Hywel Francis

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Hywel Francis
Member of Parliament
for Aberavon
In office
7 June 2001 – 30 March 2015
Preceded byJohn Morris
Succeeded byStephen Kinnock
Personal details
Born (1946-06-06) 6 June 1946 (age 73)
Neath, Glamorgan, Wales
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Mair Francis[1]
Alma materSwansea University

David Hywel Francis[2] (born 6 June 1946) is a Welsh historian and Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Aberavon from 2001 to 2015.


Hywel Francis attended Whitchurch Grammar School and Llangatwg Secondary School. He studied at the University of Wales, Swansea, where he earned a doctorate in history. Francis continued to work at the University of Wales as a Professor in Adult Continuing Education prior to being elected in 2001.[3] At the University of Wales, he founded the South Wales Miners' Library. He also was the chair of the Wales Congress in Support of Mining Communities.[4] Hywel Francis is a speaker of the Welsh language.[4]

Francis has been a member of the Gorsedd since 1986. He has been made Vice-President of Carers UK and Honorary Parliamentary Patron of the adult learners' body, NIACE. He is a Trustee of the Paul Robeson Wales Trust, and the Bevan Foundation, which he founded. He is President of the South Wales Miners' Museum. He has authored many peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, as well as several books. His books include: The Fed: A History of the South Wales Miners in the 20th Century (co-author, Dai Smith) in 1980 (reprinted in 1998); Miners Against Fascism: Wales and the Spanish Civil War in 1984; Wales: A Learning Country in 1999; History on Our Side: Wales and the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike in 2009; and Do Miners Read Dickens?: The Origins and Progress of the South Wales Miners' Library (co-author, Sian Williams) in 2013.[3][4] Francis is featured in the documentary film After Coal.

Hywel is the son of Dai Francis, who led the South Wales NUM during the industrial unrest of the 1970s. Like his father, Hywel was a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain.

Political career[edit]

In 1999, Francis became a Special Advisor to Paul Murphy, the Secretary of State for Wales. Murphy worked in this position until 2000.[4] The following year, he was elected to the House of Commons.[3] He was re-elected in May 2005. He was the Chair of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee from 2005 to 2010, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Archives and History, and a former Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Steel and Cast Metal, and Chair of the All Party Carers Group.[3]

Francis voted in favour of a bill that banned smoking in restaurants in April 2003.[5] In December 2004 and October 2005, he voted in favour of the Identity Cards Bill.[6][7] In March 2002, he voted to ban the hunting of wild mammals with dogs.[8] He voted in favour of the NHS Foundation Trust proposal.[9] He also voted in favour of allowing unmarried heterosexual and homosexual couples to adopt,[10] and in favour of the Civil Partnership Bill.[11] Francis voted in favour of the replacement of the Trident system.[12]

He voted in favour of adding clauses to a bill that allow the Secretary of State to detain indefinitely, pending deportation, anyone he suspects is a terrorist, even if the law forbids that person's deportation from ever taking place.[13] He voted against only allowing people detained at a police station to be fingerprinted and searched for an identifying birthmark if it is in connection with a terrorism investigation.[14] He voted against changing the text in the Prevention of Terrorism Bill from "The Secretary of State may make a control order against an individual" to "The Secretary of State may apply to the court for a control order...".[15]

In March 2003, he voted that the case had not yet been made for war against Iraq.[16] In June 2003, he voted against a motion that would have recalled the Prime Minister's assertion that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that could be used at 45 minutes' notice, and launching an independent inquiry into the intelligence received and the decisions that were based on it.[17] In June 2007, he voted against a motion calling for an independent inquiry by a committee of Privy Counsellors into the Iraq War.[18]

Francis fought against the closing of Port Talbot's magistrates and the moving of administrative posts to other locations, saying "Local justice needs to take place in a local setting."[19] He has suggested that Wales could have a carers' commissioner that could be based on the children's commissioner.[20]

In February 2011, it was reported that Francis had been quoted in a US diplomatic cable which had been released by Wikileaks. The cable by a US embassy political officer dated from 2008, and discussed the upcoming Welsh Labour leadership election to choose a successor to the retiring Rhodri Morgan: Francis was quoted as claiming that all of the prospective candidates who were already members of the Welsh Assembly were seen as flawed by the Welsh Labour Party, and suggesting that many in the party were hoping for a "white knight" to be "parachute(d) in" from outside the Assembly. However, Francis claimed that he could not recall the conversation, suggesting that "it sounds as if the diplomat suffers from poor shorthand", and stating that "it is on the record that I was an early supporter of (Assembly Member and successful leadership candidate) Carwyn Jones... I would certainly not have supported such an absurd suggestion as parachuting anyone into the assembly".[21][22]

On 22 November 2013, Francis made the announcement that he would be standing down as the Member of Parliament for Aberavon at the 2015 general election.[23] Stephen Kinnock, son of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, was selected to succeed Dr Francis as the Labour candidate for Aberavon.[24]


  1. ^ "House of Commons - The Register of Members' Financial Interests - Part 2: Part 2". Publications.parliament.uk. 24 January 2011. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  2. ^ "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8747.
  3. ^ a b c d "Dr Hywel Francis MP". Archived from the original on 3 May 2008. Retrieved 17 September 2007. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ a b c d "ePolitix.com - Hywel Francis". Retrieved 17 September 2007.
  5. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 14 Apr 2003 (pt 15)". Retrieved 17 September 2007.
  6. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 20 Dec 2004 (pt 42)". Retrieved 17 September 2007.
  7. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 18 Oct 2005 (pt 35)". Retrieved 17 September 2007.
  8. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 18 Mar 2002 (pt 40)". Retrieved 17 September 2007.
  9. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 8 Jul 2003 (pt 27)". Retrieved 17 September 2007.
  10. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 4 Nov 2002 (pt 28)". Retrieved 17 September 2007.
  11. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 12 Oct 2004 (pt 34)". Retrieved 17 September 2007.
  12. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 14 Mar 2007 (pt 0022)". Retrieved 17 September 2007.
  13. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 21 Nov 2001 (pt 28)". Retrieved 17 September 2007.
  14. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 26 Nov 2001 (pt 30)". Retrieved 17 September 2007.
  15. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 28 Feb 2005 (pt 40)". Retrieved 17 September 2007.
  16. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 18 Mar 2003 (pt 47)". Retrieved 17 September 2007.
  17. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 4 Jun 2003 (pt 25)". Retrieved 17 September 2007.
  18. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 11 Jun 2007 (pt 0015)". Retrieved 17 September 2007.
  19. ^ "Fears over town's court closure". BBC News. 24 May 2006. Retrieved 17 September 2007.
  20. ^ "Carers 'champion' urged for Wales". BBC News. 2 December 2005. Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  21. ^ "Wikileaks reveals US cable on 'weak' Welsh devolution". bbc.co.uk. 7 February 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  22. ^ "Wales: Who Will Replace First Minister Morgan When he Resigns?". telegraph.co.uk. 4 February 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  23. ^ "Hywel Francis to stand down as MP for Aberavon in 2015". BBC News. 22 November 2013. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  24. ^ "Neil Kinnock's son Stephen selected to fight Aberavon seat". BBC News. 22 March 2014. Retrieved 23 August 2015.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Morris
Member of Parliament for Aberavon
Succeeded by
Stephen Kinnock