John Robertson (Glasgow politician)

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John Robertson
John Robertson 1.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Glasgow North West
Glasgow Anniesland (2000-2005)
In office
23 November 2000 – 30 March 2015
Preceded by Donald Dewar
Succeeded by Carol Monaghan
Majority 13,611 (38.3%)
Personal details
Born (1952-04-17) 17 April 1952 (age 63)
Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Nationality British
Political party Labour

John Webster Robertson[1] (born 17 April 1952) is a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Glasgow North West from 2000 to 2015.[2] Until 2010, he was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Yvette Cooper.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Robertson attended Shawlands Academy Secondary School.[5] He left school and started work for the GPO (P.O. then British Telecom then BT) on 14 July 1969 as a TTA (Trainee Technician Apprentice) and three years later became a Technician 2A when his initial apprenticeship ended. Robertson then trained for a further two years and became a Technical Officer.[3]

In December 1991, he was promoted to management where he stayed until he was given Voluntary Release in September 2000.[3]

Parliamentary career[edit]

He joined the Labour Party in 1984 and was first elected to parliament in 2000, at a by-election on 23 November following the death of Donald Dewar,[2] the First Minister of Scotland. He was re-elected at the 2001 election, and after constituency boundaries were redrawn for the 2005 election, he was returned for the larger constituency of Glasgow North West.[3]

John Robertson MP has rebelled against the Government on three occasions, most notably on a rebel Amendment vote (Division No. 117) prior to the main Declaration of War - Iraq vote (Division No.118). This Amendment said: This House "believes that the case for war against Iraq has not yet been established, especially given the absence of specific United Nations authorisation; but, in the event that hostilities do commence, pledges its total support for the British forces". However, just 45 minutes later he inexplicably backed the Government on the main vote authorising "all means necessary to ensure the disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction" which thereby authorised the 2003 Iraq war.[6]He later referred to these events in his September 2013 newsletter published online, where he misleadingly says: "I was one of the ‘rebels’ who voted against the Iraq War in 2003."[7]During the campaign for the 2015 General Election, he participated in a hustings meeting in the Drumchapel district of his Glasgow North West constituency. In response to a question from a member of the public, he repeatedly denied that he had voted for the Iraq War. The SNP candidate, Carol Monaghan again asserted that John Robertson had voted for the Iraq War, to which he responded "not true". These denials led to heated arguments with members of the public who accused him of being a liar. [8] These events were highlighted on the popular Scottish politics website: www.wingsoverscotland.com as part of the article titled "The Punch Ali Didn't Throw".[9]

The other occasions were on the declassification of cannabis from a class B to class C drug, something which he has subsequently spoke out on.[10] The only other occasion was over the increase of the number of MSPs at the Scottish Parliament during the Scotland Parliament Bill.[11]

He is currently Chair All Party Parliamentary Nuclear Energy Group and Chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Communications (apComms)[12] and a member of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee and the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Nuclear Energy Group, Chair of All Party Parliamentary Music Groups, Chair All Party Parliamentary Group on Nigeria and Angola.[4][13][14]

In November 2008, Robertson was one of 18 MPs who signed a Commons motion backing a Team GB football team at the 2012 Olympics, saying football "should not be any different from other competing sports and our young talent should be allowed to show their skills on the world stage". The football governing bodies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all opposed to a Great Britain team, fearing it would stop them competing as individual nations in future tournaments.


He is a "strong advocate for the place of nuclear power as part of a balanced energy mix in the UK", saying that it provides "not only the cheapest low-carbon energy and therefore a significant opportunity to meet carbon emissions targets, but also with much greater energy security".[15]

Alternative medicine[edit]

He is a supporter of homeopathy, having signed an early day motion in support of its continued funding on the National Health Service sponsored by Conservative MP David Tredinnick.[16]

Legislation[edit]

John Robertson managed to change the law for blind people when he managed to get the Government to accept the amendment he tabled to the Welfare Reform Bill.[17] It changed the rules from 1992 which restricted the higher rate of mobility allowance to people who were physically unable to walk, which meant that a blind person who could walk was denied this extra support for getting around. Under the old rules, discrimination occurred against people with a sensual disability, in favour of a physical disability, when it should really have been looking at mobility.

Personal life[edit]

He was born in Anniesland, and was educated at Knightswood Primary School from 1957 to 1964, then Knightswood Primary in 1964 before going to Shawlands Senior Secondary from 1964 to 1969. He then began work at the GPO in July 1969, and as part of his work training had further education at Langside College for periods between 1969 and 1985, and at Stow College between 1971 and 1987. He married his wife Eleanor in 1973;[5] they have three daughters: Wendy, Jennifer and Laura.[3]

MPs Expenses Scandal[edit]

John Robertson was asked to pay back £2975 for excessive expenses claims. This includes some £1750 in petty cash.[18] John Robertson claimed £101,577.31 office running costs for 2013-14 and a further £33,861 'other costs' Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority expenses 2013-14 John Robertson employs his daughter, Laura Robertson, as Secretary/Caseworker as detailed in the Register of Members' Financial Interests

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Parliament home page > Parliamentary business > Publications and Records > Hansard > Commons Debates > Daily Hansard - Debate – 19 May 2010 : Column 13". Parliament of the United Kingdom. 19 May 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "About me". John Robertson MP for Glasgow North West. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Biography". John Robertson MP for Glasgow North West. Archived from the original on 1 February 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "John Robertson". Parliament of the United Kingdom. 
  5. ^ a b "John Robertson MP". Westminster Parliamentary Record. Westminster Parliamentary Research. 
  6. ^ "Declaration of War - Iraq". Public Whip. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "September Newsletter 2013 A historic vote". 
  8. ^ "DrumHust Drumchapel Hustings, Big Debate". 
  9. ^ "The Punch Ali Didn't Throw". 
  10. ^ Robertson, John (6 November 2009). "Cannabis is dangerous". The Guardian (London). 
  11. ^ "Voting Record — John Robertson MP, Glasgow North West (10684)". The Public Whip (Bairwell Ltd.). Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  12. ^ "Officers". All Party Parliamentary Communications Group (apComms). Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  13. ^ "Unknown (dead link)". Parliament of the United Kingdom. [dead link]
  14. ^ "Register Of All-Party Groups: Nigeria". Parliament of the United Kingdom. 13 September 2012. 
  15. ^ NIA Industry Link magazine, issue 35, spring 2012
  16. ^ Tredinnick, David (2010-06-29). "Early Day Motion #342 British Medical Association Motions on Homeopathy". 
  17. ^ Update from John Robertson on DLA victory for the blind. John Robertson MP for Glasgow North West. 
  18. ^ Members Estimate Committee (2 February 2010), Review of past ACA payments: First Report of Session 2009–10 (PDF), House of Commons 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Donald Dewar
Member of Parliament for Glasgow Anniesland
20002005
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Glasgow North West
20052015
Succeeded by
Carol Monaghan