Peter Law

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This article is about the politician. For the actor, see Peter Law (actor).
Peter Law
Member of Parliament
for Blaenau Gwent
In office
5 May 2005 – 25 April 2006
Preceded by Llew Smith
Succeeded by Dai Davies
Minister for Local Government and Regeneration
In office
6 May 1999 – 17 June 2000
First Minister Alun Michael
Preceded by Office Created
Succeeded by Edwina Hart
Member of the Welsh Assembly
for Blaenau Gwent
In office
6 May 1999 – 25 April 2006
Preceded by New Assembly
Succeeded by Trish Law
Personal details
Born (1948-04-01)1 April 1948
Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales
Died 25 April 2006(2006-04-25) (aged 58)
Political party Blaenau Gwent People's Voice 2005–2006 (His death)
Other political
affiliations
Labour Co-operative (until 2005) Independent (2005)
Spouse(s) Trish Law

Peter John Law (1 April 1948 – 25 April 2006) was a Welsh politician.

Labour Co-operative AM and Independent MP[edit]

For most of his career Law sat as a Labour Councillor and subsequently Labour Co-operative Assembly Member (AM) for Blaenau Gwent. Latterly he sat as an independent Member of Parliament (MP) and AM for the same constituency.

Background[edit]

Born in Abergavenny, Law ran a General Store and became a councillor in Blaenau Gwent in 1974. He was subsequently appointed chair of Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust.

Political career[edit]

He was latterly a close ally of Llew Smith, MP for Blaenau Gwent from 1992, and was selected for the constituency in the first elections to the National Assembly for Wales in 1999, winning the seat easily. He was appointed to the cabinet of Alun Michael as Assembly Secretary for Local Government and Housing, but lost his post in a cabinet reshuffle in 2000 by successor First Minister for Wales Rhodri Morgan.

When Morgan formed a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, Peter Law made no secret of his opposition to the decision and was not retained in the administration. He became a vociferous backbench critic and following the 2003 election stood as candidate for the Deputy Presiding Officer of the Welsh Assembly. However, the Labour AMs voted instead for John Marek who was an Independent AM, thereby ensuring that an opposition member was in the Chair and unable to vote against the Welsh Assembly Government.

Law left the Labour Party in protest at the use of an all-woman shortlist in selecting the candidate for the general election, which was used to replace the retiring Llew Smith. Law believed all-woman shortlists were being selectively imposed on local parties only where a leadership supported male candidate was unlikely to be selected, citing the example of Ed Balls and Pat McFadden as new leadership-supported male candidates, and noting that use of all-woman shortlists had been stopped in Scotland.

Smith had enjoyed a majority of 19,313, making it the safest parliamentary seat in Wales. Law won the seat with 58.2% of the vote, defeating Labour candidate Maggie Jones, and gaining a majority of 9,121 votes.

Law followed just a handful of previous MPs and AMs in Wales who won the same constituency as both a party candidate and an independent, following S. O. Davies who was MP for Merthyr Tydfil from 1934 until his death in 1972, who was deselected by the local Labour Party on grounds of age prior to the 1970 general election but ran against the official candidate as an independent and won; and John Marek who remained AM for Wrexham, later forming his own party, Forward Wales.

Law died peacefully at home in Nantyglo, aged 58, suffering from a recurrent brain tumour first diagnosed during the 2005 election campaign. As a result of his death, there were by-elections in Blaenau Gwent for both the UK Parliament and the Welsh Assembly seats. In the by-elections Law's former agent, Dai Davies, won the election to Law's former Westminster seat, while his widow Trish Law succeeded him in the Welsh Assembly. Both stood under the banner of the Blaenau Gwent People's Voice Group.

His widow has claimed that he was offered a peerage not to stand against Labour in Blaenau Gwent in 2005, an allegation categorically denied by Labour,[1] and also denied by Law himself in an interview from late 2005. The claim had considerable media impact because of the ongoing Cash for Peerages police investigation, although the police announced on 9 May that they would not be investigating it.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MP 'offered peerage' not to stand". BBC News. 2006-04-27. Retrieved 2010-05-15. 

External links[edit]

Offices held[edit]

National Assembly for Wales
Preceded by
(new post)
Assembly Member for Blaenau Gwent
19992006
Succeeded by
Trish Law
Political offices
Preceded by
(new post)
Minister for Local Government and Regeneration
1999–2000
Succeeded by
Edwina Hart
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Llew Smith
Member of Parliament for Blaenau Gwent
20052006
Succeeded by
Dai Davies