Nia Griffith

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Nia Griffith

Official portrait of Nia Griffith MP crop 2.jpg
Griffith in 2020
Shadow Secretary of State for Wales
Assumed office
6 April 2020
LeaderSir Keir Starmer
Preceded byChristina Rees
In office
14 September 2015 – 27 June 2016
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byOwen Smith
Succeeded byPaul Flynn
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
In office
6 October 2016 – 6 April 2020
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byClive Lewis
Succeeded byJohn Healey
Member of Parliament
for Llanelli
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded byDenzil Davies
Majority4,670 (12.2%)
Personal details
Nia Rhiannon Griffith

(1956-12-04) 4 December 1956 (age 63)
Dublin, Ireland
Political partyLabour
Alma materSomerville College, Oxford
Bangor University
WebsiteOfficial website

Nia Rhiannon Griffith (born 4 December 1956) is a Welsh Labour politician who has served as Shadow Secretary of State for Wales since 2020. She previously served in the Shadow Cabinet of Jeremy Corbyn as Shadow Welsh Secretary from 2015 to 2016 and Shadow Secretary of State for Defence from 2016 to 2020. She has served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Llanelli since 2005.

She held the position of Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, having been appointed to the post by Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn in September 2015[1] until she resigned in June 2016.[2] On 6 October 2016, Corbyn appointed Griffith as Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, replacing Clive Lewis.

Early life and career[edit]

Griffith was born in Dublin, Republic of Ireland, on 4 December 1956.[3] Her family comes from mining villages near Neath, in South Wales. Her mother was born in Neath. Her father was Professor Thomas Gwynfor Griffith; her mother was Dr. Rhiannon Howell.

She was educated at Newland High School for Girls (now called Newland School for Girls) in Hull and Somerville College, Oxford where she graduated with a first class degree in modern languages in 1979.[4] After Oxford, she trained to be a teacher (PGCE) at the University of Wales, Bangor.

Griffith became a teacher at Queen Elizabeth Cambria School in Carmarthen then Gowerton Comprehensive School in Swansea. She was a member of the NUT. Prior to entering Parliament, she was an education adviser and an Estyn Schools Inspector (the Welsh equivalent of Ofsted) from 1992. Immediately before becoming an MP she was Head of Languages at Morriston Comprehensive School, Swansea. She speaks five languages: English, Welsh, Italian, French and Spanish[citation needed] and has written a book on language teaching.

Griffith was a founder member of a local Women's Aid organisation and is a member of the National Union of Teachers and the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers.[5][6]

Griffith joined the Labour Party in 1981 and has held many posts of responsibility within the party, including Secretary of the Carmarthenshire County Labour Party. She was elected as a councillor to the Carmarthen Town Council in 1987, serving as the sheriff in 1997 and deputy mayor in 1998.

Parliamentary career[edit]

She was selected to contest the Welsh seat of Llanelli for Labour at the 2005 General Election following the imposition of an all-women shortlist after the retirement of Denzil Davies.[7] She won the seat with a majority of 7,234 votes and remains the MP there. Griffith made her maiden speech on 19 May 2005.[8] She was a member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Welsh Affairs Select Committee and European Scrutiny Committee. She also chaired the All-Party Steel and Metals Group. Griffith was PPS to Harriet Harman MP in her capacity as Minister for Women and Equality before the 2010 general election.

Griffith was re-elected in 2010 with her majority reduced by 2,533 votes.[9] In October 2010, she became Shadow Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills[10] until October 2011 when she became Shadow Minister for Wales. On 13 September 2015 she became Shadow Secretary of State for Wales.[11] She resigned from this position on 27 June 2016 following a series of other resignations from Jeremy Corbyn's Shadow Cabinet,[2] but was appointed Shadow Defence Secretary four months later. She supported Owen Smith in the failed attempt to replace Jeremy Corbyn in the 2016 Labour Party (UK) leadership election.[12]

Her main political interests are tackling climate change and issues affecting industry. She has been Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages since 2015.

