David Hallam

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David Hallam
Hallam in 2018
Member of the European Parliament
for Herefordshire and Shropshire
In office
9 June 1994 – 10 June 1999
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Born1948 (age 74–75)
Political partyLabour
ResidenceUnited Kingdom

David Hallam, FRSA is a British Labour Party politician and writer. He is the former Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Herefordshire and Shropshire constituency in England, in the 1994–1999 European Parliament.

He is a Methodist Local Preacher. He is a trustee of his local church, a Life Member of the National Union of Journalists, a Patron of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, an Honorary Vice President of the Severn Valley Railway Holdings plc, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.[1]

He represents the West Midlands on the National Members' Council of the Co-op Group, the UK's largest ethical retailer.[2] He contributes a weekly television and radio review column to the Methodist Recorder.[3] He has used his reviews as the basis of a book "The Year The Queen Died: a media diary of 2022".[4]

Early life and career

The Reverend Dr Ian Paisley MEP and David Hallam MEP meet at Stormont, to discuss the crisis at Drumcre, July 1996
David Hallam leading a service at City Road Methodist Church Birmingham in 2019
Hallam meeting with Jeremy Corbyn and local councillor Beryl Mason in Shropshire, 2017

Hallam was educated at Upton House Secondary School in Hackney, and then at the University of Sussex. He spoke with an East London, or Cockney, accent and remarked in later life that when speaking through interpretation at the European Parliament it was the first occasion that the social nuances of his accent did not matter.[5]

In 1972, at the height of The Troubles, he joined an ecumenical playgroup scheme in Belfast working in both the Ardoyne and Shankhill Road areas. [6]

Hallam campaigned in the 1975 European Referendum in Smethwick, where he lived.[7] He stood unsuccessfully for the Labour Party in Solihull in the 1979 General Election. He served on Sandwell Borough Council. He set up a publicity business, also becoming a Methodist Local Preacher.[8]

By profession, David Hallam is a public relations specialist. He has worked for several organisations including the City of Birmingham Council, the National Children's Home, the National Health Service and the Ceramic and Allied Trades Union. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, the Chartered Institute of Marketing, and the National Union of Journalists.[9]

Whilst with Birmingham City Council he handled the complex issues which arose following the pub bombings in the city on 21 November 1975 in which twenty one people were killed.[10]

In 1984 Hallam confronted a gunman during a shooting incident at the headquarters of the National Children's Home in Highbury, London, where he worked[11]

In 2015 he graduated from the University of Birmingham with a Master of Arts in West Midlands history.[citation needed]

Election to the European Parliament

Hallam first stood for the European Parliament in 1984 for the Shropshire and Stafford constituency; he stood again in 1989 and was elected on revised boundaries in 1994[12] for what was widely held to be a safe Conservative seat.[13]

During his five-year mandate Hallam was one of the Parliament's most assiduous members, attending every session and recording votes on over 99% of all possible occasions.[14]

In the Parliament he served on the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, was a substitute member of the committees on budgets and regional policy, the EU-ACP parliamentary assembly, on the standing delegation to the Israeli Knesset, the EU-Slovak joint parliamentary committee and President of the members' monthly prayer breakfast.[15]

Parliamentary Roles

Agriculture and Rural Development Committee

Hallam was on this committee for the whole of his mandate and drafted several reports or opinions on its behalf.

  • Proposal amending Regulation establishing a support system for certain arable crops A4-0378/96;[16]
  • The agri-monetary system for the single market A0261/97;[17]
  • Proposal to establish an integrated administration and control system for certain community aid schemes A4-0019/94;[18]
  • Proposal to amend the directive for the conservation of wild birds A4-0337/95;[19]
  • The application of EU directives on homeopathic medicinal products A4-0378/98.[20]

Regional Policy Committee

Hallam was on this committee for the first half of his mandate and drafted two opinions on its behalf:

  • Europe and the global information society (interim report) A4-0073/94[21] and (full report) A4-0244/96;[22]
  • Guidelines for trans-European telecommunications networks A4-0336/95.[23]

Hallam's constituency benefited from Objective 5B, Objective 2, and Leader II regional funds.

