Bill Etherington

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For the English cricketer, see Bill Etherington (cricketer).
Bill Etherington
Member of Parliament
for Sunderland North
In office
10 April 1992 – 12 April 2010
Preceded by Bob Clay
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Personal details
Born (1941-07-17) 17 July 1941 (age 75)
Sunderland, County Durham, England
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Irene Holton
Alma mater Durham University

William Etherington (born 17 July 1941) is a British Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament for Sunderland North from 1992 to 2010.

Early life[edit]

Bill Etherington was born in Sunderland, County Durham and was educated at the Redby[1] Infant and Junior Schools on Fulwell Road, Monkwearmouth Grammar School[2] (five years above Hilary Armstrong) and latterly at Durham University. He was an apprentice fitter at the Austin and Pickersgill Shipyard in Sunderland for five years from 1957. He became a fitter for Beal & Co in Sunderland in 1962, before joining the National Coal Board in 1963 and for the following twenty years worked as a fitter at the Dawdon Colliery in County Durham. He has been a member of the National Union of Mineworkers since 1963, and from 1983 until his election was a full-time trade union official with them, and was a full-time official during the UK miners' strike (1984-1985).

Parliamentary career[edit]

He was first elected in the 1992 General Election for Sunderland North, replacing fellow left-winger, Bob Clay. Etherington held the seat comfortably with a majority of 17,004 votes, and was re-elected with strong majorities subsequently. He made his maiden speech on 11 May 1992.

In the 1992 general election, he polled 60.7% of the vote, with his Conservative opponent winning 26.9% of the vote. In the 1997 election, he took 68.2% against Conservative Andrew Selous, who ranked in second place with just 16.7% of the vote. He also confidently beat his Conservative opponents in the 2001 (62.7% against 17.9%) and 2005 general elections (54.4% against 19.8%).

He is a left-winger, a member of the Socialist Campaign Group and rebelled against Tony Blair's government. While debating the reform of the House of Lords in March 2007, Etherington also called for the abolition of the British Monarchy.[3]

Personal life[edit]

He has been married to Irene Holton since 1963 and they have two daughters. He was characterised in parliament by his three-piece suits and strong 'Mackem' accent.

In December 2006, Etherington announced he would be standing down at the end of the 2005 - 2010 Parliament as his constituency was to be abolished.[4]


  1. ^ "". Archived from the original on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Sunderland Echo". Retrieved 25 February 2014. 

External links[edit]

News items[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Bob Clay
Member of Parliament for Sunderland North
Constituency abolished