Barry Gardiner

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Barry Gardiner
Official portrait of Barry Gardiner crop 3.jpg
Gardiner in 2017
Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade
Assumed office
20 July 2016
Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Shadowing Liam Fox
Preceded by Position established
Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
In office
27 June 2016 – 8 October 2016
Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Preceded by Lisa Nandy
Succeeded by Clive Lewis (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Member of Parliament
for Brent North
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by Rhodes Boyson
Majority 17,061 (30.2%)
Personal details
Born (1957-03-10) 10 March 1957 (age 60)
Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Caroline Anne Smith
Children 4
Alma mater University of St Andrews
Harvard University
Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
Website Official website

Barry Strachan Gardiner MP (born 10 March 1957) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Brent North since 1997. He served as a junior minister in the Northern Ireland Office, the Department for Productivity, Energy and Industry, the Department of Trade and Industry and finally in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.[1]


Barry Gardiner, the son of Olympic footballer, John Gardiner[2] was born in Glasgow, Scotland. His mother trained as a surgeon and was the first woman to be awarded the Gold Medal in surgery.[3] He was educated at the High School of Glasgow, Haileybury College and the University of St Andrews where he received an MA. He then served for two years as full-time Scottish Regional Secretary of the Student Christian Movement.

In 1983, he was awarded a Kennedy Memorial Trust scholarship to study Philosophy at Harvard University[2] under John Rawls, returning to research at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge for three years from 1984. He worked as a senior partner in shipping insurance and arbitration for ten years before his election to parliament.[2]

He was elected as a councillor to Cambridge City Council in 1988 becoming the mayor of the city in 1992,[4] the youngest mayor in the city's 800-year history.[5] He left the council in 1994.[4]

Parliamentary career[edit]


Gardiner was selected to contest the London constituency of Brent North at the 1997 General Election where he defeated the incumbent veteran Conservative MP Rhodes Boyson by 4,019 votes, and has held the seat ever since. Following his election as MP for Brent North, Gardiner moved from Cambridge to Hertfordshire. He made his maiden speech on 4 July 1997.[6]

Committee Work[edit]

In the House of Commons he served on four select committees, the Procedure Committee and the Select Committee on Broadcasting, the Public Accounts Committee and the Joint Committee on Consolidation of Bills.[4] He was Chair of the PLP Departmental Committee for Culture, Media and Sport and Vice-chair of the PLP Departmental Committee for the Treasury.[4] He was the Chairman of the Labour Friends of India, and has lectured at the Academy of National Economy in Moscow. He is a former Vice-chair of Labour Friends of Israel.

Government and Ministerial Appointments[edit]

He became the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of State at the Home Office, Beverley Hughes in 2002. In 2004 he was appointed the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office, moving to the same position at the Department of Trade and Industry following the 2005 General Election. He moved to DEFRA at the May 2006 reshuffle and left the Government in June 2007.

The new Prime Minister Gordon Brown appointed him as his special representative on forestry in July 2007.[2] He left this role "by mutual consent" on 13 September 2008 after joining other Labour MPs in declaring that an MP should stand against Gordon Brown. He accused Mr Brown of "vacillation, loss of international credibility and timorous political manoeuvres that the public cannot understand".[7]

Gardiner has been described by Andrew Roth in The Guardian as "One of the best educated and most internationally experienced MPs".[8]


Gardiner's expenses in 2008–2009 were ranked 129 out of 647 MPs whilst his 2007–2008 expenses were ranked 369.[1] Gardiner claimed for a second home[1] despite his constituency being near Westminster and his wife worked for him as an Office Manager/Executive Secretary.[9] New expenses rules published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority coming into force after the 2010 General Election allow employment of one relative but replace funding for a second home with a London Allowance of £3,760 for MPs with seats within 20 miles of Westminster.[10] Those who keep their seats and already own a second home will have profits "recouped".[10]

The Legg Report requested that Gardiner repay £174.17 for mortgage interest overpaid in 2005–06 though he voluntarily repaid £15,404.07 by April 2009.[11]

Post Election 2010[edit]