EU-Slovak Joint Parliamentary Committee

Hallam was a member on this then newly formed committee to assist in the accession of Slovakia to the European Union. In October 1996 he travelled with the committee to Bratislava which had a mandate from the European Parliament to challenge Prime Minister Meciar on his disturbing human rights violations. Hallam's intervention made front-page news in Slovakia.[24]

Delegation to Israel

Hallam visited Israel several times with this standing delegation. He made it clear that his top priority would be to encourage peace and trade. "Building trade links is a good investment because when the peace process is complete there are ambitious Israeli and Arab plans for the Jordan Basin to become an economic powerhouse for the entire region".[25]

ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly

This Assembly was established by the EU and 78 states from the African, Caribbean and Pacific regions. It is the only institution in the world which enables dialogue by parliamentarians about the issues facing both North and South. Hallam was a substitute member,[9] standing in for colleague John Hume at the 21st, 24th, 27th and 28th sessions.[26]

Members' Prayer Breakfast

David Hallam was President of the members' prayer breakfast which met each month when the Parliament convened in Strasbourg. He met separately with the Northern Irish politician and cleric Ian Paisley regularly at a time when this was seen to be politically risky. In July 1996 Hallam flew to Belfast to discuss the Drumcree conflict with Ian Paisley in a bid to avert serious bloodshed.[27]


Clause IV

David Hallam was one of many Labour Party members who opposed Labour leader Tony Blair's re-writing of the common ownership Clause IV in the Labour Party constitution. He set out his views in a paper that was widely circulated within the Labour Party entitled Common Ownership and Social Justice[28] which drew heavily on Hallam's Christian Socialist beliefs.[29] He clashed with Tony Blair himself when Blair met the European Parliamentary Labour Party.[30]

Introduction of the regional list system for electing British MEPs

In 1998 the Labour government introduced the "regional list" system for electing MEPs. In an affirmative ballot 95% of Labour Party members in his constituency endorsed Hallam's selection.[31] However, there is significant independent academic evidence that Labour's selection procedure for the final list was heavily weighted specifically against those MEPs who had opposed the re-writing of Clause IV.[32] Hallam was placed in fifth place on Labour's list for the West Midlands but the party was only allocated three seats following the 1999 European Parliamentary Elections. Hallam, together with colleague Christine Oddy, was effectively replaced by actor Michael Cashman and housing director Neena Gill. Labour Party members in the West Midlands were angry that Hallam and Oddy had been pushed aside.[33]

Harold Williams

Shortly after his election Hallam took up the case of Harold "Ginger" Williams who had been convicted of the murder of Dorothy Margaret Davies in her house on Whitern Way, Hereford in January 1977. Williams was convicted the following November and had been in prison ever since, refusing the terms of parole that would have meant him acknowledging his guilt.[34]

Hallam's staff reviewed the available evidence and submitted a dossier to the Criminal Law Review Commission who then referred the case to the Court of Appeal.[35] Williams however died just weeks before the case was due to be heard. At the time Hallam commented "He was my first constituency case. He was also my last. I continued with it even after I had lost my seat. This has really broken our hearts .It’s terrible after more than 23 years in custody, with just weeks to go before his name could finally be cleared, that he has died. It is a tragedy".[36]

Tony O'Connor

In 1967 the local education authority covering Smethwick appointed the first Black headteacher in the United Kingdom, Tony O'Connor (1918-2006), at Bearwood Primary School, close to where Hallam lives. The appointment was greeted by racist daubing on the school walls and threatening letters to the Chief Education Officer. However, O'Connor proved to be a very effective and popular headteacher, respected by children, parents, and colleagues. On the fiftieth anniversary of the pioneering appointment in 2017, David Hallam announced that he would start a campaign to research the life of O'Connor with a view to erecting a blue plaque on the school walls to mark this important milestone in British educational history.[37]

