Nia Griffith

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Nia Griffith
Nia Griffith MP.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for Wales
In office
13 September 2015 – 27 June 2016
Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Preceded by Owen Smith
Succeeded by Paul Flynn
Member of Parliament
for Llanelli
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded by Denzil Davies
Majority 7,095 (18.4%)
Personal details
Born Nia Rhiannon Griffith
(1956-12-04) 4 December 1956 (age 59)
Dublin, Ireland
Political party Labour
Alma mater Somerville College, Oxford
Bangor University
Website Official website

Nia Rhiannon Griffith (born 4 December 1956) is a Welsh Labour politician, who has been 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 on 13 September 2015[1] and having resigned on 27 June 2016.[2]


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 father was Professor T. 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 Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers.[5][6]

Political career[edit]

Griffith joined the Labour Party in 1981 and has held many posts of responsibility within the Labour 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.

She was selected to contest the Welsh seat of Llanelli for Labour at the 2005 General Election following the imposition of a controversial 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 is a member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Welsh Affairs Select Committee and European Scrutiny Committee. She also chairs 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 cut 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. In 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]

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.


In June 2009 Griffith was named as one of the MPs who had claimed the maximum allowable amount in expenses for food. Following a review of expenses Sir Thomas Legg ordered Griffith to repay £4,099.77 in mortgage interest claims.[12] As a result of the controversy surrounding her claims Griffith vowed never to eat at the taxpayer's expense again.[13]

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.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Griffith is divorced, her former husband was a social worker.[4][15] In a photo shoot for The Independent in February 2016, Griffith came out as lesbian, commenting that her sexuality had been known among friends, family and colleagues since the mid-1990s.[16]

Griffith owns a house in Llanelli, a flat in London,[17] and a small holding in Carmarthenshire which receives Tir Gofal funding.[18] Her hobbies include music, European cinema, gardening, walking and cycling.[3][19]


  • 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". Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  4. ^ a b Dod's parliamentary companion guide ... – Google Books
  5. ^ Nia Griffith – Labour MP for Llanelli
  6. ^ "WPR – Nia Griffith MP". Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  7. ^ BBC NEWS | UK | UK Election 2005 | Wales | Gwynfor tribute as MP returned
  8. ^ Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster (2005-05-19). "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 19 May 2005 (pt 15)". Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  9. ^ This is South Wales | Labour hold on to Llanelli as Plaid slashes majority
  10. ^ Democracy Live | Your representatives | Nia Griffith
  11. ^ Parliamentary Biographies | Nia Griffith | | Retrieved 2016-02-22
  12. ^ BBC News – 27 Welsh MPs must repay expenses
  13. ^ This is South Wales | Backlash prompts Llanelli MP's expenses rethink
  14. ^ This is South Wales | LLANELLI MP Nia Griffith has apologised after breaking the rules on using House of Commons stationery for political purposes
  15. ^ This is South Wales | The Labour Party's hopeful, Nia Griffith
  16. ^
  17. ^ MPs' expenses: Full list of MPs investigated by the Telegraph – Telegraph
  18. ^ TheyWorkForYou
  19. ^ Dod's parliamentary companion – Google Books

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