Tom Harris

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Twenty-pound-notes.jpg This article is part of the Lobbying Portal, a sunlight project from Spinwatch.
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Tom Harris was the Labour Party member of Parliament (MP) for Glasgow South from 2005 to 2015 and was previously the MP for Glasgow Cathcart from 2001 to 2005.[1]

Harris lost his seat in the 2015 general election to the Scottish National Party's Stewart McDonald by 12,269 votes.[2]

In July 2015, it was announced Harris and wife, Carolyn Harris, had founded a lobbying consultancy, Third Avenue Communications, focusing on offering 'help to those in the eye of a media storm'.[3]


He was born in Beith, Ayrshire in 1964, the son of a lorry driver and an office clerk..

He studied mechanical engineering at Glasgow College (now Glasgow Caledonian University) and journalism at Napier College (now Napier University) in Edinburgh.

He worked as staff writer on Business Scotland magazine before joining the staff of the East Kilbride News (1986-1988) and then the Paisley Daily Express (1988-1990).

In 1990 he became the Labour Party’s first full-time press and publicity officer in Scotland, based at Keir Hardie House in Glasgow. In the following two years Tom worked closely with Donald Dewar as well as with John Smith, Gordon Brown, Robin Cook, Tony Blair and a succession of Shadow Cabinet members.

He became a member of the Science and Technology Select Committee before becoming Parliamentary Private Secretary to John Spellar, Minister of State for Northern Ireland, in July 2003. In this period he was instrumental in making light pollution a statutory nuisance for the first time, and for introducing tougher sentences for computer hacking.

In 2006, Tony Blair appointed him as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport with responsibility for the rail network. Ten months later, when Gordon Brown became Prime Minister, he re-appointed Tom to the Department for Transport (DfT) with an expanded portfolio which included the trunk road network.

Tom is married to Carolyn with whom he has two sons. He has an older son from his first marriage.[4]




  1. Tom Harris,, accessed 24 August 2013.
  2. BBC News Glasgow South, accessed 15 May 2015.
  3. David Singleton Ex-Labour MP Tom Harris sets up PR and lobbying shop with wife Total Politics, 13 July 2015, accessed 15 July 2015.
  5. Rail APPG,, accessed 16 November 2015