Nick Raynsford

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The Right Honourable
Nick Raynsford
Nick Raynsford MP.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Greenwich and Woolwich
Greenwich (1992-1997)
Assumed office
9 April 1992
Preceded by Rosie Barnes
Majority 10,153 (24.7%)
Member of Parliament
for Fulham
In office
10 April 1986 – 11 June 1987
Preceded by Martin Stevens
Succeeded by Matthew Carrington
Personal details
Born (1945-01-28) 28 January 1945 (age 70)
Northampton, Northamptonshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Anne Jelley (m 1968)
Alison Seabeck
Alma mater Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge

Wyvill Richard Nicolls Raynsford (born 28 January 1945), known as Nick Raynsford, is a British Labour Party politician. A government minister from 1997 to 2005, he has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Greenwich & Woolwich since 1997, having previously been MP for Greenwich from 1992 to 1997, and for Fulham from 1986 to 1987.

Early life[edit]

Repton School

He is the son of the late Wyvill Raynsford and Patricia Raynsford (née Dunn) and brought up at Milton Manor in Milton Malsor[1] a village just outside the town of Northampton. He was educated at Repton School and Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, from where he graduated with a BA degree in History in 1966. He also has a Diploma in Art and Design from the Chelsea School of Art.[2]

At university Raynsford was rusticated (suspended) for a year for night climbing. In the course of this he had displayed a banner against the Vietnam War between the pinnacles of King's College Chapel.[3]


He married Anne Jelley in 1968, and they had three daughters. They were divorced in 2011,[4] and he is now the husband of Alison Seabeck, the Labour MP for Plymouth Moor View.[5] Raynsford's ancestry can be seen in Burke's Landed Gentry.[6]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Raynsford was first elected a Member of Parliament (MP) for the Labour Party in a by-election in Fulham Constituency in 1986, but at the 1987 General Election lost to Conservative candidate Matthew Carrington.

He then became MP for Greenwich at the 1992 general election, and at the 1997 general election he won the re-drawn seat of Greenwich & Woolwich. He retained the seat at the 2001, 2005 and 2010 general elections, with majorities of 13,433,[7] 10,146[8] and 10,153[9] respectively.

Raynsford joined the Government in 1997 and held responsibility for housing, planning and construction. During this time he was responsible for the implementation of the Decent Homes Standard. In 1997, there were 2.1m houses owned by local authorities and housing associations that didn't meet the Decent Homes Standard. By the end of 2010, 92% of social housing met the standard of being warm and weatherproof with reasonably modern facilities.[10]

As Construction Minister Nick is credited with introducing building regulations which significantly improved standards, including making mandatory disabled access in new builds, increasing energy efficiency standards and fire safety.[11] His position also included responsibility for the Fire Service and the creation of the London Resilience Forum to oversee London’s preparedness for dealing with emergencies (see Operation Sassoon). As Local Government Minister he led the Local Government Act 2000 through Parliament, which repealed the controversial Section 28.[12]

As Minister for London, Raynsford was responsible for restoring democratic city-wide government to London, and the creation of the Greater London Authority and the commission of its home at City Hall.[12] After the 2005 general election he returned to the backbenches.

In Opposition Raynsford was Shadow Minister for Housing and Construction from 1994, and front-bench spokesperson for London from 1993. From 1992-3 he was a member of the Environment Select Committee.[13]

Raynsford was also a Councillor for the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham from 1971 to 1975. Before he was elected to Parliament he was Director of the Shelter Housing Aid Centre.[14] He has cited one of his primary reasons for seeking parliamentary office was his involvement in campaigning for better provision for the homeless, achieved through the 1977 Homeless Persons Act. The 1977 Act extended local council responsibility "to provide accommodation for homeless people in their area,"[15] and instituted the right of homeless families to a permanent local council tenancy.[16]

In 2009 he publicly called for Gordon Brown to resign as Prime Minister, stating at the time, "I personally have considerable respect for Gordon Brown but his leadership is now so seriously damaged that I can't see the likelihood of him leading Labour successfully into the next general election. It's now appropriate for the party to look for a new leader”.[17]

