Gisela Stuart

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The Right Honourable
Gisela Stuart
Stuart in 2008
Member of Parliament
for Birmingham Edgbaston
In office
1 May 1997 – 3 May 2017
Preceded by Jill Knight
Succeeded by Preet Gill
Personal details
Born Gisela Gschaider
(1955-11-26) 26 November 1955 (age 61)
Velden, West Germany
Nationality British, by naturalisation,
Formerly German at birth, country of birth: West Germany
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Robert Stuart (m. 1980; div. 2000)
Derek Scott (m. 2010; wid. 2012)
Children 2 sons
Alma mater University of London
University of Birmingham[1]
Occupation Chair, Change Britain

Gisela Stuart (née Gschaider; born 26 November 1955) is a German-born British Labour Party politician, who served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Birmingham Edgbaston from 1997 until stepping down at the snap 2017 general election. Born and raised in West Germany, she has lived in the UK since 1974.

Stuart served as Chair and leader of the Vote Leave Campaign Committee as Co-Convenor with Conservative MP Michael Gove. The Vote Leave campaign was successful in the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016. Since September 2016, Stuart has served as Chair of Vote Leave's successor organisation, Change Britain.

Early life[edit]

Gisela Gschaider was born in Velden, Bavaria, and raised in her parents' Roman Catholic faith. She attended the Realschule Vilsbiburg on Amselstraße in Vilsbiburg.

After doing an apprenticeship in bookselling, she moved to the UK in 1974 in order to improve her English and to do a Business Studies course at Manchester Polytechnic.[citation needed] Stuart subsequently relocated to the Midlands.

She graduated from the University of London with an LLB in 1993, having studied through the University of London External System.[2] She began researching for a PhD in trust law (ownership of pension funds) at the University of Birmingham whilst also lecturing Law to AAT students at Worcestershire College, but did not complete her PhD and instead went into politics full-time.[1]

In 1994, as Gisela Gschaider, Stuart contested the Worcester and South Warwickshire seat at the European Elections[3] for Labour. She lost by 1,000 votes.

Parliamentary career[edit]

In 1995, Stuart was selected as Labour's parliamentary candidate for the Birmingham Edgbaston constituency. The constituency, which had once been held by former Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, had returned only Conservative MPs for 99 years. The then-incumbent Conservative MP, Dame Jill Knight, was retiring after 31 years. On 1 May 1997, Stuart was elected as the first ever Labour MP for the seat, making it one of a succession of traditional Conservative seats to fall under Labour control in their landslide victory. Stuart's victory was the first televised Labour gain of the evening.

During the first Tony Blair ministry, Stuart served on the Social Security Select Committee and in 1998 as PPS to Home Office Minister of State Paul Boateng, before joining the government in 1999 as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health. Stuart left this post in the reshuffle that followed after the 2001 general election.[4] Her election agent in that election was John Clancy, who in 2015 became leader of Birmingham City Council.[5]

In Blair's second ministry, Stuart was appointed as one of the UK Parliamentary Representatives to the European Convention, which was tasked with drawing up a new constitution for the European Union. In this capacity, Stuart also served as one of the thirteen members of the Convention's Presidium - the steering group responsible for managing the business of the Convention.

When the draft Constitution emerged, Stuart was one of the most trenchant critics of the proposal, stating that it had been drawn up by a "self-selected group of the European political elite" determined to deepen European integration. She subsequently expounded these views in a 2004 Fabian Society pamphlet, "The Making of Europe's Constitution". Consequently, she has argued in favour of British withdrawal from the European Union, becoming one of the leading Eurosceptic figures in the Labour Party.[6] In the BBC's 2-hour televised debate on the EU referendum, Stuart appeared on the "Leave" panel, along with Conservatives Andrea Leadsom and Boris Johnson.[7]

Between 2001-10, Stuart also served as a member of the House of Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs.[4]

She retained Birmingham Edgbaston for Labour at the 2005 general election but her majority was halved in both percentage and numerical terms. Despite the predictions of the pundits, Stuart went on to retain the seat at the 2010 general election, against a national tide of Labour defeat.[8] It earned her the title of Survivor of the Year at The Spectator magazine's 2010 Parliamentarian of the Year awards, which was presented to her by the new Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron.[9] She retained her seat at the 2015 general election with a majority of 2,706 votes, more than double her majority from 2010.[10] She joined the Commons Select Committee on Defence.[4]

