Sylvia Heal

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Sylvia Heal
First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means
In office
23 October 2000 – 12 April 2010
Preceded byMichael Martin
Succeeded byNigel Evans
Member of Parliament
for Halesowen and Rowley Regis
In office
2 May 1997 – 12 April 2010
Preceded byConstituency Created
Succeeded byJames Morris
Member of Parliament
for Mid Staffordshire
In office
23 March 1990 – 16 March 1992
Preceded byJohn Heddle
Succeeded byMichael Fabricant
Personal details
Sylvia Lloyd Fox

(1942-07-20) 20 July 1942 (age 77)
Shotton, Flintshire, Wales, UK
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Keith Heal
RelationsAnn Keen, Alan Keen
Alma materSwansea University

Sylvia Lloyd Heal (born 20 July 1942) is a British Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Halesowen and Rowley Regis from 1997 to 2010, having previously been the MP for Mid Staffordshire from 1990 to 1992. She served as the First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means and a Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons.

Early life[edit]

Born as Sylvia Lloyd Fox in Hawarden, north-east Wales, the daughter of Shotton steelworker John Lloyd-Fox and Ruby Hughes, she was educated at the Elfed Secondary Modern School (now Elfed High School) on Mill Lane in Buckley, the Coleg Harlech, and at Swansea University, where she was awarded a BSc in Economics in 1968.

She worked as a medical records clerk at the Chester Royal Infirmary for six years from 1957. In 1968 she was appointed as a social worker with the Department of Employment for two years. For ten years from 1980 she worked as a social worker within a drug rehabilitation centre. During her parliamentary interregnum she worked as a young carers officer with the National Carers Association from 1992–7.

Parliamentary career[edit]

She was a member of the Young Socialists National Council for four years from 1960, and was appointed as a Justice of the Peace in 1973. She was first elected to the House of Commons at the Mid Staffordshire by-election on 22 March 1990, which followed the suicide of the sitting Conservative MP John Heddle. She won the seat with a majority of 9,449 on a massive 21% swing from Conservative to Labour in a contest that was fought largely on the single issue of the Poll Tax. She lost the Mid Staffordshire seat two years later at the 1992 general election when she was ousted by the Conservative Michael Fabricant by a majority of 6,236. She was re-elected to Parliament at the 1997 general election for the new West Midlands seat of Halesowen and Rowley Regis with a majority of 10,337 and remained the MP in the 2001 and 2005 general elections.

In her first spell in Parliament she served for two years as a member of the education select committee. She was also promoted to the front bench by Neil Kinnock in 1991 as a spokeswoman for health and women. Following her re-election in 1997 she was appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Defence George Robertson and from 1999 his successor Geoff Hoon. She was appointed as a Deputy Speaker of the House in 2000, in which capacity she remained until her retirement from politics.

Sylvia Heal announced on 9 March 2010 that she would be stepping down at the 2010 general election,[1] and was succeeded by Conservative James Morris as MP.

Personal life[edit]

Heal is the sister of Ann Keen, who was a Labour MP from 1997 to 2010, and sister-in-law to Alan Keen, who was a Labour MP from 1992 until his death in 2011.[2] She lives in Egham, Surrey, and she takes a keen interest in South Africa and enjoys gardening.


  • Couldn't Care More: Study of Young Carers and their Needs by Jenny Frank, foreword by Sylvia Heal, 1995, The Children's Society ISBN 0-907324-96-7


  1. ^ "Deputy speaker Sylvia Heal to stand down as MP". BBC News. 9 March 2010. Retrieved 10 March 2010.
  2. ^ Watt, Holly (15 May 2009). "Ann and Alan Keen buy flat 10 miles from home: MPs' expenses". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 24 May 2010.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Heddle
Member of Parliament for Mid Staffordshire
Succeeded by
Michael Fabricant
New constituency Member of Parliament for Halesowen and Rowley Regis
Succeeded by
James Morris
Preceded by
Michael Martin
First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means
Succeeded by
Nigel Evans