As a constituency MP, Raynsford has played a key role in promoting regeneration in the Greenwich Borough, including campaigns for the North Greenwich Station on the Jubilee Line, the extension of the DLR to Greenwich and Woolwich, and the campaign to secure a Crossrail Station in Woolwich. Raynsford was a forceful advocate for hosting several of the London 2012 Olympic events in his constituency, including the shooting events in Woolwich and the equestrian events in Greenwich Park.[18]

Raynsford has most recently been focusing on the case for improved river crossings in East and South East London and securing more jobs through the promotion of apprenticeships in the construction industry.[19][20] He has been a consistent critic of the Bedroom Tax, and in July 2014 co-sponsored the Affordable Homes Bill, which seeks to limit the impact of the Bedroom Tax on tenants in the social rented sector.[21]

On 28 March 2010, The Sunday Times reported that Raynsford earns £9,000 per month from jobs in industries connected to his ministerial career.[22] They focus around three areas of activity – housing, construction and local government – with which Raynsford has been involved throughout his working life. In 2013 Raynsford announced his intention to stand down as Greenwich and Woolwich MP at the next General Election, citing his age as a factor. Greenwich West Councillor Matthew Pennycook has been selected as the Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate. No other parties have yet selected a candidate.

In May 2014 Raynsford expressed his opposition to a memorial to murdered soldier Lee Rigby, suggesting it "“would not in my view be helpful” because it “might attract undesirable interest from extremists”. Greenwich Council noted they had been "overwhelmed by interest in a local memorial”, but also opposed the tribute.[23]


  1. ^ "Andrew Roth's Parliamentary Profiles in The Guardian". 
  2. ^ Guide to the House of Commons. London: The Times. 2005. p. 166. ISBN 0-00-721182-1. 
  3. ^ Whipple, Tom (10 June 2007). "Nocturnal Missions - The Times on line, 10 June 2007". London. Retrieved 2008-08-10. 
  4. ^ RAYNSFORD, Rt Hon. Wyvill Richard Nicolls (Rt Hon. Nick), Who's Who 2012, A & C Black, 2012; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2011 ; online edn, Nov 2011, accessed 4 April 2012
  5. ^ MP leaves wife
  6. ^ RAYNSFORD of Milton Malsor
  7. ^ "BBC News Vote 2005 map". Retrieved 6 January 2010. 
  8. ^ "BBC News Vote 2005". Retrieved 6 January 2010. 
  9. ^ "BBC News Election 2010 Greenwich & Woolwich Constituency". Retrieved 22 June 2010. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Labour’s legacy – Inside Housing, May 2010". 
  11. ^ "The Building Regulations (Amendment) Regulations 1998, UK Practical Law Website". 
  12. ^ a b "Official Website, Nick Raynsford MP - Biography, UK Practical Law Website". 
  13. ^ "Official Website, Nick Raynsford MP - Biography". 
  14. ^ "Andrew Roth's Parliamentary Profiles in The Guardian". 
  15. ^ The Longman Companion to The Labour Party 1900–1998 by Harry Harmer
  16. ^ British Social Welfare in the Twentieth Century, edited by Robert M. Page and Richard Silburn
  17. ^ "We're facing total disaster - Raynsford on The Andrew Marr Show, BBC TV 7 June 2009". BBC News. 7 June 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2009. 
  18. ^ "Interview with". 
  19. ^ "No More Lost Generations Report". 
  20. ^ "2012 NewsShopper article on Thames River Crossings". 
  21. ^ "Affordable Homes Bill Article on". 
  22. ^ Bremner, Charles; Robertson, David (28 March 2010). "My fee 2500 a dayplus expenses". The Times (London). Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  23. ^ Lee Rigby memorial: 'All I want is to know my son will not be forgotten’ - Telegraph

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Martin Stevens
Member of Parliament for Fulham
Succeeded by
Matthew Carrington
Preceded by
Rosie Barnes
Member of Parliament for Greenwich
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Greenwich & Woolwich
Political offices
Preceded by
Hilary Armstrong
Minister of State for Housing and Planning
Succeeded by
Lord Falconer