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William Ernest "Bill" Rammell (born 10 October 1959) is a Britishmarker Labour politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for Harlowmarker since 1997, and is currently the Minister of State for the Armed Forces at the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Personal life

Rammell went to Burnt Mill Comprehensive on First Avenue in Harlow. At the University of Wales, Cardiffmarker he studied for a BA in French and Politics, gaining a degree in 1982. He was president of Cardiff University Students' Unionmarker from 1982-3. He was a management trainee at British Rail from 1983-4. From 1984-7, he was a Regional Officer at the NUS. From 1987-9, he was Head of Youth Services for Basildonmarker Council. He was the General Manager of King's College London Students' Union from 1990-4, and worked as the Business Manager of the University of London Union from 1994-7. He was a member of Harlowmarker District Council from 1985 to 1997.

He married Beryl Jarhall on 1 January 1983. They have a son (born September 1989) and a daughter (born November 1992).

Parliamentary career

Bill Rammell has held the following positions:
  • 2002 - Assistant Government Whip
  • 2002-2005 - Parliamentary under Secretary of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • 2005-2008 - Minister of State for Higher Education
  • 2008-2009 - Minister of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • 2009-present - Minister of State for the Armed Forces

In the 2005 election, he had the 3rd smallest majority of any Labour MP, at just 97 votes. The result was so close that the final declaration had to be delayed 2 days after voting, in order to give exhausted counting officials time to rest.

As Higher Education minister Bill Rammell has been strongly supportive of top-up fees claiming in 2005 that without such fees it would be necessary to put "3p or 4p on the standard rate of tax" . He elsewhere provided a different estimate stating that to replace the income from top-up fees, estimated by the government to be £1.4 billion , would necessitate a requirement "to put up income tax by 3%" . The amount raised by the UK in income tax in 2003-2004 was £120 billion . In September 2007 he withdrew funding from some adult and continuing education in UK universities.

Rammell is a Pro-European, who is supportive of joining the Single European Currency, as verified by his time as Chair of Labour's Britain in Europe Group. He was the first British government minister to visit North Koreamarker, in September 2004.

In February 2008, Bill Rammell announced plans to create a "national" database of children's school records and exam results which will make up a publicly-owned CV. The CV and "Learner Number" will stay with the child throughout adult life until retirement and only the British government will be able to remove records from their database entry. The plan will, however, only apply to English children as education is a devolved matter.

In October 2009 following criticism in Sir Thomas Legg's audit of MPs' expenses, Rammell was ordered to repay £2,782 of wrongful claims.

Talks with Libya

In September, 2009, Mr Rammell confirmed he told Libya that the Prime Minister did not want to see the Lockerbiemarker bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi (who had been serving a life sentence) die in prison, but made it clear that the decision was exclusively one for the Scottish Executive.

Voting Record

How Bill Rammell voted on key issues since 2001:

  • Has never voted on a transparent Parliament.
  • Voted for introducing a smoking ban.
  • Voted for introducing ID cards.
  • Voted for introducing foundation hospitals.
  • Voted for introducing student top-up fees.
  • Voted for Labour's anti-terrorism laws.
  • Voted for the Iraq war.
  • Voted against investigating the Iraq war.
  • Voted for replacing Trident.
  • Voted for the hunting ban.
  • Voted for equal gay rights.


  1. Price of failure more than £10bn, v-cs warn
  2. Devoted to debt
  4. They Work For You

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