Harry Barnes

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Harold (Harry) Barnes (born 22 July, 1936) is an English politician, and was MP for North East Derbyshire from 1987 to 2005. He is a member of the Labour Party.

Before entering parliament, Barnes was a member of the Independent Labour Party's successor organisation, Independent Labour Publications.[1] As an MP, he joined joined a supporters group entitled 'Friends of the ILP'.

Born in Easington, County Durham, elected to Parliament in the 1987 election, Barnes was on the left on many issues, a member of the Left Labour Socialist Campaign Group who voted against Tony Blair's leadership. Unlike other members of the SCG he was not an advocate of the Troops Out Movement (which advocated withdrawal of British forces from Northern Ireland) but supported the British presence there. He also supported the NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999.[2] Although initially opposed to the invasion of Iraq he later abandoned the anti-war movement and set up Labour Friends of Iraq with Ann Clywd.[3]

Harry Barnes stepped down at the May 2005 general election.

Northern Ireland

Barnes was close to those seeking to promote the unionist leader David Trimble in the Labour Party. In 1996 his parliamentary assistant Gary Kent was one of the organisers of the New Dialogue fringe meeting which provided David Trimble with an entrée to the Labour Party conference.[4]

Trimble knew several of the group's leading figures including Gary Kent, a parliamentary researcher for the Labour MP Harry Barnes who had had a long interest in Northern Ireland affairs. Kent had organised several fringe meetings on Ulster at Labour conferences, to which speakers from the Orange Order, the Ulster Unionist Party and even the parties connected to loyalist paramilitaries had been invited. His aim had been to present the other side of the Northern Ireland story to counter the dominance of the pro-republican/nationalist tendency within Labour. However, until 1996 no Unionist leader had ever spoken at a Labour conference.[5]

Pro-war left links

Barnes is on the advisory board of Democratiya and he is joint President of Labour Friends of Iraq.

Career and Connections


  • Easington Colliery Secondary Modern School
  • Ryhope Grammar School
  • Ruskin College, Oxford (Diploma in economics and political science 1962)
  • Hull University (BA philosophy and political studies 1965).[6]

Non-political career


Links and Publictions


External links


  1. Vote2001: Candidates: Candidate Harry Barnes, BBC News, accessed 30 September 2009
  2. Letter: Battles over Kosovo, HARRY BARNES MP (Lab, North East Derbyshire) House of Commons London SW1 Independent, Thursday, 22 April 1999, accessed 27 September 2009
  3. Harry Barnes quits anti-war movement Normblog, February 24, 2005, accessed 27 September 2009
  4. Himself Alone, by Dean Godson, Harper Perennial, 2004, p263.
  5. Trimble, by Henry McDonald, Bloomsbury, 2000, p174.
  6. Vote2001: Candidates: Candidate Harry Barnes, BBC News, accessed 30 September 2009
  7. Vote2001: Candidates: Candidate Harry Barnes, BBC News, accessed 30 September 2009