Nick Thomas-Symonds

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Nick Thomas-Symonds

Official portrait of Nick Thomas-Symonds crop 2.jpg
Thomas-Symonds in 2017
Shadow Home Secretary
Assumed office
5 April 2020
LeaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byDiane Abbott
Shadow Minister of State for Security
In office
5 July 2017 – 5 April 2020
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byConor McGinn
Shadow Solicitor General for England and Wales
In office
9 October 2016 – 5 April 2020
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byJo Stevens
Succeeded byEllie Reeves
Shadow Minister of State for Employment
In office
11 January 2016 – 27 June 2016
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byEmily Thornberry
Succeeded byMargaret Greenwood
Shadow Minister of State for Pensions
In office
17 September 2015 – 11 January 2016
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byGregg McClymont
Succeeded byAngela Rayner
Member of Parliament
for Torfaen
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byPaul Murphy
Majority3,742 (10.0%)
Personal details
Born (1980-05-26) 26 May 1980 (age 40)
Blaenavon, Wales
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Rebecca Nelson
Alma materSt Edmund Hall, Oxford

Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds, FRHistS (born 26 May 1980) is a British Labour politician, barrister, and academic serving as Shadow Home Secretary since April 2020, and has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Torfaen since 2015.[1] He previously served in the Shadow Home Office Team of Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott as Shadow Minister of State for Security from 2017 to 2020.

Before entering the House of Commons at the 2015 general election, he was a chancery and commercial barrister at Civitas Law.[2][3] He is also the author of Attlee: A Life in Politics and Nye: The Political Life of Aneurin Bevan. On 5 April 2020, the new Labour leader, Keir Starmer appointed Nick Thomas-Symonds Shadow Home Secretary, succeeding Diane Abbott.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Thomas-Symonds was born in Panteg Hospital, Griffithstown, Torfaen, and was brought up in Blaenavon. His father was a steelworker and industrial chemist, and his mother was a secretary.[5] He attended St Felix R.C. Primary School, Blaenavon, and St Alban's R.C. High School, Pontypool. He then studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, between 1998 and 2001, where he gained a first.[6][5]


Legal career[edit]

Thomas-Symonds was called to the bar by Lincoln's Inn in October 2004[6] and developed a practice specialising in chancery and commercial law.

Academic career[edit]

Thomas-Symonds was appointed a tutor at St Edmund Hall, Oxford at the age of 21. He was later a lecturer in politics at the college, teaching British Politics and Government since 2000; Modern British Government and Politics; Government and Politics of Europe; and Government and Politics of the United States. Thomas-Symonds taught for other Oxford colleges, including Harris Manchester College. He also taught US Politics on the Oxford Department of Continuing Education's "Foundations of Diplomacy" course.[6] Between 2008 and 2009, he was the politics tutor of Kayleigh McEnany, who is currently the White House Press Secretary.[7][8][9] He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2012.[10]

Thomas-Symonds has published two political biographies: Nye: The Political Life of Aneurin Bevan[11] and Attlee: A Life in Politics.[12]

Political career[edit]

Thomas-Symonds was selected as prospective Labour parliamentary candidate for Torfaen on 7 March 2015 and subsequently won the seat in the General Election on 7 May 2015. He made his maiden speech on 28 May 2015, without notes. Chris Bryant MP said he had delivered the speech “with panache”.

After a brief stint on the Justice Select Committee, he was appointed Shadow Pensions Minister on 17 September 2015 before being promoted to Shadow Employment Minister on 11 January 2016.[13][14] He resigned the role of Shadow Employment Minister on 27 June 2016,[15] later supporting Owen Smith in the 2016 Labour Party (UK) leadership election.[16] On 11 October 2016 he accepted the position of Shadow Solicitor General and on 3 July 2017 he was appointed as Shadow Security Minister within the Shadow Home Affairs Team.[17][18]

He has served as Chair of four All-Party Parliamentary Groups: Off-Patent Drugs; Industrial Heritage; Legal & Constitutional Affairs; and Archives & History.[19]

Nick Thomas-Symonds was drawn in the ballot for a Private Members' Bill on 4 June 2015 and introduced the Off-Patent Drugs Bill. This ran out of time at Second Reading on 6 November 2015,[20] but substantial parts of the Bill were later incorporated into the Access to Medical Treatments (Innovation) Bill on 29 January 2016.[21] As a result of promises secured by Thomas-Symonds, the British National Formulary has started to include off-label drugs in their new indication where there is sufficient evidence.[22]

On 8 December 2015, Nick Thomas-Symonds was chosen as 'Member to Watch' at the Welsh Politician of the Year Awards.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Thomas-Symonds is married, and has three children.[5]

Selected works[edit]

  • Thomas-Symonds, Nicklaus (2010). Attlee: a life in politics. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1845117795.
  • Thomas-Symonds, Nicklaus (2014). Nye: The Political Life of Aneurin Bevan. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1780762098.


