Jim Dowd (politician)

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Jim Dowd
MP
Member of Parliament
for Lewisham West and Penge
Lewisham West (1992–2010)
Incumbent
Assumed office
9 April 1992
Preceded by John Maples
Majority 5,828 (12.9%)
Personal details
Born (1951-03-05) 5 March 1951 (age 63)
Bad Eilsen, Lower Saxony, West Germany
Nationality English
Political party Labour

James Patrick Dowd (born 5 March 1951) is a British Labour Party politician, who has been a member of parliament (MP) since 1992, first for Lewisham West and since 2010 for Lewisham West and Penge.

Early life[edit]

Jim Dowd grew up in Lewisham, London, with an Irish father and German mother. He was educated at the Dalmain Infant and Junior Schools in Forest Hill; the Sedgehill Comprehensive School, Catford, and the London Nautical School, Lambeth. He began his career in telephone engineering as an apprentice in 1967 with the General Post Office (GPO). After his apprenticeship in 1972, he became a manager at a Heron petrol station for a year before joining Plessey as a telecommunications engineer in 1973, where he remained until his election to Parliament.

Dowd was elected as a councillor in the London Borough of Lewisham in 1974, becoming deputy leader in 1984 for two years. He was twice deputy mayor in 1987 and 1990, and was the Mayor of Lewisham in 1992. He stepped down from the council in 1994.

Parliamentary career[edit]

Dowd first stood for Parliament at the 1983 general election for the seat of Beckenham, finishing in third place behind the long-standing Conservative MP Philip Goodhart by some 17,330 votes. At the 1987 general election he contested the marginal seat of Lewisham West, but was defeated by John Maples by 3,772 votes.

Five years later though, at the 1992 general election, Dowd again contested Lewisham West, and defeated Maples by 1,809 votes. He made his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 10 June 1992.[1]

Jim Dowd entered the new Tony Blair team as an opposition whip in 1994, before becoming the spokesman on Northern Ireland in 1995. Following the election of the Labour government at the 1997 General Election he was given a place in the Blair government as a whip. He was unexpectedly sacked after the 2001 general election,[2] since when he has been a member of the Health Select Committee and maintained a voting record strongly in line with government policies.[3] In June 2012, Jim joined the Science & Technology Select Committee.

In 2005 he was involved in a heated confrontation in Parliament with fellow Labour MP Bob Marshall-Andrews over the Terrorism Bill.[4] He is a vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Intellectual Property Group

Hendogate[edit]

On 20 January 2014, Dowd made a speech in the House of Commons during a debate on the Intellectual Property Bill, stating that he had asked for Worcester Sauce whilst eating a meal at the Hare and Billet pub in Blackheath and that he was provided with Henderson's Relish.[5] Dowd used Henderson's as an example of "parasitic packaging", implying in the debate that it was attempting to pass itself off as Lea and Perrins.[6]

Bottle of Henderson's Relish
Henderson's Relish
Bottle of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce

Henderson's Relish is well known within Sheffield and parts of Yorkshire and has been manufactured there for over 100 years. Dowd upset supporters of the sauce; the Sheffield Central member of parliament, Paul Blomfield, offered to bring a bottle to Parliament and invite Dowd for a meal with him using it – an invitation accepted by Dowd.[7]

The Hare and Billet

Simon Freeman – the managing director of Henderson's – jokingly stated that he would order "an internal investigation to find out how it got out of Yorkshire";[8] a local newspaper, the Sheffield Star, launched a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #Hendogate to defend Henderson's, attracting support locally.[9] Dowd later stated his "amazement" at the backlash his comments had caused, which he said included threats of violence.[10] The assistant manager of the Hare and Billet – Adam Beaston – claimed that Dowd branded Henderson's a "blatant copy" of Lea and Perrins at the time but that he warned the MP that such a view would be "blasphemy in Sheffield".[11]

Personal life[edit]

Dowd lists his interests as music, theatre and reading, and enjoys travelling in Cornwall. His partner Janet Anderson is the former Labour MP for Rossendale and Darwen.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hansard, 10 June 1992, col.337
  2. ^ BBC News: Politics – Jim Dowd MP profile (2002)
  3. ^ TheyWorkForYou.com – Jim Dowd MP
  4. ^ BBC News: Politics – MP demands inquiry over colleague
  5. ^ "Daily Hansard – debate". Hansard: Column 56. 20 January 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  6. ^ "Parasitic copying". British Brands Group website. British Brands Group. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Haddou, Leila (22 January 2014). "MP disses Henderson's Relish and incurs the wrath of Sheffield (and Nick Clegg gets a bit cross)". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  8. ^ "Should MP apologise over Henderson's attack?". Sheffield Telegraph. 22 January 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  9. ^ Lynch, Molly (22 January 2014). "MP under fire as Sheffielders leap to the defence of Henderson's Relish". Sheffield Star. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  10. ^ "Relish row is Hend-over". Sheffield Star. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  11. ^ "MP 'warned' in relish row". Sheffield Star. 24 January 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Maples
Member of Parliament for Lewisham West
19922010
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Lewisham West and Penge
2010present
Incumbent