Ian Austin (politician)

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For other people named Ian Austin, see Ian Austin (disambiguation).
Ian Austin
MP
Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister
In office
27 June 2007 – 4 October 2008
Serving with Angela Smith
Preceded by Keith Hill
Succeeded by Jon Trickett
Member of Parliament
for Dudley North
Incumbent
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded by Ross Cranston
Majority 649 (1.7%)
Personal details
Born (1965-03-08) 8 March 1965 (age 49)
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Alma mater University of Essex

Ian Christopher Austin (born 8 March 1965) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Dudley North since 2005. He was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government from 2009 to 2010.

Early life[edit]

Austin was born on 8 March 1965 and brought up in Dudley. Having failed the eleven-plus to attend King Edward's School, Birmingham,[1] he was educated at The Dudley School from 1977 to 1983. He went on to study at the University of Essex at Colchester from 1983 to 1986. He is one of four children adopted by Fred Austin (born Fredi Stiller), who was head teacher of The Dudley School from 1975 to 1985, and Margaret Austin.[2]

Keen to obtain a National Union of Journalists card, he took a job with Black Country Publishing in Netherton where his personal interest in sport, especially cycling (he is now Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group)[3] and football, lead him to work as a journalist on Midland Sport Magazine.

Austin was elected as a councillor in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley in 1991, and served until 1995. He then moved to become press officer for the West Midlands Labour Party until 1998, when he spent a year as Deputy Director of Communications for the Scottish Labour Party.

In 1999 he was appointed a political advisor to the Chancellor of the Exchequer (later Prime Minister), Gordon Brown. He held the position until his election in 2005, and was well known as one of Gordon Brown's closest lieutenants.

Parliamentary career[edit]

Austin was selected as the Labour candidate for Dudley North following the retirement of Ross Cranston, and was elected at the 2005 general election with a majority of 5,432.

Austin was reprimanded by the Speaker of the House of Commons for heckling during Prime Minister's Questions on 18 October 2006, and he was subsequently described by David Cameron as one of Gordon Brown's "boot boys".[4] The following week he was rebuked again by the Speaker for comments made towards the Conservative benches.[5]

Following Gordon Brown becoming prime minister on 27 June 2007, Austin was tipped for a post in Brown's inner circle.[6] The following day he was appointed a Parliamentary Private Secretary to Gordon Brown with a special provision to attend cabinet. He was moved to a new position in the 2008 reshuffle, becoming an Assistant Whip for the Government. In the June 2009 reshuflle he entered Government as a minister for the first time, becoming Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government and Minister for the West Midlands.

He narrowly gained re-election at the general election on 6 May 2010, ahead of Conservative Party candidate Graeme Brown. He was the only one of the Dudley borough's four Labour MPs to retain his seat.[7] Austin nominated Ed Balls, who came third, for the Labour leadership election of 2010.

On 1 June 2012, he apologised after claiming that a Palestinian human rights group had denied The Holocaust happened. Members of Friend of Al-Aqsa made reference to the fact that Mr Austin had written about the group in an article written on the Labour Uncut website in 2011.[8]

During the last day of the Queen's Speech debate, Deputy Speaker Dawn Primarolo ordered Ian Austin MP to "stand up", and then told him to "say sorry" after he referred to a Conservative MP as an "idiot".[9]

Expenses Controversy[edit]

In May 2009, The Daily Telegraph reported that Ian Austin had tried to split a claim for stamp duty on buying his second home in London, into two payments and tried to claim the cost back over two financial years. This allowed him to claim the majority of the money (£21,559, just £75 short of the maximum) under his second home allowance in the 2005/06 financial year. He then claimed for the remaining £1,344 stamp duty cost in 2006/2007, together with his legal fees. In all, he went on to claim £22,076 (£34 short of the maximum)in the next financial year.[10]

It also reported that Mr Austin "flipped" his second home designation weeks before buying a £270,000 London flat, and that he had claimed £467 for a stereo system for his constituency home, shortly before he changed his second home designation to London. He then spent a further £2,800 furnishing the new London flat.[11]

Mr Austin denied any wrongdoing, and defended his actions in an interview with local newspaper, Dudley News[12]

Personal life[edit]

Ian Austin is married with 2 sons and 1 daughter. His family live in Kingswinford in Dudley and their children attend local schools. His listed interests are Cycling, Football and Literature.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Ross Cranston
Member of Parliament for Dudley North
2005–present
Incumbent