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Chris Mullin MP

Member of Parliament
for Sunderland South
Assumed office 
1 May 1987
Preceded by Gordon Bagier
Majority 11,059 (36.0%)

Born 12 December 1947 (1947-12-12) (age 62)
Chelmsford, Essex
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Alma mater University of Hull

Christopher John Mullin (born 12 December 1947) is a British Labour politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for Sunderland South since the 1987 general election.

In the 1970 general election, Mullin, aged 22, stood unsuccessfully against Liberal Leader Jeremy Thorpe in North Devon. [1] By 1980 he was an executive member of the Labour Co-ordinating Committee.[2] As such he was an active supporter of Tony Benn when, in 1981, disregarding an appeal from party leader Michael Foot to abstain from inflaming the party's divisions, Benn stood against the incumbent Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Denis Healey. In addition Mullin edited two collections of Benn's speeches and writings Arguments for Socialism (1979) and Arguments for Democracy (1981).

Before being elected as an MP, he was a journalist working for the Granada current affairs programme World in Action and was pivotal[3] in securing the release of the Birmingham Six, a long-standing miscarriage of justice. He was also editor of the Tribune newspaper (1982-84). His novel A Very British Coup was published in 1982. It describes the destabilisation (and ultimate replacement) of a left wing British government by the forces of the Establishment. The novel was adapted for television by Alan Plater, with substantial alterations to the plot, and screened in 1988.

Mullin was first elected MP in 1987, and has been returned at every subsequent election to 2005. His constituency has been the first to declare in every general election since 1992 (1992, 1997, 2001, and 2005).[4] Mullin jokes about being the UK's sole MP for a few minutes and muses about forming a government.[5]

Chris Mullin first visited Cambodia in 1973, and again in 1980; in 1989 and 1990, he was outspoken on the British Government's record in Cambodia, being a leading voice in some of the first protracted debates on the U.K.'s provision of military support to the Khmer Rouge, and attributing increasing public interest in the issue to the documentary films of John Pilger.[6]

His wife, Ngoc,[7] is of Vietnamese origin and they have two daughters.

He was a member of the Socialist Campaign Group, Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Vietnam and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Cambodia, Member of the Home Affairs Select Committee (1992–97), Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee (1997–99). Despite his criticism of the government, he replaced Alan Meale as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the DETR in July 1999 before taking over from George Foulkes as Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for International Development in 2001.[7]

He returned to government in June 2003, as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, but after the 2005 election again returned to the backbenches. Before the Labour victory of 1997, Mullin had attained a reputation for campaigning on behalf of victims of injustice and opposition to the curtailing of civil rights.[citation needed] His campaigning stance had to change while a minister because of the collective responsibility of government. Recently, however, his vote against the government's proposal for 90-days detention without trial for terrorist suspects – as one of 49 Labour rebels – seems to indicate a re-emergence of his civil libertarian instincts. He has criticised the government's commitment to its expressed policy on Africa.

During the UK Parliamentary expenses scandal Mullin, one of the lowest claimers,[8] provided some comic relief when it was revealed that the television at his second home is an ancient black-and-white model with a £45 TV licence.[9] On 10 May 2008, the Sunderland Echo site reported that Mullin will stand down at the 2010 general election.[10]



  • Arguments for Socialism (1979), Tony Benn, ed Chris Mullin
  • Arguments for Democracy (1981), Tony Benn, ed Chris Mullin
  • A Very British Coup (1982), Chris Mullin
  • Error of Judgment: The Truth About the Birmingham Bombings, Chris Mullin (ISBN 1853713651)
  • A View From The Foothills: The Diaries of Chris Mullin (2009), Chris Mullin (ISBN 1846682231)

External links


  1. ^ The Times, 17 June 1970; pg10 col C
  2. ^ "Group letter says it wants wider franchise", The Times 21 October 1980
  3. ^ "Chris will prove tough to follow". Sunderland Echo. 2008-05-12. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  4. ^ "Sunderland Leads the Way", Daily Record, 6 May 2005
  5. ^ Chris Mullin (2009). A View From The Foothills: The Diaries of Chris Mullin. ISBN ISBN 1846682231. 
  6. ^ Digital Hansard for: Debates of the House of Commons [HC Deb] 26 October 1990 vol 178 cc640-94 640 et. seq., cf.
  7. ^ a b Chris Mullin A view from the Foothills; extract from The Mail on Sunday 22 February 2009
  8. ^ "Big-spending Bill - All the local MPs' expenses". Sunderland Echo. 2009-06-19. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  9. ^ Martin Beckford (2009-05-20). "MPs' expenses: Chris Mullin watches a 30-year-old black and white television". Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  10. ^ "Sunderland MP to quit". Sunderland Echo. 2008-05-10. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Gordon Bagier
Member of Parliament for Sunderland South
Media offices
Preceded by
Richard Clements
Editor of Tribune
Succeeded by
Nigel Williamson


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