Paul Holmes (politician)

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Paul Holmes
Paul Holmes 01.jpg
Chair of the Liberal Democrats
In office
5 May 2005 – 6 May 2010
Leader Charles Kennedy
Menzies Campbell
Nick Clegg
Preceded by Matthew Taylor
Succeeded by Vacant
Member of Parliament
for Chesterfield
In office
7 June 2001 – 6 May 2010
Preceded by Tony Benn
Succeeded by Toby Perkins
Personal details
Born (1957-01-16) 16 January 1957 (age 57)
Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Liberal Democrat
Spouse(s) Raelene
Children 2 Daughters, 1 Son
Alma mater University of York, University of Sheffield
Occupation Politician
Profession Teacher
Religion Humanist[1]
Website www.paulholmes.org.uk

Paul Robert Holmes (born 16 January 1957, Sheffield) is a politician in the United Kingdom. He was the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Chesterfield, previously held by Tony Benn, from 2001 to 2010.

Early life[edit]

He grew up in Sheffield on a council estate. He went to Prince Edward Primary School, Manor Top, then Firth Park Secondary School (now Firth Park Community Arts College), a comprehensive from 1969 (when he was 12).

He graduated in History from the University of York in 1978[2] and before being elected an MP, was a history teacher for 22 years. He gained a PGCE from the University of Sheffield. He taught from 1979-84 at Chesterfield School (now Brookfield Community School[3]), then Buxton College from 1984–90, and from 1990-2001 he was Head of Sixth Form at Buxton Community School (the successor to Buxton College).

He joined the SDP in 1983. From 1987-95 he was a councillor for Brimington South Ward, then from 1999-2003 for Walton ward on Chesterfield Borough Council.

Parliamentary career[edit]

His election as chairman of the parliamentary party in 2005 was a surprise to many, since it came at the expense of incumbent chairman Matthew Taylor (a close friend of then Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy). Commentators attributed the result to dissatisfaction with some elements of Kennedy's leadership and a belief amongst MPs that the role of party chairman should be more that of a backbenchers' 'shop steward' and less under the influence of the leadership.

Holmes, not yet an MP, supported Simon Hughes in the leadership election following Paddy Ashdown's retirement in 1999. At the 2005 party conference, he voted against plans by the leadership to support capping the European Union budget at 1% of GDP and to privatise the post office (and was on the winning side in both votes). However, he publicly declared himself to be in full support of Kennedy's leadership following rumours that Hughes was planning a leadership challenge.[4] In the leadership election caused by the resignation of Charles Kennedy, Paul Holmes took on the role of chair to Simon Hughes' leadership campaign

Holmes was a member of the House of Commons Education & Skills Select Committee from 2001–2007, but stood down from the Committee in July 2007 to concentrate on his appointment as Shadow Minister for Housing. Previously Holmes had been a Spokesman on Disability (2001–2005), Work and Pensions (2002–2005) and Arts and Heritage (2006–2007). In December 2007 he returned to the back benches, being one of only two MPs in the party to lose their shadow cabinet responsibilities in the reshuffle after Nick Clegg's election as Liberal Democrat leader.[5]

Paul Holmes hit the headlines in March 2008 when he was the only Liberal Democrat MP to sign an Early Day Motion praising Fidel Castro at the time of his resignation. He was quoted on the BBC as saying "It is true Cuba has political prisoners and no free elections, but it has very good dentistry."[6]

Holmes was the Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Justice[7] and sat on the Children, Families and Schools Select Committee.[8]

Paul Holmes is a founding member of the centre-left Beveridge Group within the Liberal Democrats.[9] He is also an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society and a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association, and was also a vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group, before his defeat in the 2010 general election.[10]

Personal life[edit]

In 1978 he married Raelene Palmer. His children were born and brought up in Chesterfield.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group". Humanism.org.uk. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  2. ^ "The University of York - Development and Alumni Relations". www.york.ac.uk. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  3. ^ "Examination of Witnesses (Questions 960 - 979)", Q967, Education and Skills Committee Evidence, House of Commons, 8 December 2003 (parliament.uk)
  4. ^ Matthew Tempest in Blackpool (2005-09-21). "The Guardian". London: Politics.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  5. ^ O'Donoghue, Gary (20 December 2007). "What to make of Clegg reshuffle?". BBC News. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  6. ^ "BBC News Magazine Monitor". Bbc.co.uk. 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  7. ^ "Labour and the Tories have failed on youth justice (Chesterfield Liberal Democrats)". Paulholmes.org.uk. 2009-09-03. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  8. ^ "Children, Schools and Families Committee: Members - UK Parliament". Parliament.uk. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  9. ^ About us - The Beveridge Group 2007-10-28
  10. ^ "Register of All-Party Groups". Retrieved 2010-08-03. [dead link]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Tony Benn
Member of Parliament for Chesterfield
2001–2010
Succeeded by
Toby Perkins
Party political offices
Preceded by
Matthew Taylor
Chair of the Liberal Democrats
2005–2010
Succeeded by
Vacant