|Member of the European Parliament
for West Midlands
1 July 2014
|Preceded by||Michael Cashman|
|Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Creative Industries|
9 June 2009 – 11 May 2010
|Prime Minister||Gordon Brown|
|Preceded by||Barbara Follett
(as Minister for Culture, Tourism and Creative Industries)
|Succeeded by||Ed Vaizey
(as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries)
|Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Further Education|
5 October 2008 – 9 June 2009
|Prime Minister||Gordon Brown|
|Preceded by||David Lammy|
|Succeeded by||Kevin Brennan(as Minister of State)|
|Member of Parliament
for Birmingham Erdington
8 June 2001 – 12 April 2010
|Preceded by||Robin Corbett|
|Succeeded by||Jack Dromey|
|Born||Siôn Llewelyn Simon
23 December 1968
Doncaster, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
|Alma mater||Magdalen College, Oxford|
Siôn Llewelyn Simon (born 23 December 1968) is a British Labour Party politician who is a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the West Midlands. He previously served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Birmingham Erdington from the 2001 General Election to the 2010 General Election. Simon was the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Further Education and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Creative Industries. In 2010, he stood down from Parliament to campaign for direct election of the Mayor of Birmingham, with the intent of running in the first election. Having failed in that effort, Simon ran in the 2014 EU elections and is now running again as the Labour candidate for West Midlands Metro Mayor in 2017. He began his political career as an "arch-Blairite" but has recently declared his support for Jeremy Corbyn.
He was born in Doncaster to Welsh-speaking parents but raised in Birmingham, where he lived in Great Barr, Handsworth and Handsworth Wood. Simon's parents were both teachers in Birmingham. Simon attended Handsworth Grammar School where he joined the Labour Party aged 16. Simon enrolled at Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1987 where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He was elected President of the college Junior Common Room in his second year.
After university, Simon was a research assistant for George Robertson MP for three years. After he spent a two-year stint working for Diageo in their Guinness management team, then a FTSE top 20 company. Simon then freelanced on speechwriting, policy and advice, clients included Tony Blair while in Opposition, Microsoft UK, the International Duty Free Confederation and various other charities and communication companies. He then became a journalist, working for The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Express and the News of the World. He was also an associate editor at The Spectator. His columns varied from restaurant reviews to politics.
UK Parliamentary career
In the 2001 General Election he stood for and held the seat of Birmingham Erdington with a majority of 9,962. He retained the seat at the 2005 General Election with a slightly reduced majority of 9,575.
Shortly after Gordon Brown became Prime Minister in July 2007, Simon became Vice-Chair of the Labour Party, with special responsibility to draft the "Law and Order" manifesto for the upcoming 2010 General Election.
Following the October 2008 reshuffle, Simon was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Further Education in the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. In June 2009 Innovation, Universities and Skills was merged into the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Simon moved to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to become Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Creative Industries.
On 3 February 2010, he announced he would not stand for re-election to Parliament. After leaving Parliament he would instead work for direct election of the Mayor of Birmingham, and would stand for Mayor in the first election. Simon asserted that a directly elected Mayor is a great advantage to a city. A referendum vote on direct election was held on 3 May 2012, but was defeated.
Post UK Parliamentary career
In May 2010, Simon founded the non-commercial campaigning website Labour Uncut which quickly became an online source of Labour Party discussion and intelligence.
In the summer of 2011 Simon wrote the cover story for Newsweek about the August riot disturbances. In the same period he also wrote a pro-HS2 article for the Labour pressure group Progress on the benefits it would bring to the City of Birmingham.
In August 2013 Simon was elected top of the men's candidate list and placed second on the Labour Party West Midlands list for the 2014 elections to European Parliament. He achieved 63% of the result on a turnout of 48.5%, the highest of all the regional Labour Party elections in the country.
On 5 September 2006 he and Chris Bryant co-ordinated a letter which was signed by 17 Labour backbenchers calling for Tony Blair to resign. The MPs failed to force Blair out of office, but Blair publicly pledged to stand down within 12 months.
On 12 October 2006 Simon created a YouTube spoof of David Cameron's video blog, in which, pretending to be Cameron, he offered viewers one of his children and the opportunity to sleep with his wife. This led to expressions of disgust from both parties with the stunt being called "tasteless". In an interview on Sky News that same day, Simon described Cameron's attempts to reach out to the youth culture as "shallow" and "pathetic" and told his interviewer to "be quiet". The video was removed on 13 October by his friend Tom Watson MP, who he described as a "proppa blogga".
At the time of the Labour Party Conference in September 2007, Simon wrote an article for the New Statesman in which he wrongly predicted that "Shortly there will be an election, in which Labour will increase its majority".
In 2009 it was revealed that Simon paid more than £40,000 in taxpayer-funded expenses to his sister. . Mr Simon claimed that he had inadvertently broken the rules and agreed to repay £21,000. He apologised "unreservedly".
Simon suffers from the rare genetic disorder choroideremia, a condition that leads to progressive deterioration in eyesight and in its later stage, blindness. He co-founded, and works as a trustee for, the Choroideremia Research Foundation. Simon lives in Birmingham is a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and a season ticket holder at West Bromwich Albion F.C.
- "Birmingham MP to quit Commons in bid to be first mayor". BBC News Online. 3 February 2010.
- "Have I Got News for You (1990) Season 20 Episode 4". 1channel.ch. 2000-11-10. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
- "Minister who infuriated Muslims is put in charge of immigration policy". Dailymail.co.uk. 2008-10-04. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
- ''Newsweek' article by Simon"
- Simon, Siôn (2011-08-10). "High speed future". Progressonline.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
- "Contributors". Whatnextforlabour.com. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
- "Minister joins Blair exit demands". BBC News. 5 September 2006. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
- "Sion Simon's original "I'm a twat, twat, twat, twat" video". YouTube.com. 2006-10-13. Retrieved 2017-01-16.
- "MP's YouTube Cameron spoof". BBC News. 12 October 2006. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
- "Tories shrug off Cameron send-up". BBC News. 12 October 2006. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
- "Sion Simon: from Leftie Lickspittle to utter Berk". YouTube.com. 2006-10-12. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
- "Labour MPs 'sorry' for Tory spoof". BBC News. 13 October 2006. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
- Rampen, Julia (2007-09-25). "We cannot be killed". Newstatesman.com. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
- "Sion Simon: Minister in secret £40,000 payment to sister". The Telegraph. 2009-12-18. Retrieved 2017-04-23.
- "Minister Sion Simon to repay second home expenses". BBC. 2009-12-17. Retrieved 2017-04-23.
- "Sion Simon". BBC News. 21 October 2002. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
- Simon profile at Choroideremia Research Foundation website Archived 4 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Biography". Sion-simon.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
- Guardian Unlimited Politics – Ask Aristotle: Sion Simon MP
- BBC Interview with Sion Simon MP, Minister for Further Education
- TheyWorkForYou.com – Sion Simon MP
- Siôn Simon: championing an elected Mayor for Birmingham – campaign website
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Birmingham Erdington
|Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Further Education
Kevin Brennan (as Minister of State)