Siân James (politician)

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Siân James
Siân James at Canal Parade Amsterdam - EuroPride 2016 - PvdA (28225698514) (cropped).jpg
Sian James at Amsterdam Gay Pride, 2016
Member of Parliament
for Swansea East
In office
5 May 2005 – 30 March 2015
Preceded byDonald Anderson
Succeeded byCarolyn Harris
Majority10,838 (33.2%)
Personal details
Born (1959-06-24) 24 June 1959 (age 60)
Morriston, Glamorgan, Wales
Political partyLabour
Alma materSwansea University

Siân Catherine James (born 24 June 1959) is a Welsh Labour Party politician, who was Member of Parliament (MP) for Swansea East from 2005 to 2015.

Early life[edit]

She spent most of her childhood in the Swansea Valley, where her parents ran a public house. She attended Cefn Saeson Comprehensive School on Afan Valley Road in Cimla, Neath. James married at age 16 and had two children by age 20.[1] Living as a young housewife, James said: "As long as my lace curtains were the cleanest, my children immaculately dressed, their hand-knitted clothes made with love, I was happy."[1][2]

During the 1984 Miners' Strike, James helped feed over 1,000 families a week from nine different centres.[1] After the strike, James decided to take her A-Levels, before attending Swansea University.[1] Jessica Gunning portrays a young Siân James during the time of the miners' strike in the 2014 film Pride.


After raising her children, she attended Swansea University as a mature student, studying for a degree in the Welsh Language. She was heavily involved with the students' union and an enthusiastic member of the women's group.[citation needed]

After graduation, she worked for a series of organisations, with her final role before entering Parliament as Director of Welsh Women's Aid.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

As a young mother, James became involved in the family support networks surrounding the 1984 Miners' Strike, that were working to safeguard South Wales communities and the way of life.[citation needed] After the end of the strike, she became involved in women's rights campaigns.[citation needed]

In 2004 she resigned from the role in Welsh Women's Aid to stand as the Labour Party candidate in Swansea East. She was elected in May 2005 with a majority of 11,249 votes, the first woman to represent Swansea East and one of only eight women MPs from Wales.[citation needed]

After being elected to Parliament, James was Parliamentary Private Secretary to both Gareth Thomas, the Minister of State for Trade, and to Paul Murphy, the Welsh secretary until resigning in March 2009. She cited overwork as the cause of her resignation but it also allowed her to sign the early day motion opposing the part privatisation of the Royal Mail.[3]

On 25 February 2014, James announced her intention to stand down at the 2015 general election.[4] On 26 September 2014, James was one of 25 Labour MPs who broke party discipline to vote against renewed air strikes in Iraq.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Kellaway, Kate (31 August 2014). "When miners and gay activists united: the real story of the film Pride". The Guardian.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Oliver, Jonathan (8 March 2009). "Lord Mandelson feels heat in mail row". The Times. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
  4. ^ "Swansea East MP Sian James to stand down at next election". BBC News. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  5. ^ "MPs who voted against the motion". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2014.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Donald Anderson
Member of Parliament for Swansea East
Succeeded by
Carolyn Harris