|The Right Honourable
Dame Dawn Primarolo
|Second Deputy Chair of Ways and Means|
9 June 2010 – 8 May 2015
|Preceded by||Michael Lord|
|Succeeded by||Natascha Engel|
|Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families|
5 June 2009 – 11 May 2010
|Prime Minister||Gordon Brown|
|Preceded by||Beverley Hughes|
|Succeeded by||Sarah Teather (Children and Families)|
|Minister of State for Public Health|
29 June 2007 – 5 June 2009
|Prime Minister||Gordon Brown|
|Preceded by||Caroline Flint|
|Succeeded by||Gillian Merron|
4 January 1999 – 28 June 2007
|Prime Minister||Tony Blair|
|Preceded by||Geoffrey Robinson|
|Succeeded by||Tessa Jowell|
|Financial Secretary to the Treasury|
2 May 1997 – 4 January 1999
|Prime Minister||Tony Blair|
|Preceded by||Michael Jack|
|Succeeded by||Barbara Roche|
|Member of Parliament
for Bristol South
11 June 1987 – 30 March 2015
|Preceded by||Michael Cocks|
|Succeeded by||Karin Smyth|
2 May 1954 |
London, United Kingdom
|Alma mater||University of the West of England
University of Bristol
Dame Dawn Primarolo, DBE (born 2 May 1954), is a British Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament for Bristol South from 1987 until 2015, when she stood down. She was Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families at the Department for Children, Schools and Families from June 2009 to May 2010 and a Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons from 2010. She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for political service.
Early life and career
Born in London, Primarolo was raised in Crawley, West Sussex, where she attended Thomas Bennett comprehensive school. She then studied at Bristol Polytechnic as a bookkeeper and legal secretary. Returning to London, in 1973 she joined the Labour Party whilst employed as a legal secretary in an east London Law Centre.
After marrying, she moved back to Bristol south to raise her son. She then studied for a social science degree at Bristol Polytechnic, where she gained a BA (Hons). Whilst working, she then continued her studies at the University of Bristol, conducting Ph.D research into women and housing.
Active in her local Labour Party, in 1985 she was elected to Avon County Council, where she acted as vice chair of the Equal Opportunities Committee.
She found fame in 1989 by asking Margaret Thatcher if the only hope for low-paid women was "to follow her example and find herself a wealthy husband". She was reading out a question on behalf of Ann Clwyd, at the time, who had "lost her voice".
At the time of her election, she was regarded as a hard left-winger and is still often referred to by the media as "Red Dawn", but became a New Labour loyalist and "absolutely loyal to New Labour", leading Andrew Roth of The Guardian to say she has "changed from 'Red Dawn' to 'Rosy Pink'"; as part of this change, she has moved from support of CND, the rise of which originally encouraged her into politics, to voting for the renewal of Britain's Trident nuclear defence. She also unsuccessfully lobbied the Soviet government of Mikhail Gorbachev to rehabilitate Leon Trotsky. She is a former member of Avon County Council.
Primarolo has held the following positions:
- 1992–1994: Opposition Spokesman for Health
- 1994–1997: Opposition Spokesman for the Treasury
- 1997–1999: Financial Secretary to the Treasury
- 1999–2007: Paymaster General
- 2007–2009: Minister of State for Public Health
- 2009–2010: Minister of State Children and Young People
Despite campaigning against the first Gulf War in 1991, she voted in favour of the Iraq War in 2003, and against any investigation into the invasion after it had taken place. On other 'key issues' (as described by TheyWorkForYou), she has voted in favour of ID cards and increased university tuition fees.
