Stephen Williams (politician)
|Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government|
7 October 2013
|Preceded by||Don Foster|
|Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills|
18 December 2007 – 13 May 2010
|Preceded by||Sarah Teather|
|Member of Parliament
for Bristol West
5 May 2005
|Preceded by||Valerie Davey|
11 October 1966 |
Mountain Ash, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales
|Political party||Liberal Democrat|
|Alma mater||University of Bristol|
|Occupation||Corporate Tax Advisor|
Stephen Roy Williams (born 11 October 1966) is a British Liberal Democrat politician who was first elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bristol West in the 2005 general election, being re-elected with an increased majority in May 2010. He is the first Liberal or Liberal Democrat elected for a Bristol seat since 1935, and the first ever in Bristol West. In October 2013 he joined the Government as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department of Communities and Local Government.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Political background
- 3 Parliamentary career
- 4 Election results
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Early life and education
Williams grew up in the village of Abercynon in the Cynon Valley in Glamorgan, Wales. He attended Mountain Ash Comprehensive School and the University of Bristol, graduating in 1988 with a degree in History. During his first two years he lived in Wills Hall, one of the University's halls of residence. Today Williams remains a member of the Wills Hall Association. He qualified as Chartered Tax Adviser and worked for several large firms including PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Grant Thornton.
Williams was interested in politics from a young age. While at the University of Bristol he was President of the SDP/Liberal society, and an active member of the local SDP branch. He has also served on Avon County and Bristol City Councils, elected as Councillor for Cabot ward in 1993 aged 26. He was leader of the Bristol Liberal Democrat group from 1995 to 1997. Williams had been the Liberal Democrat candidate for Bristol South in 1997, before being selected to stand for Bristol West at the 2001 general election. Williams won Bristol West in 2005, making him the first Liberal MP ever for that constituency and the first to be elected in the city of Bristol since 1935. He was also the first openly gay Liberal Democrat MP.
In October 2013, Williams was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary at Department for Communities and Local Government. He serves as chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health and previously served as co-chair of the Liberal Democrat Treasury Parliamentary Policy Committee. He has previously served as a member of the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee and has spoken in favour of replacing the House of Lords with an elected Senate.
Efforts to reduce smoking
After his election on 5 May 2005, Charles Kennedy appointed Williams as Liberal Democrat public health spokesperson, shadowing Minister for Public Health Caroline Flint. In this role he served on the standing committee which scrutinised the Health Bill. One aspect of this Bill was the introduction of a ban on smoking in public places. Williams strongly supported a ban on smoking in all public places, rather than the alternative proposal to exempt private clubs and pubs which do not serve food from the ban. He won an award from Cancer Research UK for his advocacy of a full ban.
Higher Education and tuition fees
In the 2006 Liberal Democrat leadership election Williams was the agent of Chris Huhne. Following the election, newly elected leader Sir Menzies Campbell moved Williams to the Further and Higher Education portfolio, shadowing Labour Minister Bill Rammell. After the reorganisation of government departments by new Prime Minister Gordon Brown in July 2007 Lib Dem Leader Sir Menzies Campbell reshuffled his team and Williams became Lib Dem spokesperson on Schools.
Since his election, Williams has served on two House of Commons select committees - the Education and Skills Select Committee and the Public Accounts Committee. He stepped down as a member of the Public Accounts Committee at the beginning of 2006 following his appointment as Further and Higher Education spokesperson in order to focus more exclusively on his portfolio. He transferred to the new Children, Schools and Families Select Committee in November 2007.
Reducing the voting age
On 29 November 2005, Williams attempted to introduce a Ten Minute Rule bill to the House of Commons to reduce the voting age to 16. The motion was supported by a majority of Labour members and Liberal Democrats, but opposed by the Conservatives. It was defeated by 136-128 votes.
Homophobic bullying and gay marriage
In June 2006, Williams launched a campaign against homophobic bullying, after organising the Education and Skills Select Committee's first ever enquiry into the issue of bullying in schools. His petition read:
We, the undersigned, call for the following to support and protect the victims of homophobic bullying:
- Homophobic taunts and name calling in schools should be challenged immediately by staff.
- All schools' anti-bullying policies should be required to include measures specifically to deal with homophobic bullying.
- At least one teacher in every school should undergo training which includes how to tackle homophobic bullying.
Bristol City Council
Williams contested two Bristol City Council elections in Cabot ward before stepping down in 1999. The first, in 1995, saw him elected with 1264 votes (20.61% in a double election), and a majority of just 82 over Labour candidate Paul Garland. That majority increased to 571 in 1998, with Williams polling 1027 votes (53.46%).
Williams has contested four general elections - 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2010. In 1997, he stood against Labour Minister Dawn Primarolo in Bristol South, coming third with 13.4% of the vote. In 2001, he stood for the first time in Bristol West, polling 28.89% of the vote and coming in second place. In 2005, this increased to 38.3%, winning the seat from Labour. In the 2010 election, Williams held the seat with an increased majority of 11,366, winning 48% of the vote.
- "SDP Founder Supports Stephen Williams (Stephen Williams)". Bristol West Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
- White, Michael (2006-01-27). "Hughes comes out but stays in the race". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2007-06-10.
- "Standardised packaging: Time to act". ASH. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- "Stephen Williams Bio". The Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- "Political and Constitutional Reform Committee - membership". House of Commons. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- Williams, Stephen. "Time for a British Senate". Stephen Williams personal website. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- "Cancer Champion Parliamentary Awards". Cancer Research UK. 2006. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
- "Stephen Williams Interview". Politics.co.uk. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- Staff (30 September 2008). "This is Bristol - News - Bristol West MP's rival hits out over tuition fees policy switch". Bristol Evening Post. Bristol United Press. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Shepherd, Jessica (9 February 2009). "Lib Dems promise to scrap tuition fees". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 15 May 2010.
- "Minutes of the meeting, held on 21st November". All-Party Parliamentary Group On Youth Affairs. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- "Local Election Results - Cabot". Bristol City Council. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Election 2010: Bristol West". BBC News (BBC). 7 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Stephen Williams MP official site
- Personal blog
- Profile at the Liberal Democrats
- Bristol West Liberal Democrats
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Current session contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Electoral history and profile at The Guardian
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
- Profile at BBC News Democracy Live
- Interview with Stephen Williams politicsjunkie.co.uk interview, April 2006
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Bristol West