Chris Williamson (Christopher Williamson), born 16 September 1956, spent almost 20 years working to ensure Derby people have the very best services. He was a councillor in Derby during the last decade, leading the council twice, and was remembered in local politics for embracing the private finance initiative to help deliver council services, as well as the Tory deal.
Christopher Williamson, one of the most outspoken MPs on the left of the party. A former bricklayer and social worker, he was a councillor before entering Parliament. Led Derby Council twice in the 2000s, where he formed a coalition with the Tories. Elected as MP for Derby North in 2010. Lost the seat in 2015 but won it back two years later. Has called on critics of Jeremy Corbyn to be de-selected.
Chris Williamson sometimes differs from their party colleagues. Chris Williamson generally voted for reducing capital gains tax, while most Labour MPs generally voted against. Chris Williamson voted against requiring the mass retention of information about communications, while most Labour MPs generally voted for.
Christopher Williamson Electoral History
- May 2015: Contested for Derby North
- May 2010 – Mar 2015: Member for Derby North
Christopher Williamson Parliamentary Career
- Jul 2017 – Jan 2018: Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Fire and Emergency Services)
- Oct 2010 – Oct 2013: Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government)
Christopher Williamson Select Committee (House)
- Nov 2014 – Feb 2015: Draft Protection of Charities Bill (Joint Committee)
- Nov 2013 – Mar 2015: Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee
- Jul 2010 – Nov 2010: Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee
Christopher Williamson Full Biography and Profile
As Leader of Derby City Council, he introduced free home care services to city residents and was involved in bringing major players to the city including Westfield, Jury’s Inn, Primark and Derby Riverlights. Chris also introduced Derby’s Neighbourhood Agenda, which saw the creation of Neighbourhood Boards and Forums across the city, giving residents a voice in the running of their communities.
Chris Williamson, a seasoned anti-poverty and animal welfare campaigner. He was a key figure as a trustee of the League Against Cruel Sports in the national campaign that eventually saw fox hunting outlawed. And as the Vice Chair of the Local Government Anti Poverty Forum he was part of the successful campaign to introduce the national minimum wage.
At a local level his successful campaigns included battles to protect jobs, retain school transport and expose rogue car clampers.
I was inspired to go into politics because:
People like Martin Luther King showed that you can’t leave it to others to tackle injustice; you have to stand up for what you believe in to make a difference on the ground. When I joined the Labour Party in 1976 it was – and still is – the only political party that not only stands for progressive change, but is also capable of delivering it.
I campaigned in the disastrous 1977 county council elections and the subsequent defeat at the 1979 general election, which made me even more determined to get Labour elected. The callous policies pursued by the Tories in local and national government impoverished working class communities all over Britain. I remember Thatcher dismantling the steel industry then turning on the miners. I can recall raging about how the Tories used the instruments of state against decent working class men and women who she described as the enemy within.
It was the feeling of powerlessness as the Tories wreaked havoc that made me decide to seek elected office to confront them head-on. I was inspired by the efforts of leading figures in local government like David Bookbinder in Derbyshire and Ken Livingstone in London, who led councils and ameliorated the impact of the Tory government by pursuing a progressive agenda at a local level.
My main policy interests are:
Tackling poverty and inequality; urban regeneration; environmental issues and climate change; animal welfare; community empowerment; and local government.
As a former welfare rights officer and a councillor representing a ward where large numbers of my constituents are deprived, I’ve seen at first had how poverty impacts on individuals and communities. Labour has done a lot to take people out of poverty, but we have to do more – particularly as Britain is one of the richest counties on earth. It saps the confidence and aspirations of too many of our fellow citizens who are being denied the opportunity to make the most of their true potential.
Urban regeneration is essential if we are to eliminate poverty from our society. It not only improves the physical environment, it also creates jobs and instils a sense of pride in local people. Improving the physical environment is a tangible illustration that communities are valued.
Potentially catastrophic climate change is the biggest challenge ever faced by humankind. It will impact – and is already impacting – disproportionately on poor people, which is why we must tackle it. By investing in measures to avert climate change, it should be possible to eradicate fuel poverty and create thousands of new jobs in green technologies.
Local government is the bedrock of our democracy and was responsible for some of the most significant social reforms in the early part of the last century. It also acted as bulwark against the worst excesses of the Thatcher regime. It’s an institution that local people understand and is accountable to them. That’s why I believe local government should be given more powers to raise finance to respond to local concerns and more responsibility for other public sector agencies such as PCTs.
At a time when the public finances are under pressure, giving local councils the right to run primary health care and other public services at a local level would provide better value for money, bring about more accountability and ensure services were more responsive to the needs of local communities. Whitehall cannot run everything from the centre and nor should it. I believe we would be able to deliver Labour’s agenda if it was delivered through local councils rather than unelected quangos.
Community empowerment is crucial in complimenting a bigger role for local government, because just as the power of Whitehall needs to be devolved to local councils, so does the power of the town hall bureaucracy, to ensure councillors and frontline staff have the ability to shape the communities in partnership with local people.
It was Mahatma Gandhi who said that the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. That’s why I want to maintain the ban on hunting and see further measures brought in to offer better protection for wildlife and farm animals too.
Moreover, we now know the meat industry is a major contributor to climate change, so this agenda is no longer simply about the welfare of farm animals – it’s about the future of our planet, too. Tighter welfare standards will inevitably lead to less intensive farming practices, which will in turn help the environment.
In Derby City Council, I introduced free home care and saw what an impact it made. The policy I introduced in Derby saved the local NHS millions of pounds, which is another reason why I believe local authorities should have the responsibility for local health budgets – as it would drive innovative improvements that are popular and simultaneously save public money
Poverty, animal welfare, urban regeneration, environment, climate change, local government, community empowerment.
- Christopher Williamson Biography and Profile (Labour List)