In October 2004, she became the only Labour MP who openly supported the re-election of George W. Bush in that year's U.S. presidential election, arguing "you know where you stand with George and, in today's world, that's much better than rudderless leaders who drift with the prevailing wind". She wrote that a victory for Democratic Party challenger, John Kerry, would prompt "victory celebrations among those who want to destroy liberal democracies. More terrorists and suicide bombers would step forward to become martyrs in their quest to destroy the West".[11]

Stuart is a signatory of the Henry Jackson Society principles, which promote the spread of liberal democracy across the world and the maintenance of a strong military with global expeditionary reach.[12] She is the editor of the weekly political magazine The House.[13]

She announced on 19 April 2017 that she would not seek re-election at the 2017 snap general election.

Vote Leave[edit]

Stuart served as Chair of the successful Vote Leave campaign during the 2016 European Union membership referendum, which opposed the Labour Party Labour In for Britain campaign.[14] Stuart served as a principal figurehead for Vote Leave, along with Conservative MPs Boris Johnson and Michael Gove.

As chair of Vote Leave she said: "Rather than sending money abroad to countries that want to join the EU, I believe we should be spending our money on our priorities here in the UK. Instead of giving an extra 88 million people - more than our entire population - access to the NHS I believe it would be safer to take back control. We should give our struggling NHS the £350m we send to the EU every week".[15]

After stepping down at the 2017 general election, Stuart revealed that she had pushed for an exit clause in the European Constitution, which later became Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.[16] Article 50 allows for withdrawal from the European Union by any member state and was invoked for the first (and currently only) time by Prime Minister Theresa May on 29 March 2017.[17]

Voting record[edit]

How Stuart voted on key matters since 2001:[18]

  • Voted for introducing a smoking ban
  • Voted for introducing ID cards
  • Voted for introducing foundation hospitals
  • Voted for introducing student top-up fees
  • Voted for Labour's anti-terrorism laws
  • Voted for the Iraq War
  • Voted against investigating the Iraq War
  • Voted for replacing the Trident nuclear programme
  • Voted for ban on fox hunting
  • Voted for equal gay rights
  • Voted for leaving the European Union


  1. ^ a b C. K. Jones, The People's University (London, 2008), p. 33
  2. ^ "Gisela Stuart - graduated 1993 | University of London International Programmes". 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2017-04-06. 
  3. ^ "European Institute". 28 August 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c "Gisela Stuart Biography". Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  5. ^ Elkes, Neil (23 November 2015). "Find out all about the new leader of Birmingham City Council John Clancy". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  6. ^ "Labour MP Gisela Stuart: UK should leave European Union". BBC News. Retrieved 14 February 2016. 
  7. ^ Gisela Stuart
  8. ^ "Birmingham City Council: General Election 2010". GB-BIR: 6 May 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  9. ^ "Gisela Stuart Survivor of the Year Award". Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "Ms Gisela Stuart MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  11. ^ Hennessy, Patrick (31 October 2004). "Anti-Kerry remarks by Labour MP put Blair on the spot". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  12. ^ "Signatories to the Statement of Principles". The Henry Jackson Society. 28 November 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  13. ^ "MP's pounds 63,000 profit home; New expenses controversy hits Brum MP Gisela". Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  14. ^ "Gisela Stuart to Chair Vote Leave campaign". Vote Leave. 13 March 2016. Archived from the original on 27 July 2016. Retrieved 24 June 2016. 
  15. ^ "Halt In EU Migration Would 'Damage' UK Economy". Sky News. 26 April 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2016. 
  16. ^ "Revealed: How a former Labour MP inadvertently laid the groundwork for Brexit". The Telegraph. 2 June 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2017. 
  17. ^ "Article 50: May signs letter that will trigger Brexit". BBC News. 28 March 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2017. 
  18. ^ "They Work For You". They Work For You. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Jill Knight
Member of Parliament for Birmingham Edgbaston
Succeeded by
Preet Gill