In popular culture

When Hallam was elected as an MEP in 1994 he was in the same congregation at City Road Methodist Church, Birmingham as hymn writer Martin Leckebusch. Leckebusch's hymn "Called by Christ to be disciples" has been included as hymn number 660 in the UK's Methodist Church hymnbook, Singing the Faith, published in 2013. According to the website supporting the new hymnbook "Martin found himself asking the question: What’s it going to be like for David as an MEP in Europe? How will he be a Christian disciple in that new role?.... Martin started to reflect on the different roles that individual members of a congregation fulfil in their 'day jobs' and how these may become part of their Christian calling".[38]

Hallam's book Taking on the Men: the first women parliamentary candidates 1918 provided the basis for the December edition of ITV's political programme in the Midlands, Central Lobby. Hallam provided an interview and background material.

Hallam appeared on ITV's Good Morning Britain in July 2016 to speak about City Road Methodist Church, Birmingham becoming a Pokémon Go gym.[39]


Taking on the Men, the first women parliamentary candidates 1918

The first General Election after British women won the right to vote in 1918 was almost an entirely male affair.

With just days to spare before the old Parliament dissolved, legislation was rushed through that enabled female candidates to stand. Women scrambled to be nominated, but only seventeen made it onto the ballot paper.

Three were in the West Midlands. Christabel Pankhurst (Smethwick) is probably the best known of them now. But, at the time, Mary Macarthur (Stourbridge), and Margery Corbett Ashby (Ladywood) were equally capable of making headline news... and often did.

Ranged against them were all the forces of tradition and rigid conservatism, determined that women candidates should fail.

Taking On the Men is a fascinating, superbly researched and thoroughly well-told tale of three women who took on the men and – simply by standing for Parliament – scored a small victory against what would now be known as ‘the patriarchy’.

Contains biographies and results for the seventeen women to contest the 1918 General Election.

Introduction by Preet Gill MP, the UK's first woman Sikh Member of Parliament.

One hundred years of service to Newton

The Newton Road United Reformed Church closed its doors for the last time on Christmas Day 2017. It had been started exactly one hundred years before, but its history goes back to the 1740s when the early Methodists proselytised in Great Barr. David Hallam tells the story of a small church that had a great impact in its neighbourhood. Available to download here.

Eliza Asbury

Eliza Asbury lived between Birmingham and the Black Country during the ferment of the vast eighteenth century industrial revolution that was to transform the world. She had a difficult marriage, lost a beloved daughter in infancy and lived in a community at Great Barr where hostility to her Methodist faith was never far from the surface.

Nevertheless, for over fifty years her little cottage was a regular place of worship and her only son Frank was to go to America to become Bishop Francis Asbury, the first Protestant Bishop in North America.

This book tells the inspiring story through Eliza's eyes, uncoupling many of the myths that have grown up about the Asbury family. Using original sources it charts the frustrating thirty year correspondence between mother and son, when letters sometimes took a year to arrive at the intended destination.

Selected online articles

The Arts



  • [2] A Life of contradictions in early American Methodism - a review of Jane Donovan's biography of Henry Foxall Pulse 1 August 2020, a hard copy version of this story appeared in the Methodist Recorder, 31 July 2020.
  • Old words with new meanings David Hallam recalls when "furlough" was an important word in non-conformist culture. Pulse 22 May 2020. A hard copy version of this story appeared in the Methodist Recorder, 22 May 2020.
  • Opening doors, opening hearts, opening minds - David Hallam reflects on his role as a steward at the Methodist Conference. Methodist Recorder, 19 July 2019.
  • Why Methodists should embrace the Co-op Pulse, 9 February 2018. A hard copy version of this article also appeared the same day in the Methodist Recorder.[43]


Personal life

David John Alfred Hallam married Claire Vanstone in 1988. They have three children.[45]


Hallam's papers for his period as an MEP, 1994–1999, are held at the Shropshire County Archives in Shrewsbury.[46]


