David Triesman, Baron Triesman

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The Lord Triesman
Personal details
Born David Maxim Triesman
(1943-10-30) 30 October 1943 (age 71)
London, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Other political
Communist Party of Great Britain
Alma mater University of Essex,
King's College, Cambridge
Occupation Politician

David Maxim Triesman, Baron Triesman (born 30 October 1943) is a British politician and trade union leader. He is a Labour member of the House of Lords and previously a minister at the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and is also a former Chairman of the Football Association. He now serves HM Opposition in the House of Lords as a spokesman on foreign affairs.


Triesman (Maxim because his mother admired Maxim Gorky, the Russian author) was born into a North London Jewish community, the son of Michael Triesman, of Belarusian descent, and Rita Triesman (née Lubran), of French descent. Triesman was educated at the Stationers' Company's School, London, and the University of Essex.[1][2]

At the University of Essex, Triesman and a group of fellow students seized control and declared it a 'free university'.[3] He was subsequently suspended from Essex in 1968 after breaking up a meeting addressed by a defence industry scientist.[4]

Politics and union career[edit]

In 1960, aged 17, Triesman became a member of the Labour Party but ten years later resigned and joined the Communist Party where he remained until the winter of 1976/1977, whereupon he returned to the Labour party.

For a number of years he was a lecturer and union leader at South Bank Polytechnic (now London South Bank University).

Triesman first became a full-time union official at NATFHE in 1984, rising to the post of national negotiating secretary. He was General Secretary of the Association of University Teachers from 1993 to 2001 and the General Secretary of the Labour Party from 2001 to 2003.[1] He was created a Life Peer on 9 January 2004 taking the title Baron Triesman, of Tottenham in the London Borough of Haringey.[5]

Wolfson College, Cambridge appointed him a Visiting Fellow in 2000 to study Higher Education. He is a member of the Henry Jackson Society's Political Council.[6]


In the third[7] Labour Government under Tony Blair, Triesman was Parliamentary Under Secretary in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with responsibility for: relations with Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Overseas Territories, the Commonwealth, UK visas, migration policy, consular policy, the British Council, the BBC World Service and the Chevening Scholarships Scheme. In the reshuffle of 29 June 2007, he was given the new post of Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

Football administration[edit]

A longtime fan of Tottenham Hotspur, Triesman became the first independent chairman of the Football Association in January 2008.[8]

In February 2011, a few months after giving up the chairmanship, he testified before a Parliamentary committee on the state of the administration of English football. He was heavily critical of the FA, saying it was shying away from governing the game. He was especially damning of the FA's administrative procedures and its working relationship with other football bodies, in particular the Premier League.[9]

Comments about bribery allegations[edit]

On 16 May 2010, the Mail on Sunday revealed that Melissa Jacobs, a civil servant and blogger,[10] had secretly tape-recorded Triesman in a restaurant. He made comments about alleged bribery attempts by Spain and Russia of referees in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Triesman said, "There’s some evidence that the Spanish football authorities are trying to identify the referees ... and pay them."[11] It was announced that he was to 'quit' both the FA and England's 2018 bid.[12] He also made disparaging remarks about the Labour Party's 2010 General Election campaign, saying: "I think Gordon's been awful."[13] On 10 May 2011, Triesman, speaking before a British parliamentary inquiry, made bribery allegations concerning four FIFA members, claiming that they sought bribes in return for backing England's failed 2018 World Cup bid.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Triesman spent many years in a relationship with the writer and critic Michelene Wandor until they split up in the late 1990s.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Francis Beckett (1 October 2001). "New Labour and proud of it". New Statesman. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  2. ^ Eason, Kevin (16 May 2010). "Lord Triesman was out of touch and always doomed to fail". The Times (London). 
  3. ^ Video on YouTube
  4. ^ Lipsett, Anthea (18 October 2007). "Former radical appointed students minister". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 19 October 2007. 
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 57178. p. 443. 14 January 2004.
  6. ^ "Advisory Council - Political Council members". Henry Jackson Society. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  7. ^ Dates given below for offices held and the date of his elevation would preclude his holding office in the first Blair government
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ Damning criticism of English FA, RTHK, 9 February 2011
  10. ^ Patrick Foster (17 May 2010). "Melissa Jacobs: the civil servant blogger with ‘beautiful eyes’". The Times. Retrieved 20 June 2011. 
  11. ^ Matthew Syed (17 May 2010). "It’s a travesty that Triesman has been forced out". The Times. 
  12. ^ Gallagher, Ian (16 May 2010). "FA chief Lord Triesman quits England's 2018 bid after accusing Spain and Russia of trying to bribe World Cup referees". The Mail on Sunday (London). Retrieved 16 May 2010. 
  13. ^ Gallagher, Ian (17 May 2010). "FA chief Lord Triesman accuses Spain and Russia of bid to bribe World Cup referees". Daily Mail (London). 
  14. ^ "Ex-FA boss makes Fifa bribe claim". BBC News. 10 May 2011. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Diana Warwick
General Secretary of the Association of University Teachers
Succeeded by
Sally Hunt
Preceded by
Margaret McDonagh
General Secretary of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Matt Carter
Preceded by
Bill Rammell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
Succeeded by
David Lammy