Paul Blomfield

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Paul Blomfield

Official portrait of Paul Blomfield crop 2.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Sheffield Central
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded byRichard Caborn
Majority27,748 (58.0%)
Personal details
Born (1953-08-25) 25 August 1953 (age 65)
Chatham, Kent, England
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Linda McAvan MEP
Alma materSt John's College, York

Paul Christopher Blomfield[1] MP (born 25 August 1953) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sheffield Central since 2010. He has been a Shadow Minister for Exiting the European Union since October 2016.[2]

Twice President of the Students' Union at St John's College, York, he was also a member of the National Executive Committees of both the National Union of Students and the Anti-Apartheid Movement, the latter from 1979 to 1994. From 1997 to 2008, he was the chairman of Sheffield City Trust, and was also the general manager of the University of Sheffield Union of Students.


Born in Chatham, Paul Blomfield was educated at the Abbeydale Boys' Grammar School in Sheffield and Tadcaster Grammar School. He received a certificate in education from York St John University.

Anti-Apartheid Movement[edit]

He became involved in the Anti-Apartheid Movement while still at school and continued to organise Anti-Apartheid activity as a student politician. In 1976 he travelled to South Africa to meet local campaigners and learn about the apartheid system first hand. During this visit he was subject to surveillance by the South African Police and eventually decided to leave the country due to the risk this posed to the local anti-apartheid campaigners. He then went on to serve on the National Executive Committee of the Anti-Apartheid Movement from 1979 to 1994 when free elections were held in South Africa.[3]

Parliamentary Office[edit]

He was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Hilary Benn as Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Shadow Foreign Secretary, between 2010 and 2016, during which time he also served as a member of the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee. He was appointed Shadow Minister for Exiting the European Union in October 2016.

Other Parliamentary Activities[edit]

He is Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Students, which he founded, Co-Chair of the APPG for International Students, which he founded with Lord Karan Bilimoria, and Secretary of the APPG for Universities. He served on the Higher Education and Research Bill Committee and was voted The Guardian’s ‘most inspiring leader in higher education’ in 2015.

He is Secretary of the APPG on Debt and Personal Finance. He introduced a High Cost Credit Bill into the House of Commons in July 2013 and co-ordinated a cross-party campaign, around a Charter to Stop the Payday Loan Rip-Off. Citizens Advice gave their Parliamentarian of the Year 2014 award jointly to Paul Blomfield and Conservative MP Robin Walker for their work on the issue.

As Chair of the APPG on Migration, he was Vice Chair of a cross-party Parliamentary inquiry into immigration detention led by the Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather. Their recommendations, including a call for a 28-day time limit on immigration detention, were approved by the House of Commons, but not accepted by the Government.

Sheffield City Trust[edit]

Paul Blomfield was a trustee of Sheffield City Trust from 1994–1997, and its chairman from 1997–2008. In this role he was responsible for the development of Sheffield International Venues, Sheffield City Hall and the Sheffield Festival. During his tenure, he oversaw the organisation's expansion into venues such as Sheffield City Hall and the English Institute of Sport.[4]

University of Sheffield Union of Students[edit]

As general manager of the University of Sheffield Union of Students, he was responsible for establishing and maintaining its position as one of the leading Students' Unions in the UK; it won a number of awards over recent years, including "Best Students' Union in the UK".[5] He stepped down as general manager just before contesting the 2010 general election.

Labour Party[edit]

He was the Chair of Sheffield District Labour Party from 1993 to 2009, resigning the position to fight the Sheffield Central at the 2010 general election, after long-serving MP Richard Caborn announced he would be standing down. He has been a long-standing opponent of tuition fees.[6] Blomfield became the Chair of Labour for Democracy, or Labour4Democracy, on 4 December 2012. The internal party group was launched to promote plurality in the Labour Party, and increase co-operation with other political parties in building a "progressive consensus".[7][8][9][10][11]

In Parliament[edit]

At the 2010 general election, Paul Blomfield was elected as the MP for Sheffield Central.[12] He was one of the first MPs to nominate Ed Miliband, the successful candidate, in the 2010 Labour Leadership election. On 9 October 2010, he was appointed the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, Hilary Benn, retaining the role when Benn was moved to become Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. He was also elected to sit on the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, and later became Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Higher Education.[13]

He retained his seat at the 2015 general election with a majority of 17,309 (his 2010 majority having been only 165).[14]

He supported Owen Smith in the failed attempt to replace Jeremy Corbyn in the 2016 Labour Party (UK) leadership election.[15]

Brain tumour[edit]

Blomfield underwent surgery to remove a benign brain tumour, a meningioma, in August 2011, going on to make a full recovery. This tumour could have been developing for 20 years. It was diagnosed when it began pressing against his optic nerve and interfering with his sight. He was diagnosed at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital within a week of noticing symptoms. The operation, by Mr Thomas Carroll lasted 13 hours and was back at work after 4 weeks.[16] He and Conservative MP Guy Opperman, who also had a brain tumour in 2011, walked the first section of the Pennine Way in 2012 to raise money for Headway UK.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Blomfield is married to Linda McAvan, a Labour Member of the European Parliament for Yorkshire and the Humber.


  1. ^ "No. 61230". The London Gazette. 18 May 2015. p. 9118.
  2. ^ "Paul Blomfield MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  3. ^ "Student forced to flee South African police". Sheffield Star. 17 March 2008.
  4. ^ "City's ambassador of sport now sets his sights on new role in Parliament". Yorkshire Post. 18 August 2008.
  5. ^ "Awards". Sheffield Students' Union. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  6. ^ "Welcome fee policy". Times Higher Education. 6 October 2000.
  7. ^ "Who we are". Labour for Democracy. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  8. ^ Blomfield, Paul (3 December 2012). "Paul Blomfield: Labour's history has often been of working with others for progressive goals". The Independent.
  9. ^ Grice, Andrew (3 December 2012). "Labour makes first move for coalition deal with Lib Dems". The Independent.
  10. ^ Blomfield, Paul (30 November 2012). "Beyond tribalism". Progress Online.
  11. ^ "Start The Week: Leveson, the Autumn Statement, Growth Bill and the launch of Labour for Democracy". Paul Blomfield (official website). 3 December 2012. Archived from the original on 3 January 2013.
  12. ^ "Election 2010: Sheffield Central". BBC. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  13. ^ "Paul Blomfield". UK Parliament. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  14. ^ "Paul Blomfield MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  15. ^ "Full list of MPs and MEPs backing challenger Owen Smith". LabourList. 21 July 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  16. ^ "My tribute to the NHS in the Yorkshire Post". Paul Blomfield. 19 November 2011. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  17. ^ "Paul Blomfield MP presents fundraising cheque for £1068 to local charity Headway Sheffield". Headway. 19 December 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2015.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Richard Caborn
Member of Parliament for
Sheffield Central