Shaun Woodward: Wikis


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The Right Honourable
 Shaun Woodward 

Assumed office 
28 June 2007
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Peter Hain

Member of Parliament
for St Helens South
Assumed office 
7 June 2001
Preceded by Gerald Bermingham
Majority 9,309 (26.2%)

Member of Parliament
for Witney
In office
1 May 1997 – 7 June 2001
Preceded by Douglas Hurd
Succeeded by David Cameron

Born 26 October 1958 (1958-10-26) (age 51)
Bristol, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Political party Labour (1999–present)
Other political
Conservative (Before 1999)
Alma mater Jesus College, Cambridge
Harvard University
Religion Anglicanism[1]

Shaun Anthony Woodward PC (born 26 October 1958) is a British Labour politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for St Helens South since 2001, and was promoted to the Cabinet on 28 June 2007 as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.


Early life

Woodward was educated at the independent Bristol Grammar School, Jesus College, Cambridge, where he studied English Literature, and Harvard University as a Kennedy Scholar. From 1981–2, he was Parliamentary Lobbyist for the National Consumer Council. From 1982–90, he worked as a researcher and producer for BBC TV News and Current Affairs on the programmes That's Life!, Panorama and Newsnight. He subsequently wrote a book about Ben Hardwick. From 1991–2, he was Director of Communications for the Conservative Party.

Member of Parliament

He was selected as Douglas Hurd's successor as Conservative candidate for the safe seat of Witney at the 1997 election, having previously been a senior official of the party. Elected with a large majority, he was a front-bench spokesman on London for the Conservative opposition under William Hague until 1999, when he was sacked for supporting the repeal of Section 28,[2] a regulation which prevented the "promotion" of homosexuality in schools.


Defection to the Labour Party

Woodward then controversially left the Conservative party to move to the ruling Labour Party. In the June 2001 general election he decided not to contest his Witney seat under the Labour banner as he would have lost and instead found a safe Labour seat in St Helens South. His successor in Witney was David Cameron, who subsequently became leader of the Conservatives. When news of Woodward's intention to stand reached St Helens, a strong left-wing challenge was put forward in an attempt to deny the former Conservative the safe Labour seat. Neil Thompson of the Socialist Alliance and Michael Perry of the Socialist Labour Party both contested the St Helens South seat and received a total of 12% of the vote between them. Woodward won the seat with a much reduced 49% of the vote.[3] As a Labour MP, Woodward served on the Joint Committee on Human Rights, and was a prominent supporter of the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

In May 2005, Woodward was re-elected in St Helens South receiving 54% of the vote and his majority increased. However, the Liberal Democrats candidate, Brian Spencer, saw his party's vote increase from 23% in 2001 to 28%. Michael Perry of the Socialist Labour Party contested the seat again and received just under two percent of the vote.[3]

In government

After the 2005 election he was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office.

In the May 2006 reshuffle, Tony Blair appointed Woodward Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport with responsibilities for the digital handover for TV. On 28 June 2007, in his first cabinet, newly appointed Prime Minister Gordon Brown appointed Woodward as the Northern Ireland Secretary, replacing Peter Hain. Woodward chooses not to receive a Ministerial salary because of his personal wealth. As Northern Ireland Secretary, Woodward reportedly became a close confidant of the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. This was largely due to Woodward's previous first hand experiences of the beleaguered Conservative government of John Major.[4]

Personal life

He married Camilla Davan Sainsbury, daughter of former Conservative MP Tim Sainsbury of the wealthy supermarket Sainsbury family, on 2 May 1987 in Newbury. They have one son (Thomas, born July 1989) and three daughters (Eleanor, born May 1991, Olivia, born October 1993, and Katherine, born September 1996).

He was said in 2001 to be the only Labour MP with a butler[5] .

He added a seventh property to his property portfolio in January 2010 and now has a 1 million pound apartment in an alpine resort, along with a £1.35m London flat, a £7m pad in Hamptons, a £5m villa in Mustique, a house in the south of France, a £2m townhouse and a modest £85,000 home in his Lancashire constituency.[6]


  • Death by Television by Esther Rantzen, Shaun Woodward (Century, 1999) ISBN 0-7126-2543-7
  • Drugwatch: Just Say No! by Sarah Caplin, Shaun Woodward (Corgi, 1986) ISBN 0-552-12820-1
  • Ben: Story of Ben Hardwick by Esther Rantzen, Shaun Woodward (Penguin Character Books, 1985) ISBN 0-563-20331-5
  • "That's Life" Survey on Tranquillisers by Ron Lacey, Shaun Woodward (BBC, 1985) ISBN 0-563-20294-7


External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Douglas Hurd
Member of Parliament for Witney
Succeeded by
David Cameron
Preceded by
Gerald Bermingham
Member of Parliament for St Helens South
Political offices
Preceded by
Peter Hain
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

Simple English

Shaun Anthony Woodward (born October 26, 1958 in Bristol, England) is a British politician and is the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in Ed Miliband's shadow cabinet. He is the Labour Party Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of St Helens South in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.

He was first elected in the 1997 general election as the Conservative Party MP for the constituency of Witney but changed to Labour in 1999. At the 2001 General Election he was made the MP for the St Helens South constituency and was the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 2007 to 2010. When Ed Miliband became Labour leader, Shaun Woodward was made the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.


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