John Spellar

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John Spellar is a Labour Party MP. He became MP for Birmingham Northfield at a by-election on 28 October 1982, but was defeated at the general election in June 1983. He was MP for Warley West 1992-97, and has represented Warley since 1997.[1] In the 2015 general election, Spellar was re-elected with a majority of 14,702. [2]

Spellar was born in Bromley in 1947, and was educated at Bromley Parish Primary School, Dulwich College and St. Edmunds Hall, Oxford, where he read Philosophy, Politics, Economics.[3]

Electricians' union officer

Before entering Parliament, Spellar was a national officer for the Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunications and Plumbing Union (EETPU).[4]

Spellar began working for the union in 1969. According to the Independent, he "became famous as the wheeler dealer who organised the union block vote to ensure that annual party conferences voted the way leaders like Jim Callaghan wanted them to".[5]


Spellar and Roger Godsiff were the only two new Labour MPs not invited to the first meeting of the Tribune Group after the 1992 election, possibly as a result of factional struggles with Clare Short in Birmingham.[6]

Spellar served as: Opposition Whip 1992-94; Opposition Spokesperson for: Northern Ireland 1994-95, Defence, Disarmament and Arms Control 1995-97; Ministry of Defence: Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State 1997-99, Minister of State for the Armed Forces 1999-2001; Minister for Transport: Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions 2001-02, Department for Transport 2002-03; Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office 2003-05; Government Whip 2008-10; Opposition Deputy Chief Whip 2010; Shadow Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Office 2010-[1]

While serving as an MP from 1992 onwards, Spellar remained a political officer of the EETPU noting this role in the Commons' Register of Members' Interests. After stepping down as a political officer on becoming a minister in 1997, Spellar retained his office at AEEU headquarters at a subsidized rent until 2002, but did not register this benefit until after a 2002 ruling by the Electoral Commission that it constituted a political donation.[7]

During Ken Jackson's battle with Derek Simpson for control of the AEEU section of Amicus, Spellar advised Jackson on tactics and played a key role in the AEEU United faction despite being a minister. When Simpson subsequently raised this with the Prime Minister, Blair responded: "I don't really know him."[8]

Simpson's defeat of Jackson led directly to the loss of Spellar's union accommodation according to Francis Beckett, who stated: "Simpson argues that Spellar owes his various junior ministerial positions since 1997 to his ability to deliver the Amicus vote at Labour and TUC conferences."[9]

in September 2003, Simpson demanded an investigation of Spellar's involvement in the internal politics of Amicus, citing a letter purportedly from Spellar to Pat McFadden, director of political operations in Downing Street.

Mr Simpson, a left-winger, is also expected to draw Mr Blair's attention to a letter dated 10 July urging union activists to attend a meeting of a new right-wing Amicus faction at Brandhall Labour Club in Oldbury, the address of Mr Spellar's Warley constituency offices. The name of the new right-wing grouping is Members First and the minister is heavily involved in a party faction called Labour First, which has a similar political outlook.[10]

In a 2011 interview with the Australian, Spellar warned against liberalising British counter-terrorism laws.[11]

Spellar was presented a medal marking forty years of service by Len McCluskey of the EEPTU's successor Unite. According to the Independent, the medal was not presented earlier, because McCluskey's predecessor Derek Simpson "could not stand Spellar".[5]

Register of Members' Interests

Sponsorship or financial or material support From the General Election 1997 to October 2002 I was provided with an office at the headquarters of Amicus AEEU for which I paid a less than commercial rent. (Registered 30 April 2003)[12]

Overseas visits 24-28 July 2005, to Washington DC in my capacity as Member of Parliament to meet congressional and business interests, and British diplomats including the UK Defence Attaché, to discuss UK/US defence trade, especially current technology transfer issues, and UK/US defence policy. My travel and accommodation were paid for by the UK Defence Forum. (Registered 13 September 2005)[13]

Remunerated employment, office, profession etc Facilitator of Council and Executive meetings for the Federation of Plastering and Drywall Contractors (FPDC). (£5,001–£10,000)

Overseas visits 25 February-1 March 2007, to Washington DC, to meet Members of Congress and business interests, US officials and British diplomats including the UK Defence Attaché, to discuss UK/US defence trade, especially technology transfer issues, and UK/US defence policy. My travel and accommodation were paid for by the UK Defence Forum. (Registered 16 March 2007)

