses are seeking, is central to this new approach.

Policy Positions[edit]

Stuart has a strong reputation in the Labour Party as someone who is independently-minded and is a self-described 'Blairite'. She was very critical of Gordon Brown's premiership and in 2010, she supported David Miliband for the leadership of the party. Stuart is also a liberal interventionist and Atlanticist but unlike the majority of her party, she is a Eurosceptic who rebelled over the Lisbon Treaty and supports an in/out referendum on British membership of the European Union (in spite of previously being a pro-European). Stuart has also called for greater devolution to cities and regions, and in 2011 intended to stand for the job of Mayor of Birmingham (although the job not created due to an unsuccessful referendum result). Stuart is also a supporter of free market economics because 'markets are social - they challenge vested interests and let outsiders in' and has called for Europe to embrace the economic reforms started by Ludwig Erhard.

During the 2001 election, Sharron Storer, a resident of Birmingham, criticised Prime Minister Tony Blair and Local MP Gisela Stuart in front of television cameras about conditions in the National Health Service. The widely televised incident happened on 16 May during a campaign visit by Blair to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham Edgbaston, Stuarts constituency. Sharron Storer's partner, Keith Sedgewick, a cancer patient with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and therefore highly susceptible to infection, was being treated at the time in the bone marrow unit, but no bed could be found for him and he was transferred to the casualty unit for his first 24 hours.


  1. ^ C. K. Jones, The People's University (London, 2008), p. 33
  2. ^ C. K. Jones, The People's University (London, 2008), p. 33
  3. ^ "European Institute". 28 August 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  4. ^ "Gisela Stuart Biography". Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "Gisela Stuart Biography". Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "Birmingham City Council: General Election 2010". GB-BIR: 6 May 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  7. ^ "Gisela Stuart Survivor of the Year Award". Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "Signatories to the Statement of Principles". The Henry Jackson Society. 28 November 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  9. ^ "Gisela Stuart Biography". Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "MP's pounds 63,000 profit home; New expenses controversy hits Brum MP Gisela: EXCLUSIVE. - Free Online Library". Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  11. ^ Hennessy, Patrick (31 October 2004). "Anti-Kerry remarks by Labour MP put Blair on the spot". London: Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  12. ^ "They Work For You". They Work For You. Retrieved 2 December 2011.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Jill Knight
Member of Parliament for Birmingham Edgbaston