Roger Godsiff

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Roger Godsiff
Member of Parliament
for Birmingham Hall Green
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Steve McCabe
Majority 3,799 (7.8%)
Member of Parliament
for Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath
In office
1 May 1997 – 6 May 2010
Preceded by Constituency Established
Succeeded by Constituency Abolished
Member of Parliament
for Birmingham Small Heath
In office
9 April 1992 – 1 May 1997
Preceded by Denis Howell
Succeeded by Constituency Abolished
Personal details
Born (1946-06-28) 28 June 1946 (age 69)
Lewisham, London, England
Nationality English
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Julia Brenda Morris

Roger Duncan Godsiff (born 28 June 1946) is a British Labour politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath from 1992 to 2010, when he became Member of Parliament for Birmingham Hall Green.

Early life[edit]

Roger Godsiff was born in London and educated at the Catford Comprehensive School. He was a bank clerk for five years from 1965, joining the Labour Party in 1966. He was a political officer from 1970 with the trade union Association of Professional, Executive, Clerical and Computer Staff (APEX) and then from 1990 with its successor the GMB Union until his election to Parliament in 1992. During his time as a trade union official he was a leading member of the St Ermins Group, a secret caucus of moderate trade unionists who moved the Labour Party back towards the political centre by organising slates for elections to the party's National Executive Committee.

Political career[edit]

Elected as a councillor in the London Borough of Lewisham in 1971, he became the Mayor of Lewisham in 1977, before quitting the council at the 1990 London Borough elections. He unsuccessfully contested Birmingham Yardley at the 1983 general election where he finished in second place behind the sitting Conservative MP David Gilroy Bevan. He was elected to the House of Commons for Birmingham Small Heath at the 1992 general election following the retirement of Denis Howell. Godsiff held Small Heath with a majority of 13,989 votes and has remained an MP since. His constituency was abolished in 1997 and aided by the retirement of Birmingham Sparkbrook MP Roy Hattersley, Godsiff was elected for the newly combined constituency of Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath at the 1997 general election. At the 2001 general election, six of his seven opponents were Asian Muslims.

The Sparkbrook and Small Heath seat was abolished at the 2010 election, with its constituent parts moving into neighbouring seats. Godsiff was selected for the redrawn Birmingham Hall Green seat in 2008, which includes some of his existing constituency and wards which were formerly in the two Birmingham constituencies of Hall Green and Selly Oak. He was reelected at the May 2010 general election with a majority of 3799.[1]

In Parliament he was a special adviser to the former Minister of Sport Richard Caborn on cricket and is the chairman of the All Party Japan Group. In October 2006, Godsiff was one of 12 Labour MPs to back Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party's call for an inquiry into the Iraq War.[2] He also rebelled against the government in November 2005 on legislation permitting the detention of terrorist suspects for 90 days without trial.[3]

Godliff called for economic migration to the UK to be "stopped" in 2005.[4] In 2014 he was one of seven signatories of an open letter to Ed Miliband calling upon him to commit to restricting the ability of workers from low income EU countries to move to the UK[5]

Controversy[edit]

Andy McSmith's book Faces of Labour (1996), contends that Godsiff obtained selection for his seat in 1992 by dubious means, which although accepted by the Labour Party, were too late to act upon. In 2005, Tribune made similar allegations about his successful bid to stave off deselection, which was only thwarted by the local votes of his former employer, the GMB Union. Godsiff had angered many in his local party by his calls for curbs on immigration.

Godsiff also attracted attention in the 2009 parliamentary expenses scandal, where he was reported as using office expenses for extensive roofing work, rewiring, replacement guttering and even clock repair at a property he owns.[6] He incurred the second highest expenses of all 647 MPs' for 2008/2009 with claims for £189,338. [7]

Further controversy followed when he used images of convicted child sex offender and nursery worker Vanessa George in campaign material for the 2010 election, claiming the Liberal Democrats were seeking for "convicted murderers, rapists and paedophiles to be given the vote", which the Lib Dems denied was their policy. The local campaign was later scrapped.[8]

He refuses to take any part in hustings meetings and has attended less than 50% of parliamentary debates during his time in office.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Godsiff has been married to Julia Brenda Morris since 1977 and they have a son and a daughter.

He is a lifelong supporter of Charlton Athletic F.C. and is chairman of the Charlton Athletic Community Trust which oversees the club's community work.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Birmingham City Council: General Election 2010
  2. ^ "Labour MPs who rebelled on Iraq". BBC News. 31 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-31. 
  3. ^ "Terrorism Bill - Clause 23 - rebels". Public Whip. 9 November 2005. Retrieved 2006-11-01. 
  4. ^ "Labour MP wants immigration end". BBC. 31 Jan 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "Labour MPs urge leadership to curb free movement within EU". Observer. 1 June 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Jamieson, Alastair (31 May 2009). "Roger Godsiff: Claimed for bath mats and property repairs on MPs' expenses". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  7. ^ "Politics". The Guardian (London). 
  8. ^ "Row over paedophile vote leaflet". BBC News. 19 April 2010. 
  9. ^ http://www.epolitix.com/mpwebsites/mppressreleases/mppressreleasedetails/newsarticle/hustings-dr-atkinson///mpsite/roger-godsiff/
  10. ^ "Waggott named new chief executive". Charlton Athletic F.C. 28 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-24. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Denis Howell
Member of Parliament for Birmingham Small Heath
19921997
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath
19972010
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
Steve McCabe
Member of Parliament for Birmingham Hall Green
2010
Incumbent