As Paymaster General, Primarolo was responsible for the administration of the Tax Credits system, intended to provide working families with financial support. However, the administration of this system received significant criticism, including allegations that some families were left less well off as a result. In 2003, a Treasury select committee member accused her of "losing control of [her] department" after it became known that Inland Revenue buildings under Primarolo's purview had been sold to tax-haven companies. This came shortly after she had "insisted ... the Child tax credit scheme was a 'success'", despite Inland Revenue staff walking out in protest against the pressure under which they were placed. She was also responsible for introducing the controversial[why?] IR35 tax rules. Primarolo was also the longest serving Paymaster General in the office's 200-year history. Primarolo was named Chair of the Code of Conduct Group upon its establishment by ECOFIN in March 1998.
In 2005, PM Tony Blair was forced to apologise after a report by the Parliamentary Ombudsman that Primarolo had failed to give Parliament accurate information. Primarolo admitted at the same time that she had been fully aware "about the extent of the problems".
As Minister of State for Public Health she was responsible for health improvement and health protection issues including such areas as tobacco, obesity, drugs and sexual health, as well as international business, pharmacy and research and development.
On 5 June 2009 Primarolo was moved again, this time succeeding Beverley Hughes as Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families at the Department for Children, Schools and Families. This gave her the right to attend cabinet when her responsibilities were on the agenda.
Primarolo's abilities as a minister have been questioned, with former Prime Minister Tony Blair revealing in his autobiography A Journey that he did not think she was "right for government" but had to give her a job because she was one of Gordon Brown's key allies; and political commentator Danny Finkelstein arguing that she was "contender no. 1" for title of "Labour's worst Minister". Jonathan Powell, Blair's Chief of Staff, is reported as saying "We fired Dawn Primarolo about ten times. And each time Gordon (Brown) insisted we put her back."
Primarolo joined the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Minister for Children when Labour entered opposition in May 2010. In September 2010 she became Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons. In November 2011 she announced her intention to stand down from Parliament at the next general election.
- "Bristol South MP Dawn Primarolo to stand down in 2015". This is Bristol (Northcliffe Media Limited). 11 November 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
- The London Gazette: . 14 June 2014.
- "Queen's Birthday Honours for Bristol people". BBC News. 14 June 2014.
- Mp, Labour (21 October 2002). "Dawn Primarolo". BBC News. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "Dawn Primarolo: Electoral history and profile". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 14 January 2011.[dead link]
- Paul Barltrop (9 March 2007). "Pursuit of a politician". BBC News. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- Natalie Clarke (6 January 1999). "The rise and rise of Red Dawn". Daily Mail. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "Dawn Primarolo MP, Bristol South". TheyWorkForYou.com. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- Citizens Advice[dead link]
- "Tax credit minister 'lost control'". BBC News. 1 July 2003. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "Tax credits scandal". BBC News. 5 June 2003. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- ec.europa.eu: Taxation and Customs Union - Harmful tax competition - Code of Conduct
- "Blair apologises for tax blunders". BBC News. 22 June 2005. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "The Rt Hon Dawn Primarolo MP". Department of Health. 30 April 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
- "In full: Brown's new cabinet". BBC News. 5 June 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
- "Tony Blair: Cherie shouldn't have bought flats in Bristol". This is Bristol (Northcliffe Media Limited). 2 September 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- Finkelstein, Daniel (16 June 2010). "Labour's worst minister: contender no. 1". The Times. Retrieved 14 January 2011.[dead link]
- "The End of the Party" (Page 322) ISBN 978-0-670-91851-5, Andrew Rawnsley
- "Lords Mandelson and Adonis leave shadow cabinet". BBC News. 21 May 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
- "Marriages England and Wales 1984–2005". Findmypast.com. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- Simon Walters The day leadership rival John Reid propositioned the young Brown ally Dawn Primarolo – and never drank again Daily Mail, 13 May 2007
- Bristol South Labour Party
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Current session contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
- Profile at BBC News Democracy Live
- The Rt Hon Dawn Primarolo MP Department of Health (archived)
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Bristol South
|Second Deputy Chair of Ways and Means
|Financial Secretary to the Treasury
|Minister of State for Public Health
|Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families
as Minister of State for Children and Families