Jim Knight

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Knight of Weymouth
Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform
In office
5 June 2009 – 11 May 2010
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Tony McNulty
Succeeded by Chris Grayling
Minister for the South West
In office
5 June 2009 – 11 May 2010
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Ben Bradshaw
Succeeded by Position abolished
Minister of State for Schools and Learning
In office
5 May 2006 – 5 June 2009
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Gordon Brown
Preceded by Jacqui Smith
Succeeded by Vernon Coaker
Member of Parliament
for South Dorset
In office
7 June 2001 – 12 April 2010
Preceded by Ian Bruce
Succeeded by Richard Drax
Personal details
Born (1965-03-06) 6 March 1965 (age 52)
Bexley, United Kingdom
Political party Labour Co-operative
Spouse(s) Anna Wheatley
Alma mater Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge

James Philip Knight, Baron Knight of Weymouth, PC (born 6 March 1965) is a British Labour and Co-operative Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for South Dorset from 2001 until 2010, when he lost his seat. Knight held several ministerial posts during his time as an MP including Minister for the South West and Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform.

It was announced in the 2010 Dissolution Honours that he would be made a life peer. Knight is now a managing director at TES Global Ltd, and a Visiting Professor at the London Knowledge Lab of the Institute of Education in London.


Knight was educated at Eltham College, an independent school in Mottingham in south-east London, followed by Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, where he studied Geography, Social & Political Sciences from 1984–87, gaining a BA Hons.

Early career[edit]

Knight was Manager of Central Studio in Basingstoke from 1988–90. From 1990–91, he was Director of West Wiltshire Arts Centre Ltd, then Director of Dentons Directories Ltd in Westbury from 1991–2001.

Election history[edit]

Knight first stood for Parliament in the 1997 general election as the Labour candidate for South Dorset, but lost by 77 votes. He was, however, elected on the same day to Mendip District Council, on which he served until 2001, including as Labour Group leader.

At the 2001 general election, he was elected the Member of Parliament for South Dorset by 153 votes in the only Labour gain from the Conservatives in that year. In the 2005 general election he increased his majority to 1,812, but with a small decrease in his share of the vote. In the 2010 general election Knight lost his seat to Conservative Richard Drax by 7,443 votes after an 11.4% drop in his vote.

Knight was the campaign manager for Ed Balls' leadership campaign in 2010.[citation needed]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Knight was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 2005–06. He then moved to become Minister of State for Schools in the Department for Education and Skills. On 28 June 2007, when Gordon Brown disbanded the department, Knight moved to the newly created Department for Children, Schools and Families, as the Minister for Schools and Learners. In October 2008 following the reshuffle, Knight became a member of the Privy Council.

Expenses Scandal. When published Knight was then Schools Minister and MP for Dorset South Jim Knight was the highest MP claimant, claiming £155,987 in 2007/2008, compared with £137,970 in 2006/2007[1]

In his first Parliament, Jim Knight generally voted in line with party policy, including all major votes such as those on the Iraq war and top-up fees.

Jim Knight held the following positions:

  • 2003–2004 – Parliamentary Private Secretary to Rosie Winterton then Minister of State at the Department of Health
  • 2004–2005 – Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Ministerial Team at the Department of Health
  • 2005–2006 – Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs, the Landscape & Biodiversity
  • 2006–2009 – Minister of State for Schools
  • 2009–2010 – Minister of State for Employment
  • 2009–2010 – Minister for the South West

After politics[edit]

Knight was created a Life Peer on 23 June 2010 taking the title Baron Knight of Weymouth, of Weymouth in the County of Dorset.[2][3]

In April 2014 he stepped down from the Labour front bench in the House of Lords to take up a full-time role as managing director – Online Learning at TES Global Ltd, building an online CPD[clarification needed] service for teachers.

In 2011, Knight was appointed as Chair of digital and social inclusion charity Good Things Foundation (then Tinder Foundation). He stood down as chair in 2016, however he remains a patron of Good Things Foundation. He is also the deputy chair of the Nominet Trust.[citation needed]


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Ian Bruce
Member of Parliament for South Dorset
Succeeded by
Richard Drax
Political offices
Preceded by
Jacqui Smith
Minister of State for Schools and Learners
Succeeded by
Vernon Coaker
Preceded by
Tony McNulty
Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform
Succeeded by
Chris Grayling
Preceded by
Ben Bradshaw
Minister for the South West
Position abolished