Carolyn Harris

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Carolyn Harris
MP
Official portrait of Carolyn Harris crop 2.jpg
Deputy Leader of Welsh Labour
Assumed office
21 April 2018
Leader Carwyn Jones
Preceded by Position established
Member of Parliament
for Swansea East
Assumed office
8 May 2015
Preceded by Siân James
Personal details
Born (1960-09-18) 18 September 1960 (age 58)
Swansea, South Wales
Political party Labour
Alma mater Swansea University

Carolyn Harris (born 18 September 1960 in Swansea, Wales)[1] is a British politician who the Labour Member of Parliament for Swansea East since May 2015.[2] She is also the Deputy Leader of Welsh Labour.[3]

Early life[edit]

Carolyn Harris was born in the constituency of Swansea East which she now represents in Parliament. She attended Swansea University from 1994-1998 and studied a joint degree in Social History and Social Policy.

Following university, Harris worked for Swansea-based community projects such as the Guiding Hand Association and then the Joshua Foundation. Before her political career she worked as the Parliamentary assistant of her now predecessor Siân James MP, who announced her intention to step down in March 2015.[4]

Election[edit]

Harris was elected to Parliament in 2015. She gave her maiden speech on 8 June 2015 in which she stated that Dylan Thomas was wrong about "this ugly, lovely town."[5]

During her first year in Parliament she has concentrated on issues such as the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon, electrification of the South Wales mainline to Swansea and many consumer issues such as fixed odds betting terminals and faulty electrical goods. She has previously worked as a barmaid and a dinner lady which was mentioned as part of her earlier life experience of losing her son.[6]

Harris was appointed by Jeremy Corbyn MP to the role of Shadow Home Office Minister after his re-election as UK Labour Party leader.[7]

Deputy Leadership[edit]

Harris was elected the first ever Deputy Leader of Welsh Labour on the 21 April 2018. Harris secured 51.5% of the electoral college vote, which was announced at Welsh Labour conference in Venue Cymru, Llandudno.[8] Her election was controversial as she lost in the members section by a margin of 2 to 1 and she lost overall in the aggregated total of votes by 1,401.

Campaigns[edit]

Harris has led many successful campaigns during her time in Parliament.

After losing her son Martin in 1989, Harris was forced to take out a loan and rely on donations from the community to cover the funeral costs. Not wanting other parents to suffer the same hardship, Harris spoke about her grief in an adjournment debate on 28 November 2016 and went on to work with the Fair Funerals Campaign [9]to press the Government to create a Children's Funeral Fund. The fund was announced in Wales at Welsh Labour conference on 25 March 2017,[10] by Theresa May for England on 31 March 2018[11] and Scotland most recently on 30 May 2018.[12]

Following a two-year campaign to reduce the maximum stake on fixed-odds-betting terminals from £100 per spin to £2, on 17 May 2018 the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport announced that they would be reducing the stake in line with Harris's suggestion of £2 a spin.[13]

Allegations of homophobia[edit]

In July 2018 Harris came under political pressure after allegations of homophobia were made against her during a trial in Cardiff involving her former office manager. The manager had been accused of fraud and during the trial alleged that Harris had made repeated homophobic remarks to her and had on one occasion, assaulted her, pulling hair from her head. Harris stated that she did not remember the incidents but stated if they had occurred they would have been "office banter". This drew intense criticism from local LGBT groups.[14]

In September 2018 it was reported that South Wales Police were examining a complaint over their investigation into assault claims made against Harris.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Carolyn Harris MP". myparliament.info. MyParliament. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  2. ^ "Election 2015: Swansea East parliamentary constituency". BBC News. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  3. ^ "Harris elected Welsh Labour deputy leader". BBC News. 21 April 2018 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  4. ^ "Swansea East MP Sian James to stand down at next election". BBC News. 25 February 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  5. ^ Cornock, David (9 June 2015). "MP: Dylan Thomas wrong about his 'ugly, lovely town'". BBC News. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  6. ^ Nelson, Nigel (29 October 2016). "MP was forced to borrow money and take out loan just so she could afford to bury tragic son". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  7. ^ "Jeremy Corbyn welcomes 10 returning MPs to shadow team". ITV News. 9 October 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Carolyn Harris elected Welsh Labour deputy leader | LabourList". LabourList | Labour's biggest independent grassroots e-network. 2018-04-21. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  9. ^ "Fair Funerals". fairfuneralscampaign.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  10. ^ "Welsh Government | Child burial fees will no longer apply in Wales". gov.wales. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  11. ^ "Children's Funeral Fund for England". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  12. ^ "Child burial and cremation fees to end". Scottish Government News. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  13. ^ "Government to cut Fixed Odds Betting Terminals maximum stake from £100 to £2". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  14. ^ Williamson, David (3 August 2018). "Carolyn Harris under pressure to quit over homophobic allegation". Wales Online.
  15. ^ Lee, Dulcie (20 September 2018). "Police investigate handling of Labour aide's assault claims". The Times.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Siân James
Member of Parliament
for Swansea East

2015–present
Incumbent