Paul Farrelly

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Paul Farrelly

Official portrait of Paul Farrelly crop 2.jpg
Official parliamentary portrait, June 2017
Member of Parliament
for Newcastle-under-Lyme
Assumed office
7 June 2001
Preceded byLlin Golding
Majority30 (0.09%)
Personal details
Christopher Paul Farrelly

(1962-03-02) 2 March 1962 (age 57)
Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, England
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Victoria Jane Perry
Alma materSt Edmund Hall, Oxford

Christopher Paul Farrelly MP (born 2 March 1962) is a British Labour Party politician and journalist, who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Newcastle-under-Lyme since 2001.

Early life[edit]

Farrelly was born in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, the son of an Irish gas pipe-laying foreman[citation needed] and a former nurse. He is the first MP reared in Newcastle to represent the constituency since before 1900.[citation needed]

He was educated at Wolstanton Grammar School (which later became Marshlands Comprehensive High School) on Milehouse Lane in Newcastle-under-Lyme, before studying at St Edmund Hall, Oxford where he obtained a BA in PPE in 1984. After his education he worked at managerial level in the corporate finance department with Barclays de Zoete Wedd, and, in 1990 joined Reuters as a correspondent and news editor. Farrelly was appointed as the deputy business editor with the Independent on Sunday in 1995 before joining The Observer in 1997 as the City Editor, where he remained until his election to Westminster.[citation needed]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Farrelly unsuccessfully contested Chesham and Amersham at the 1997 General Election finishing in third place some 16,058 votes behind the sitting Conservative MP, Cheryl Gillan.

He was selected to contest his hometown seat of Newcastle-under-Lyme following the retirement of the Labour MP Llin Golding at the 2001 General Election, and he held the seat comfortably with a majority of 9,986 and remains the MP there. He made his maiden speech on 12 July 2001. In the House of Commons Farrelly has served on several select committees including the Science and Technology Committee, he has been a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee since the 2005 General Election.

Before his election he had held elected office within the Hornsey and Wood Green Constituency Labour Party as well as in Newcastle-under-Lyme. A written Parliamentary question by Farrelly, answered on 19 October 2009, became the subject of debate as The Guardian newspaper was prevented from reporting on it by a court injunction that became known as a super-injunction.[1][2]

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of legislation to protect (a) whistleblowers and (b) press freedom following the injunctions obtained in the High Court by (i) Barclays and Freshfields solicitors on 19 March 2009 on the publication of internal Barclays reports documenting alleged tax avoidance schemes and (ii) Trafigura and Carter-Ruck solicitors on 11 September 2009 on the publication of the Minton report on the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, commissioned by Trafigura.[3]

At the 2010 general election, Farrelly was returned to parliament with a majority of 1,552. His majority was reduced to 650 in 2015 and 30 in 2017.

On 4 November 2010, Farrelly was involved in an altercation with a man during a karaoke night at the Houses of Parliament Sports and Social club, which resulted in Farrelly wrestling the man (named as Bjorn Hurrell) to the ground. The MP later said he was acting in self-defence.[4] Hurrell had been involved in a previous altercation which led to a four-month suspension of his Commons pass.[5]

Farrelly was one of 47 Labour MPs who defied the party whip to voted against the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017, which allowed the government to invoke Article 50, triggering the beginning of the process of British withdrawal from the European Union).[6]

Farrelly was one of 13 MPs to vote against triggering the 2017 general election.[7] In the ensuing election, Farrelly retained his seat by just 30 votes. There was confusion in the constituency on polling day, where thousands of students were initially rejected due to errors with the electoral register.[8]

In November 2017, the Mail on Sunday reported that Farrelly “launched a foul-mouthed tirade” at fellow Labour MP James Frith. Labour said it would be launching an investigation after it received "a number of complaints".[9]

In March 2018, Farrelly was accused of bullying Emily Commander, the former clerk of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on which he sits.[10] She reported having “repeated nightmares about going on Committee visits” with him.[11] Two other female clerks also complained about his conduct, including one being asked repeated questions about her marital status. A formal inquiry into the allegations ended up being blocked by MPs.[12][13] Farrelly called the accusations 'baseless'.[14]

In March 2018, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards found that Farrelly broke the House of Commons code of conduct by using Commons stationery during his electioneering campaign, sending out 1000 canvassing letters in the run up to the election as if they had been sent by the House. Farrelly issued an apology and paid back the cost of the stationery.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Farrelly has been married to Victoria Jane Perry since 1998, and they have a son and two daughters. He is a member of several organisations including Amnesty International, Liberty and Greenpeace.


  1. ^ Super-injunctions do limit freedom of speech, Speaker's lawyers advise
  2. ^ Guardian gagged from reporting parliament
  3. ^ Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster. "House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 19 Oct 2009 (pt 0006)". Retrieved 26 July 2018.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "Labour MP Paul Farrelly admits incident in Parliament". BBC News. 6 November 2010.
  5. ^ [1]Charlotte Gill, Paul Bentley and Colin Fernandez (8 November 2010). "MP in Commons 'brawl' WILL face official Parliamentary inquiry". Daily Mail.
  6. ^ Julia Rampen & Stephen Bush, The MPs who voted against Article 50, New Statesman (February 1, 2017).
  7. ^ "The 13 MPs who opposed snap general election". BBC News. 20 April 2017.
  8. ^ Khan, Shehab (9 June 2017). "Newcastle-under-Lyme election result: Student voters initially turned away return to clinch marginal seat for Labour". Independent.
  9. ^ "Paul Farrelly denies fracas claims amid Labour probe - BBC News". 19 November 2017. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  10. ^ "Westminster bullying: 'MPs must not discipline one another' - BBC News". 23 March 2018. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  11. ^ "John Bercow And Labour MP Paul Farrelly Accused Of Bullying Staff, BBC's Newsnight Reports". Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  12. ^ "Inquiry into Parliament bullying claims backed by ministers - BBC News". Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  13. ^ Sam Coates, Deputy Political Editor (15 March 2018). "Labour set to block Commons bullying inquiry | News". The Times. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  14. ^
  15. ^ Corrigan, Phil (7 March 2018). "MP who won seat by 30 votes broke rules with 'party political' letter". Stoke Sentinel.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Llin Golding
Member of Parliament for Newcastle-under-Lyme