25-28 January 2008, to Kuwait as part of an all-party fact-finding delegation, as a guest of the Kuwait National Assembly. My flights and accommodation were paid for by the Kuwait National Assembly. (Registered 31 January 2008)[14]

Overseas visits 10-15 February 2008, to Israel and Palestine with Labour Friends of Israel (LFI). Travel and hospitality paid for by LFI. Accommodation paid for by LFI at a rate discounted through the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Some hospitality provided by the Palestinian Legislative Council/Palestinian Authority. Travel within Israel and Palestine provided by LFI. (Registered 29 February 2008)[15]

Overseas visits Name of donor: David Menton Address of donor: private Amount of donation (or estimate of the probable value): airfare and accommodation; estimated value £1,970 Destination of visit: Israel Date of visit: 6-8 February 2011 Purpose of visit: to attend and participate in the 2011 Herzliya Defence and Security Conference (Registered 17 February 2011)[16]

Overseas visits Name of donor: International Institute for Strategic Studies Address of donor: Arundel House, 13–15 Arundel Street, Temple Place, London WC2R 3DX Amount of donation (or estimate of the probable value): £4,143 Destination of visit: Singapore Date of visit: 2–5 June 2011 Purpose of visit: 10th IISS Asia Security Summit (Registered 20 June 2011)

Name of donor: Australia Israel Cultural Exchange Address of donor: Suite 838, St Kilda Road Towers, 1 Queen’s Road, Melbourne, Victoria 3004, Australia Amount of donation (or estimate of the probable value): £1,420 Destination of visit: Israel and the Palestinian territories Date of visit: 7-10 January 2012 Purpose of visit: participation in the Australia Israel UK Leadership Dialogue. (Registered 27 January 2012)

Name of donor: 3) Government of Japan 4) All Party Parliamentary Group on Japan Address of donor: 1) Embassy of Japan, 101-104 Piccadilly, London; Amount of donation (or estimate of the probable value): 1) all internal costs, estimated at £2,500 2) flights to and from Japan, estimated at £2,000 Destination of visit: Japan Date of visit: 17-24 March 2012 Purpose of visit: to promote relations between parliamentarians in Westminster and the Diet, to further cultural associations and to promote trade. (Registered 17 April 2012)[17]


External resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 John Spellar,, accessed 5 November 2012.
  2. John Spellar Express, accessed 19 May 2015
  3. Rt. Hon. John F. Spellar MP,, acccessed 5 November 2011.
  4. Rt. Hon. John F. Spellar MP,, acccessed 5 November 2011.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Andy McSmith, Spellar made to wait for his medal, Independent, 23 February 2012.
  6. Andy McSmith, Faces of Labour: The Inside Story, Verso, 1997, p.240.
  7. Complaint against Mr John Spellar, Select Committee on Standards and Privileges, House of Commons, 10 February 2004.
  8. Kevin Maguire, Snub for minister in election row, The Guardian, 4 October 2002.
  9. Francis Beckett, Is this union leader the victim of a dastardly Blairite plot?, New Statesman, 29 September 2003.
  10. Barrie Clement, KEEP MINISTER OUT OF OUR AFFAIRS, AMICUS LEADER WARNS GOVERNMENT, Independent, 5 September 2003.
  11. Paul Maley, British MP John Spellar warns of soft laws, The Australian, 21 February 2011.
  12. SMITH - SYMS, Register of Members' Interests, 4 December 2003,, accessed 10 November 2012.
  13. SLAUGHTER - SYMS, Register of Members' Interests, 25 July 2006,, accessed 10 November 2011.
  14. Register of Members' Interests, 26 February 2008, www,, accessed 10 November 2012.
  15. SLAUGHTER - SYMS, Register of Members Interests, 25 February 2009,, accessed 9 November 2012.
  16. SPELLAR, John (Warley), The Register of Members' Financial Interests: Part 1. As at 6th July 2011,
  17. SPELLAR, John (Warley), The Register of Members' Financial Interests: Part 1 As at 30 April 2012,
  18. China APPG,', accessed 23 November 2015
  19. Egypt APPG,, accessed 19 November 2015
  20. Space APPG Register Feb 16,, accessed 19 February 2016