Stephen Williams (politician)

Stephen Williams (politician)

Infobox MP
honorific-prefix =
name = Stephen Williams
honorific-suffix =MP

constituency_MP = Bristol West
parliament =
majority = 5,128 (8.9%)
predecessor = Valerie Davey
successor = Incumbent
term_start = 5 May 2005
term_end =
birth_date = Birth date and age|1966|10|11|df=y
birth_place = Mountain Ash, Wales
death_date =
death_place =
nationality = British
spouse =
party = Liberal Democrat
relations =
children =
residence =
alma_mater = University of Bristol
occupation =
profession =
religion =

website =
footnotes =

Stephen Roy Williams (born 11 October 1966) is a British Liberal Democrat politician who was elected Member of Parliament for Bristol West in the 2005 election. He is the first Liberal or Liberal Democrat elected for a Bristol seat since 1935, and the first ever in Bristol West. He is the Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, and a member of the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee.

Early life and education

Williams grew up in the South Wales village of Abercynon in the Cynon Valley. He attended Mountain Ash Comprehensive School and the University of Bristol, graduating in 1985 with a degree in History. During his first two years he lived in Wills Hall, one of the University's halls of residence. Today Williams remains a member of the Wills Hall Association. He qualified as Chartered Tax Adviser and worked for several large firms including PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Grant Thornton.

Political background

Williams was interested in politics from a young age. While at the University of Bristol he was President of the SDP/Liberal society, and an active member of the local party. He has also served on Avon County and Bristol City Councils, elected as Councillor for Cabot ward in 1993 aged 26. He was leader of the Bristol Liberal Democrat group from 1995 to 1997. Williams had been the Liberal Democrat candidate for Bristol South in 1997, before being selected to stand for Bristol West at the 2001 general election. Williams won Bristol West in 2005, making him the first Liberal MP ever for that constituency and the first to be elected in the city of Bristol since 1935. He was also the first openly gay Liberal Democrat MP.cite web |title=Hughes comes out but stays in the race |url=,9061,1696138,00.html?gusrc=rss |first=Michael |last=White |date=2006-01-27 |work=The Guardian |accessdate=2007-06-10]

Parliamentary career

After his election on 5th May 2005, Charles Kennedy appointed Williams as Liberal Democrat public health spokesperson, shadowing Minister for Public Health Caroline Flint. In this role he served on the standing committee which scrutinised the Health Bill. One aspect of this Bill was the introduction of a ban on smoking in public places. Williams strongly supported a ban on smoking in all public places, rather than the alternative proposal to exempt private clubs and pubs which do not serve food from the ban. [] He won an award from Cancer Research UK for his advocacy of a full ban.

In the 2006 Liberal Democrat leadership election Williams was the agent of Chris Huhne. Following the election, newly elected leader Sir Menzies Campbell moved Williams to the Further and Higher Education portfolio, shadowing Labour Minister Bill Rammell. After the reorganisation of government departments by new Prime Minister Gordon Brown in July 2007 Lib Dem Leader Sir Menzies Campbell reshuffled his team and Williams became Lib Dem spokesperson on Schools.

Since his election, Williams has served on two House of Commons select committees - the Education and Skills Select Committee and the Public Accounts Committee. He stepped down as a member of the Public Accounts Committee at the beginning of 2006 following his appointment as Further and Higher Education spokesperson in order more exclusively on his portfolio. He transferred to the new Children, Schools and Families Select Committee in November 2007.

On 29th November 2005, Williams attempted to introduce a Ten Minute Rule bill to the House of Commons to reduce the voting age to 16. The motion was supported by a majority of Labour members and Liberal Democrats, but opposed by the Conservatives. It was defeated by 136-128 votes.

In June 2006, Williams launched a campaign against homophobic bullying, after organising the Education and Skills Select Committee's first ever enquiry into the issue of bullying in schools. His petition read:

"We, the undersigned, call for the following to support and protect the victims of homophobic bullying:"

# "Homophobic taunts and name calling in schools should be challenged immediately by staff."
# "All schools' anti-bullying policies should be required to include measures specifically to deal with homophobic bullying."
# "At least one teacher in every school should undergo training which includes how to tackle homophobic bullying."

Following the election of Nick Clegg as leader, Williams became the spokesperson for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

Election results

Bristol City Council

Williams contested two Bristol City Council elections in Cabot ward before stepping down in 1999. The first, in 1995, saw him elected with 1264 votes (20.61% in a double election), and a majority of just 82 over Labour candidate Paul Garland. That majority increased to 571 in 1998, with Williams polling 1027 votes (53.46%). []

General elections

Williams has contested three general elections - 1997, 2001 and 2005. In 1997, he stood against Labour Minister Dawn Primarolo in Bristol South, coming third with 13.4% of the vote. In 2001, he stood for the first time in Bristol West, polling 28.89% of the vote and coming in second place. In 2005, this increased to 38.3%, winning the seat from Labour.


External links

* [ Interview with Stephen Williams] April 2006 interview with
* [ Stephen Williams MP] official site
* [ Stephen Williams MP] profile at the site of Liberal Democrats
* [ Bristol West Liberal Democrats]
* [,9290,-6585,00.html Guardian Unlimited Politics - Ask Aristotle: Stephen Williams MP]
* [ - Stephen Williams MP]
* [ The Public Whip - Stephen Williams MP] voting record

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