She is a member of Labour Friends of Israel.[13]

Griffith held her seat at the 2019 general election.[14]

On 6th April 2020, she was appointed by Keir Starmer to be Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, one of only a few MPs to continue from Jeremy Corbyn's Shadow Cabinet.


In June 2009, Griffith was named as one of the Welsh MPs whose expenses had been overpaid. Following a review of expenses Sir Thomas Legg ordered Griffith to repay £4,099.77 in mortgage interest claims.[15]

In June 2010, Griffith had to repay the cost of sending 71 letters having been found to have breached Parliamentary rules on using House of Commons stationery for political purposes. The Department of Resources ruled that the letters, sent out just before the general election, "sought to communicate information about the Labour Party and that its intention was to persuade constituents to vote accordingly for the sitting party member". Griffith also apologised for her actions.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Griffith is divorced, her former husband was a social worker.[4][17] In a photo shoot for The Independent in February 2016, Griffith came out as a lesbian, commenting that her sexuality had been known among friends, family and colleagues since the mid-1990s.[18] She was named on the 2017 Pinc List of leading Welsh LGBT figures.[19]

Griffith owns a house in Llanelli, a flat in London,[20] and a smallholding in Carmarthenshire which received Tir Gofal funding.[21] Her hobbies include music, European cinema, gardening, walking and cycling.[3][22] She is an honorary associate of the National Secular Society.[23]


  • 100 Ideas for Teaching Languages by Nia Griffith, 2005, Continuum International Publishing Group ISBN 0-8264-8549-9


  1. ^ Walker, Peter (16 September 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet in full". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  2. ^ a b Syal, Rajeev; Perraudin, Frances (27 June 2016). "Shadow cabinet resignations: who has gone and who is staying". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  3. ^ a b "WPR – Nia Griffith MP". Archived from the original on 15 May 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  4. ^ a b Passmore, Valerie (2005). Dod's Parliamentary Companion: Guide to the General Election, 2005. ISBN 9780905702575. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  5. ^ "Nia Griffith MP – Labour Member of Parliament for Llanelli". Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  6. ^ "WPR – Nia Griffith MP". Archived from the original on 15 May 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  7. ^ "UK Election 2005: Wales, Gwynfor tribute as MP returned". BBC News. 6 May 2005. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  8. ^ Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster (19 May 2005). "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 19 May 2005 (pt 15)". Retrieved 20 August 2012.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ "Swansea: The latest news, sport, what's on and business from Swansea and Gower". Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  10. ^ "Wales MPs named as shadow junior ministers". BBC News. 11 October 2010. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  11. ^ "Nia Griffith MP - UK Parliament". 20 July 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  12. ^ "Full list of MPs and MEPs backing challenger Owen Smith". LabourList. 21 July 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  13. ^ "LFI Supporters in Parliament". Labour Friends of Israel. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  14. ^ "Llanelli parliamentary constituency - Election 2019". Retrieved 15 December 2019.
  15. ^ "27 Welsh MPs must repay expenses". BBC News. 4 February 2010. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  16. ^ "Swansea: The latest news, sport, what's on and business from Swansea and Gower". Archived from the original on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  17. ^ "Swansea: The latest news, sport, what's on and business from Swansea and Gower". Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  18. ^ Mark Leftly (20 February 2016). "Gay MPs: The photograph that shows Westminster's attitude towards LGBT politicians is changing". The Independent. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  19. ^ "Pinc List 2017". Wales Online. 19 August 2017.
  20. ^ "MPs' expenses: Full list of MPs investigated by the". Telegraph. 8 May 2009. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  21. ^ "TheyWorkForYou". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  22. ^ Dod's Parliamentary Companion. 2010. ISBN 9780905702896. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  23. ^ "Honorary Associates". Retrieved 20 June 2019.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Denzil Davies
Member of Parliament
for Llanelli

Political offices
Preceded by
Owen Smith
Shadow Secretary of State for Wales
Succeeded by
Paul Flynn
Preceded by
Clive Lewis
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence