Siôn Simon

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Siôn Simon
MEP
Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Creative Industries
In office
9 June 2009 – 11 May 2010
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Barbara Follett
(as Minister for Culture, Tourism and Creative Industries)
Succeeded by Ed Vaizey
(as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Further Education
In office
5 October 2008 – 9 June 2009
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by David Lammy
Succeeded by Kevin Brennan(as Minister of State)
Member of Parliament
for Birmingham Erdington
In office
7 June 2001 – 6 May 2010
Preceded by Robin Corbett
Succeeded by Jack Dromey
Personal details
Born Siôn Llewelyn Simon
(1968-12-23) 23 December 1968 (age 45)
Doncaster, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Alma mater Magdalen College, Oxford
Website Official Website

Siôn Llewelyn Simon (born 23 December 1968) is a British Labour Party politician who is a Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands. He previously served as the Member of Parliament for Birmingham Erdington from the 2001 General Election to the 2010 General Election. Simon was the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Further Education and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Creative Industries. In 2010, he stood down from Parliament to campaign for direct election of the Mayor of Birmingham, with the intent of running in the first election.[1]

Life[edit]

He was born in Doncaster to Welsh-speaking parents but raised in Birmingham, where he lived in Great Barr, Handsworth and Handsworth Wood. Simon's parents were both teachers in Birmingham. Simon attended Handsworth Grammar School where he joined the Labour Party aged 16. Simon enrolled at Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1987 where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He was elected President of the college Junior Common Room in his second year.

After university, Simon was a research assistant for George Robertson MP for three years. After he spent a two year stint working for Diageo in their Guinness management team, then a FTSE top 20 company. Simon then freelanced on speechwriting, policy and advice, clients included Tony Blair while in Opposition, Microsoft UK, the International Duty Free Confederation and various other charities and communication companies. He then became a journalist, working for The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Express and the News of the World. He was also an associate editor at The Spectator. His columns varied from restaurant reviews to politics.

In the 1992 election campaign he ran the European desk for the Labour Party, and then, during the 1997 election campaign, the foreign press department at Labour Party headquarters.

In the year 2000 he appeared on Season 20, Episode 4 of Have I Got News for You alongside guest comedian Rich Hall.[2]

Simon appeared as a judge in St Edmund Campion Catholic School's production of The X Factor in 2007, and also appeared in Series 2 on 25 April 2008.

UK Parliamentary career[edit]

In the 2001 General Election he stood for and held the seat of Birmingham Erdington with a majority of 9,962. He retained the seat at the 2005 General Election with a slightly reduced majority of 9,575, however this was still the largest majority of any seat in Birmingham at the time.

As a backbencher he served on the Public Accounts Committee, Treasury Select Committee, chaired the All Party Group on Private Equity and Venture Capital and the All Party Group on Business Services.

Shortly after Gordon Brown became Prime Minister, Simone became Vice-Chair of the Labour Party, with special responsibility to draft the "Law and Order" manifesto for the upcoming General Election.

Following the October 2008 reshuffle, Simon was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Further Education in the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.[3] In June 2009 Innovation, Universities and Skills was merged into the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Simon moved to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to become Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Creative Industries.

On 3 February 2010, he announced he would not stand for re-election to Parliament. After leaving Parliament he would instead work for direct election of the Mayor of Birmingham, and would stand for Mayor in the first election. Simon asserted that a directly elected Mayor is a great advantage to a city. A referendum vote on direct election was held on 3 May 2012, but was defeated.

Jack Dromey replaced Simon as MP in the 2010 General Election.

Post UK Parliamentary career[edit]

In May 2010, Simon founded the non-commercial campaigning website Labour Uncut which quickly became an online source of Labour Party discussion and intelligence.

In the summer of 2011 Simon wrote the cover story for Newsweek about the August riot disturbances.[4] In the same period he also wrote a pro-HS2 article for the Labour pressure group Progress on the benefits it would bring to the City of Birmingham.[5]

He contributed to the book What Next for Labour? Ideas for a new generation in September 2011. His piece was entitled Why Mayors Matter and Why Labour Should Support them.[6]

In August 2013 Siôn was elected top of the men's candidate list and placed second on the Labour Party West Midlands list for the 2014 European Parliament elections. He achieved 63% of the result on a turnout of 48.5%, the highest of all the regional Labour Party elections in the country.[7]

European Parliament[edit]

Siôn was elected as a Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands in the European Parliament elections of 2014.

Controversies[edit]

On 5 September 2006 he and Chris Bryant co-ordinated a letter which was signed by 17 Labour backbenchers calling for Tony Blair to resign.[8] The MPs failed to force Blair out of office, but Blair publicly pledged to stand down within 12 months.

On 12 October 2006 Simon created a YouTube spoof of David Cameron's video blog, in which, pretending to be Cameron, he offered viewers one of his children and the opportunity to sleep with his wife. This led to expressions of disgust from both parties with the stunt being called "tasteless".[9][10] In an interview on Sky News that same day, Simon described Cameron's attempts to reach out to the youth culture as "shallow" and "pathetic" and told his interviewer to "be quiet".[11] The video was removed on 13 October by his friend Tom Watson MP, who he described as a "proppa blogga".[12]

At the time of the Labour Party Conference in September 2007, Simon wrote an article for the New Statesman in which he wrongly predicted that "Shortly there will be an election, in which Labour will increase its majority".[13]

In the aftermath of the British parliamentary expenses scandal of 2009, Simon announced he would repay approximately £21,000 that he had claimed to pay rent on a flat owned by his sister.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Siôn suffers from the rare genetic disorder choroideremia, a condition that leads to progressive deterioration in eyesight and in its later stage, blindness.[15] He co-founded, and works as a trustee for, the Choroideremia Research Foundation.[16] Siôn lives in Birmingham is a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and a season ticket holder at West Bromwich Albion F.C.[17]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Offices held[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Robin Corbett
Member of Parliament for Birmingham Erdington
20012010
Succeeded by
Jack Dromey
Preceded by
David Lammy
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Further Education
2008 - 2009
Succeeded by
Kevin Brennan (as Minister of State)