Chris Mullin (politician)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|Member of Parliament
for Sunderland South
11 June 1987 – 6 May 2010
|Preceded by||Gordon Bagier|
|Succeeded by||Bridget Phillipson|
12 December 1947 |
Chelmsford, Essex, England
|Alma mater||University of Hull|
Christopher John Mullin (born 12 December 1947) is a British Labour Party politician and diarist who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sunderland South from 1987 to 2010. He was also the author of the novel A Very British Coup (1982) which was later adapted for television.
In the 1970 general election, Mullin, aged 22, stood unsuccessfully against Liberal Leader Jeremy Thorpe in North Devon. By 1980 he was an executive member of the Labour Co-ordinating Committee. 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 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 portrays the destabilisation 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. It is credited as having inspired the Channel 4 drama Secret State screened in 2012.
His constituency has been the first to declare in every general election since 1992 (1992, 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2010). Mullin jokes about being the UK's sole MP for a few minutes and muses about forming a government.
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 Britain's provision of military support to the Khmer Rouge, and attributing increasing public interest in the issue to the documentary films of John Pilger.
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.
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. His campaigning stance had to change while a minister because of the collective responsibility of government. His vote against the government's proposal for 90-days detention without trial for terrorist suspects, as one of 49 Labour rebels, seemed to indicate a re-emergence of his civil libertarian instincts. He criticised the Labour government's commitment to its expressed policy on Africa.
During the UK Parliamentary expenses scandal Mullin, one of the lowest claimers, provided some comic relief when it was revealed that the television at his second home is a very old black-and-white model with a £45 TV licence.
Mullin published three volumes of widely praised diaries that described the progress of "New Labour" from the death of the party leader John Smith in 1994 to the 2010 general election: A View From the Foothills (2009) (recounting Mullin's ministerial career from 1999–2005), Decline & Fall: Diaries 2005-2010 (2010) and A Walk-On Part: Diaries 1994-1999 (2011). Among others things, Mullin recorded his gradual disillusion with the Labour Party's left-wing and his rather reluctant support, after Smith's death, for fellow North-Eastern MP Tony Blair (whom he dubbed "The Man") as the person most likely to lead the party back to power. Peter Riddell of the Times suggested that A View From the Foothills deserved to become "the central text for understanding the Blair years", while Decline & Fall, in which Mullin (by then a backbencher again) expressed wry consternation at the way the government operated under Blair's successor Gordon Brown, were commended for their independence of outlook, revealing, as Jenni Russell put it in the Sunday Times, Mullin's "readiness to like people who don't echo his politics".
The three volumes were adapted for the stage by Michael Chaplin as A Walk on Part. It premiered at the Live Theatre in Newcastle upon Tyne in May 2011, and moving to the Soho Theatre in London.
- A Very British Coup (1982)
- The Last Man Out of Saigon (1986)
- The Year of the Fire Monkey (1991)
- Error of Judgment: The Truth about the Birmingham Bombings (ISBN 1853713651)
- A View from the Foothills: The Diaries of Chris Mullin (2009) (ISBN 1846682231)
- Decline & Fall: Diaries 2005–2010 (2010)
- A Walk-On Part (2011)
- The Times, 17 June 1970; p. 10 col C
- "Group letter says it wants wider franchise", The Times 21 October 1980
- "Chris will prove tough to follow". Sunderland Echo. 12 May 2008. http://www.sunderlandecho.com/6455/Chris-will-prove-tough-to.4073168.jp. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
- "Channel 4 - Secret State". Channel 4. 15 November 2012. http://www.channel4.com/programmes/secret-state/. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
- "University confers honorary degrees on five inspirational people". University of Hull. 25 January 2011. http://www2.hull.ac.uk/news_and_events-1/news_archive/2011newsarchive/january/hongradswinter2011.aspx. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
- "Sunderland Leads the Way", Daily Record, 6 May 2005
- Chris Mullin (2009). A View From The Foothills: The Diaries of Chris Mullin. ISBN 1-84668-223-1.
- Debates of the House of Commons (HC Deb) 26 October 1990 vol 178 cc640-94 640 et. seq., cf Digital Hansard
- Chris Mullin A view from the Foothills extract from The Mail on Sunday 22 February 2009
- "People > MPs > Labour > Chris Mullin > How they voted". The Guardian. http://politics.guardian.co.uk/person/howtheyvoted/0,,-3777,00.html. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
- "Big-spending Bill – All the local MPs' expenses". Sunderland Echo. 19 June 2009. http://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/Bigspending-Bill--All-the.5382552.jp. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
- Martin Beckford (20 May 2009). "MPs' expenses: Chris Mullin watches a 30-year-old black and white television". The Daily Telegraph. UK. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5351125/MPs-expenses-Chris-Mullin-watches-a-30-year-old-black-and-white-television.html. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
- "Sunderland MP to quit". Sunderland Echo. 10 May 2008. http://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/Sunderland-MP-to-quit.4071118.jp. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
- See, for example, The Oldie Review of Books, October 2011
- Mullin (2011) A Walk-On Part
- Quoted on jacket of paperback edition of A View From the Foothills (2010)
- Quoted on jacket of A Walk-On Part (2011)
- Barr, Gordon (May 12, 2011). "Preview: A Walk-On Part, Live Theatre". Evening Chronicle. http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/entertainment-in-newcastle/theatre/2011/05/12/preview-a-walk-on-part-live-theatre-72703-28680967/.
- Fraine, Laura (13 May 2011). "A Walk On Part". The Stage. http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/32157/a-walk-on-part.
- Mullin (2011) A Walk-On Part, Cast
- Chris Mullin's personal website
- ePolitix: Chris Mullin
- Guardian Unlimited Politics – Ask Aristotle: Chris Mullin MP
- Chris Mullin MP on TheyWorkForYou.com
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Chris Mullin
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Sunderland South
|Editor of Tribune