Paul Flynn (politician)

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For other people named Paul Flynn, see Paul Flynn (disambiguation).
Paul Flynn
Member of Parliament
for Newport West
Assumed office
11 June 1987
Preceded by Mark Robinson
Majority 3,544 (8.9%)
Personal details
Born (1935-02-09) 9 February 1935 (age 80)
Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales, UK
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Anne Harvey (1962–1984; divorced); 2 children
Samantha Morgan Cumpstone (1985–present)
Alma mater Cardiff University

Paul Philip Flynn (born 9 February 1935) is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Newport West since the 1987 general election. He was born in Cardiff of Welsh/Irish parentage.

Educational and professional background[edit]

A native of Cardiff, Flynn was educated at the local Catholic grammar school St Illtyd's College and at University College, Cardiff.

On leaving education in 1955 he worked as a chemist in the steel industry, where he remained until 1983. After a year as a broadcaster on Gwent Community Radio, he became a researcher for the Member of the European Parliament Llew Smith in 1984 and remained as such until his election to the House of Commons.

Political career[edit]

Flynn was a member of the Newport Borough Council in 1972–1981 and to the Gwent County Council 1974–1982. He unsuccessfully contested Denbigh at the October 1974 General Election where he was defeated by the Conservative, Geraint Morgan, by 4,551 votes. He was elected to the House of Commons for Newport West at the 1987 general election, defeating the Conservative Mark Robinson, who had unexpectedly won the seat at the 1983 election. Flynn defeated Robinson by 2,708 votes and has remained the MP since.

Flynn joined the front bench under Neil Kinnock in 1988 when he became a spokesman on health and social security and for social security in 1989. He resigned from the front bench in 1990 and has remained on the back benches since. He joined the Transport Select Committee in 1990 until after the 1997 General Election when he joined the Welsh Affairs Select Committee for a year. He was a member of the Environmental Audit Select Committee in 2003 until the 2005 general election, since when he has been a member of the Public Administration Select Committee.

In November 2011, he expressed concern about the appointment of Matthew Gould as the UK's ambassador to Israel, asserting that as a Jew, Gould had "divided loyalties" and that the position should be given to "someone with roots in the UK". Flynn claimed "there hasn't been a Jewish ambassador to Israel and I think that is a good decision – to avoid the accusation that they have gone native."[1] These comments drew criticism from Middle East Minister Alistair Burt, who stated that "Paul Flynn should take some time to consider his comments, which could easily be misconstrued. There is absolutely no reason why our ambassador to Israel should not be Jewish. Any allegations about Matthew Gould's conduct are utterly unsubstantiated. He is a first-class ambassador."[1]

Douglas Alexander, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, also criticized Flynn, stating that "The faith of any British diplomat is irrelevant to their capability to their job. To make suggestions otherwise is wrong and offensive."[1] Labour MP John Mann, who is chair of the All-party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, stated that Flynn should start preparing for his "retirement" and that "I suggest he starts his retirement with a workers' education course on understanding racism."[2] Flynn later mitigated his comments days later, saying "There is no reason that anyone of any race or religion should be debarred from public office."[3]

On 18 September 2012, Flynn was suspended from the sittings of the House of Commons for five days and docked a month's wages, after he accused Defence Secretary Philip Hammond of lying to Parliament by saying that military operations in Afghanistan were not reduced following attacks on NATO troops operating as trainers.[4][5][6]

Flynn has been Chairman of the Broadcasting Council for Wales, and member of the South Wales Docks Board and the Council of University College, Cardiff.[7]

Flynn was re-elected at the 2015 general election with a slightly reduced majority of 3,510.[8]


Flynn is a fluent speaker of Welsh, having learned the language as an adult, and comments about issues on Welsh-language TV and radio. Flynn was one of the first MPs to use the internet to communicate with constituents, and in 2000 won the New Statesman New Media Award for his website[7] which has been voted the best website of all MPs on many other occasions.[9] He was an early adopter of Hansard CD-ROMs. He has written a book, Dragons Led By Poodles, about the devolution campaign in Wales in the 1990s, in which he was severely critical of some of his fellow MPs.[10]

Flynn has also called for the legalisation of cannabis[11] and is an enthusiast for the sport of British baseball.[citation needed]

Endowment Justice[edit]

Flynn agreed in 2005 to pay out more than £36,000 to settle a libel action brought against him by a complaints handling firm that specialises in endowment mortgages. Flynn's solicitor told the High Court that the MP was retracting allegations he had made against Endowment Justice, a company that works on a contingency fee basis for borrowers who believe they have been mis-sold endowment-linked mortgages. Endowment Justice launched legal proceedings against Flynn after he criticised the growing number of complaints against handling firms.

The company had previously held talks with Flynn over its concerns about bad practices at several complaints-handling firms, but Flynn subsequently named Endowment Justice in accusations he made about the whole sector. Flynn agreed to pay Endowment Justice's legal costs of £35,450, plus £1,000 in damages, which the company has said it will donate to the NSPCC. He also agreed to publish an apology on his website.[12]

Personal life[edit]

He has been twice married, first to Anne Harvey in 1962, with whom he had two children, a son and a daughter; the couple's daughter predeceased her parents. Paul and Anne Flynn divorced in 1984. He married Samantha Morgan Cumpstone the following year.

In 2007, Flynn suffered a mini stroke.[13]


  • Television in Wales by Paul Flynn, 1974
  • Commons Knowledge: How to Be a Backbencher by Paul Flynn, 1997, Seren Books ISBN 1-85411-206-6
  • Baglu 'Mlaen (Cyfres Y Cewri) by Paul Flynn, 1998, Cyhoeddiadau Mei ISBN 0-86074-147-8
  • Dragons Led by Poodles: Inside Story of a New Labour Stitch Up by Paul Flynn, 1999, Politico's Publishing ISBN 1-902301-24-2
  • The Unusual Suspect by Paul Flynn, 2010, Biteback Publishing ISBN 978-1-84954-017-9
  • How to be an MP by Paul Flynn, 2012, Biteback Publishing ISBN 978-1-84954-220-3


  1. ^ a b c Bright, Martin (1 December 2011). "Jewish envoy not loyal to UK, says Labour MP". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  2. ^ Lipman, Jennifer (1 December 2011). "MP who questioned Jewish envoy's loyalty should 'prepare to retire". The Jewish Chronicle. 
  3. ^ Lipman, Jennifer (7 December 2011). "MP sorry for saying Jewish envoy 'disloyal' to UK". The Jewish Chronicle. 
  4. ^ "Paul Flynn MP thrown out of Commons for lie accusation". BBC. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  5. ^ Rosa Prince (18 September 2012). "Paul Flynn is thrown out of Commons for calling Philip Hammond a 'liar'". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Nato curbs Afghan joint patrols over 'insider' attacks". BBC. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "Members Of Parliament in Newport". South Wales Argus. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  8. ^ "Paul Flynn MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2015-06-06. 
  9. ^ "British Computer Society Awards Best MP Websites". British Computer Society. 8 November 2007. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  10. ^ Dragons and Poodles - a story of Welsh politics BBC News Wednesday, 15 September 1999
  11. ^ David Batty, Labour MPs support medicinal cannabis use, The Guardian, 24 May 2006.
  12. ^ David Prosser (9 November 2005). "Labour MP Flynn faces £36,000 legal bill after losing libel action". The Independent (London). Archived from the original on 2005-11-13. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  13. ^ Claire Truscott (21 November 2007). "MP recovering after mini-stroke". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 22 May 2010. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Mark Robinson
Member of Parliament for Newport West