  • "The Battle of Grosmont, 1405: A Reinterpretation" Gwent Local History, Volume 97, Autumn 2004. (Researched by Gareth McCann).
  • "Michael Foot’s Handling of the Militant Tendency: A Reinterpretation", Contemporary British History, Volume 19, No 1, Spring 2005.
  • "Oratory, Rhetoric and Politics: Neil Kinnock’s Thousand Generations Speech of 1987", Llafur: Journal of the Welsh People's History Society, Volume 9, No. 3, 2006.
  • "The Hard Sell: When does a new car actually belong to the purchaser?" Solicitors’ Journal, Volume 154, No. 35, 21 September 2010.
  • (with Youngs, R). (2013). "The Problem of the "Lame Duck" Government: A Critique of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act". Parliamentary Affairs. 66 (3): 540–556. doi:10.1093/pa/gss001.


  1. ^ "Torfaen".
  2. ^ Simmons, Richard (10 April 2015). "City solicitors, a 22-year old UKIP law grad and a barrister standing for the Whigs: the legal profession's MP hopefuls". Lawyer 2B. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  3. ^ "Profile: Nick Thomas-Symonds". Civitas Law. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  4. ^ correspondent, Peter Walker Political (5 April 2020). "Three key appointments: Keir Starmer fills top shadow cabinet roles". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Maguire, Patrick (1 May 2020). "The history boy: can Nick Thomas-Symonds reunite Labour and nation?". New Statesman. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  6. ^ a b c "Home | St Edmund Hall". Archived from the original on 25 July 2016. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  7. ^ Stonor, Joe (12 May 2020). "Labour frontbencher taught Trump's Press Secretary politics at Oxford". Cherwell. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  8. ^ Zeffman, Henry (3 May 2020). "Meet Kayleigh McEnany: Trump's new champion in war against media". The Times. Retrieved 13 May 2020 – via The Australian.
  9. ^ Blanchard, Jack (4 May 2020). "POLITICO London Playbook: Do the Wight thing - BoJo's Sunday service - Return of the King". POLITICO. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  10. ^ Beech, Matt; Hickson, Kevin; Plant, Raymond, eds. (2018) [2004]. The Struggle for Labour's Soul: Understanding Labour's Political Thought Since 1945. Routledge Studies in British Politics (2nd ed.). Abingdon: Routledge. p. xiv. ISBN 978-1-138-04737-2. OCLC 1041108901.
  11. ^ Symonds, Nicklaus (2015). Nye : the political life of Aneurin Bevan. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1-78076-209-8. OCLC 889522593.
  12. ^ Symonds, Nicklaus (2010). Attlee : a life in politics. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84511-779-5. OCLC 670430130.
  13. ^ "Labour names first-time MP as shadow pensions minister". Citywire. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  14. ^ "Nick Thomas-Symonds appointed Shadow Minister for Employment". Torfaen Constituency Labour Party. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Torfaen MP latest to quit Labour front bench". South Wales Argus. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  16. ^ Smith, Mikey; Bloom, Dan (20 July 2016). "Which MPs are nominating Owen Smith in the Labour leadership contest?". Mirror. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  17. ^ "Nick Thomas-Symonds promoted to Shadow Solicitor General – Nick Thomas Symonds MP". Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  18. ^ "Reshuffle 2: The Maintenance of the Malcontents". New Socialist. 8 July 2017. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  19. ^ "Register Of All-Party Parliamentary Groups [as at 28 April 2016]". Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  20. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 06 Nov 2015 (pt 0002)". Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  21. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 29 Jan 2016 (pt 0001)". Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  22. ^ "MP's bill leads to review of drug 'Bible'". South Wales Argus.
  23. ^ "Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood named Welsh Politician of the Year | Wales – ITV News". Retrieved 10 September 2016.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Paul Murphy
Member of Parliament
for Torfaen

Political offices
Preceded by
Diane Abbott
Shadow Home Secretary