  1. ^ David Hallam's entry in Who's Who 2020
  2. ^ "West Midlands". www.co-operative.coop.
  3. ^ Methodist Recorder 4 February 2022
  4. ^ Madeley, Peter (26 April 2023). "Former Euro MP looks back on 'momentous year' in latest book". www.expressandstar.com. Retrieved 9 August 2023.
  5. ^ "Where accents don't matter, and where they can be an advantage | Letters". The Guardian. 22 March 2019.
  6. ^ "The people in England don't know what it's about" Methodist Recorder 2 June 2023.
  7. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/05/do-you-remember-first-time-readers-1975-europe-referendumAt the 1979 United Kingdom general election
  8. ^ BBC-Vacher's Biographical Guide 1996. London: BBC Political Research Unit and Vacher's Publications. 1996. pp. 6–15. ISBN 0951520857.
  9. ^ a b Entry for David Hallam in Who's Who 2019, London, 2019
  10. ^ Hallam, David (21 November 2019). "Birmingham Pub Bombings: 45 year struggle for justice". birminghammail.
  11. ^ The Times, London, 5 December 1984
  12. ^ Pollack, Anita, "Wreckers or builders? A history of Labour MEPs 1979-199" London 2009 page 150
  13. ^ "Tories shaken by Euro drama in Shropshire" Shropshire Star 13 June 1994
  14. ^ "100 per cent Hallam", Ross Gazette 22 January 1998 and "Hallam tops table for Euro attendance" Shropshire Star 16 January 1998
  15. ^ "Home - MEPs". European Parliament. 22 February 1999. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  16. ^ "Report". www.europarl.europa.eu. 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  17. ^ Epoque summary Brussels 12/07/1999
  18. ^ Epoque ibed
  19. ^ "Data". eur-lex.europa.eu. 17 September 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  20. ^ "Data". eur-lex.europa.eu. 17 September 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  21. ^ [1][dead link]
  22. ^ "Data". eur-lex.europa.eu. 17 September 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  23. ^ "Data". eur-lex.europa.eu. 17 September 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  24. ^ "Meciar si to u Hallama pokazil" Pravda Utorok 29 Oktobra 1996
  25. ^ "Euro MP going to Israel for talks" Shropshire Star 23 May 1997
  26. ^ "ACP-EU". www.europarl.europa.eu.
  27. ^ Pollack p 257
  28. ^ "Citizen Finance – A blog about loans and lending". Archived from the original on 20 May 2011.
  29. ^ See for example Evans, Stanley "Christian Socialism – A study outline and bibliography" London 1962
  30. ^ Pollack p 235, 238, 239
  31. ^ "Hallam is Labour MEP choice" Shropshire Star 4 August 1998
  32. ^ Wring, Baker and Seabright "Panelism in Action, Labour’s 1999 European Parliament Candidate Selection
  33. ^ Anger at Labour's Euro horror show - Gay actor ousts Midland duo as candidate,The Birmingham Post 23 September 1998 and My anger at Labour betrayal, The Birmingham Post, 24 September 1998.
  34. ^ "Free Ginger campaign launched by Euro-MP" Hereford Times 9 October 1997
  35. ^ "Perspective: Ages of innocence?; Harold Williams was convicted of murder in the year of the Silver Jubilee and maintained his innocence until he died in jail. Now the Court of Appeal will decide if the police sent the wrong person to prison for 23 years, writes Richard McComb. - Free Online Library".
  36. ^ Millward, David (9 October 2000). "'Murderer' who refused parole dies in prison" – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  37. ^ "Campaign launched to chart life of 'first black headmaster'". www.expressandstar.com.
  38. ^ "Called by Christ to be disciples (StF 660) | Singing the Faith Plus". Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  39. ^ "Jesus Cares About Pokémon Declares Birmingham Church! | Good Morning Britain". YouTube. 14 July 2016. Archived from the original on 12 December 2021. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  40. ^ downloaded 13 April 2020
  41. ^ downloaded 16 March 2020
  42. ^ a b c downloaded 3 February 2020
  43. ^ a b c d e f g h downloaded 27 April 2019
  44. ^ a b c downloaded 29 April 2019
  45. ^ Entry for David Hallam in Who's Who 2019.
  46. ^ Archives, The National. "The Discovery Service". discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk.

External links