Gardiner giving his speech at the 2016 Labour Party Conference

As shadow Environment minister, Gardiner criticised the lack of prosecutions of leading players ten months after David Cameron promised that everything possible would be done to deal with crime relating to the horse meat scandal. "The extraordinary thing is that because of its clout, industry has been able to commit what appears to be a criminal offence – selling the public horsemeat falsely labelled as beef – and just say they are sorry and didn't know."[12]

Environmental Concerns[edit]

Barry Gardiner was appointed as Shadow Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries in July 2013. He had previously held the role of Minister for Biodiversity in the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs in 2006 and 2007, and had served as Ed Miliband's Special Envoy for Environment and Climate Change between 2011 and 2013.[13]

In June 2013, Conservative MP Tim Yeo and Barry Gardiner jointly tabled an amendment to the UK Energy Bill which proposed establishing by 2014 a decarbonisation target for the UK’s electricity generating sector, to be achieved by 2030. The amendment was narrowly defeated.[14]

In 2014, Gardiner gave his support to the first annual Hen Harrier Day demonstrations in Derbyshire to highlight the illegal persecution of UK raptors.[15]

In January 2015, Gardiner admitted that the push by the previous Labour government to encourage car-buyers to opt for diesel vehicles in a bid to save the planet was “wrong”, identifying that a “massive problem for public health” had been created.[16]


In February 2017, The Times revealed that Gardiner received £182,284 in disclosed cash donations from Christine Lee & Co since September 2015, which acts as the chief legal adviser to the Chinese embassy. Before this, his constituency party received cash donations from Christine Lee & Co of £22,500 between 2009 and 2015. The paper also revealed that part of this money was used to fund the employment of Daniel Wilkes (son of the firm's founder) in his parliamentary offices. Alistair Graham, former chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, called the situation as "bizarre" and said "there are clearly questions to be answered".[17]

Gardiner has been a supporter of China in his shadow portfolios, in particular surrounding the development of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, opposing inner-party disputes over criticism of Chinese involvement in the project, despite military and intelligence figures warning ministers that such involvement posed a threat to national security. He urged Theresa May to tell China that Britain wanted strong investment in infrastructure projects, and described her decision to halt the deal as "politically stupid" and tantamount to "closing UK Plc down".[17] Gardiner later criticised May for negotiating a "rip-off deal" over its development.[18]


  1. ^ a b c "Barry Gardiner:Former Labour MP for Brent North". Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Barry Gardiner: Meet Barry Gardiner". Archived from the original on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Barry Gardiner
  4. ^ a b c d "Barry Gardiner: Brent North". Archived from the original on 26 August 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  5. ^ "Barry Gardiner". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 3 April 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  6. ^ "House of Commons debates ..Health Services (London), 20 June 1997". Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  7. ^ Kirkup, James; Porter, Andrew (15 September 2008). "Barry Gardiner latest MP to be sacked for plotting against Gordon Brown". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  8. ^ "Barry Gardiner: Electoral history and profile". Guardian Newspapers. Archived from the original on 12 May 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  9. ^ House of Commons. "House of Commons - Register of Members' Interests". Retrieved 19 July 2016. 
  10. ^ a b "MPs' expenses: Old rules v new rules". BBC News. 29 March 2010. Archived from the original on 1 April 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  11. ^ Sir Thomas Legg (2 February 2010). "Review of past ACA payments" (PDF). Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  12. ^ Lawrence, Felicity (22 October 2013). "Where did the 29% horse in your Tesco burger come from?". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  13. ^ "Barry Gardiner appointed shadow minister for natural environment". 4 July 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2015. 
  14. ^ "Decarbonisation amendment defeated in the Commons". 15 June 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2015. 
  15. ^ "Hen Harrier Day – some ‘thank you’s". 13 August 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2015. 
  16. ^ "Labour's drive towards diesel cars causing 'massive public health problem,' admits shadow Environment Minister". The Independent. London. 25 January 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015. 
  17. ^ a b Wright, Oliver; McGrath, Hannah (4 February 2017). "China cash link to Labour MP". The Times. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  18. ^ Gardiner, Barry (29 July 2016). "The Conservatives have realised too late that Hinkley Point is a rip-off". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Rhodes Boyson
Member of Parliament
for Brent North

Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Lisa Nandy
Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
Succeeded by
Clive Lewis
as Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
New office Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade