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Graham Allen MP

Member of Parliament
for Nottingham North
Assumed office 
11 June 1987
Preceded by Richard Ottaway
Majority 12,171 (40.1%)

Born 11 January 1953 (1953-01-11) (age 57)
Nottingham, England, UK
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Allyson Stewart
Alma mater University of Leeds, London Guildhall University
Religion Atheist

Graham William Allen (born 11 January 1953) is a British Labour politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for Nottingham North since 1992.


Early life

Born in 1953 in Nottingham, he was educated at the local Robert Shaw Primary School in Aspley and Forest Fields Grammar School in Forest Fields. He went on to study at the City of London Polytechnic, and the University of Leeds, where he obtained a degree in Politics with Economics and Sociology.

He joined the Labour Party in 1971 when he was working as a warehouse worker. He worked for four years from 1979 as a Research Officer with the Labour Party. In 1982 he was elected as a councillor to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which he served until 1986. He was briefly a local government officer at the Greater London Council, before he worked for the Trade Union movement, firstly with the Trades Union Congress and then with the GMB.

Parliamentary career

Graham Allen was selected to contest the seat of Nottingham North at the 1987 General Election, a seat which had been won by the Conservative Party at the previous election in 1983. Allen managed to defeat the Conservative incumbent Richard Ottaway by just 1,665 votes.[1] His majority has grown since, and at the 2005 general election was 12,171.[2]

After helping to organise Tony Blair's leadership campaign, Allen was given a series of shadow portfolios, including transport and constitution, but in office he never rose higher than government whip. His frontbench career always promised more than he got the chance to deliver and he was returned to the backbenches in the reshuffle following the 2001 general election. It may have been his radicalism which prevented his ministerial career rising further.

He was at the forefront of a successful campaign to recall Parliament to discuss Iraq in September 2002, attempting to organise an unofficial recall if the House would not formally sit.[3]


Constitutional Reform

Allen is one of Labour's most enthusiastic proponents of constitutional reform, and supports proportional representation for Westminster and a fully elected House of Lords. He introduced a bill calling for a written constitution in the UK.

In November 2000, he published a book, The Last Prime Minister: Being Honest About the UK Presidency, claiming that the UK effectively had a presidency. He argued that the Prime Minister (or 'President', as he referred to the office throughout the book) should be directly and separately elected in order for a better separation of powers. This new arrangement, he argued, would be best spelled out "in plain English" in a written constitution.

Allen has also called for the euro to be introduced as a 'dual currency' alongside the pound in the UK.


Allen has held numerous debates and asked many questions on the state of his constituency, which has one of the lowest rates of educational attainment in the country, sending the fewest number of children to university of any constituency, and has high unemployment.

In October 2005, Allen was named the chairman of One City Partnership Nottingham, the Local Strategic Partnership, which was subsequently renamed One Nottingham.[4]


Allen is one of the tallest MPs and is a very keen and able cricketer. He can boast that he has bowled out the legendary Garfield Sobers and was the first Labour MP to score a century for the Lords and Commons, Parliament's cricket team. He was captain of the Lords and Commons team in South Africa 1995 and New Zealand and Australia from 2006 to 2007.

Allen is married to Allyson Stewart, a marketing consultant and co-author of the book, Working With Americans. Allyson Stewart-Allen is a frequent business commentator on CNN's World Report. The Allens have one daughter.

Graham Allen is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association and an honorary associate of the National Secular Society. He is also a fan of cask ale.


External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Richard Ottaway
Member of Parliament for Nottingham North
Political offices
Preceded by
Janet Anderson
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
Succeeded by
Gerry Sutcliffe


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