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James "Jim" Knight (born 6 March 1965) is a British Labour politician, who has been a Member of Parliament since 2001. As of June 2009, Knight holds the post of Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform, as well as being Minister for the South West.

Early life

He went to the independent Eltham Collegemarker in Mottinghammarker, London. He studied Geography, Social & Political Sciencesmarker at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridgemarker from 1984–1987, gaining a BA Hons. He was Manager of Central Studio in Basingstoke from 1988–1990. From 1990–1991, he was Director of West Wiltshire Arts Centre Ltd, then Director of Dentons Directories Ltd in Westburymarker from 1991-2001.

Election history

He first stood for Parliament in the 1997 general election as the Labour candidate for Dorset Southmarker, but lost by 77 votes. He was however elected on the same day to Mendip District Council, on which he served until 2001, including as Labour Group leader.

At the 2001 general election, he was elected the Member of Parliament for Dorset South by 153 votes in the only Labour gain from the Conservatives in that year. In the 2005 general election he increased his majority to 1,812.

Parliamentary career

He was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairsmarker from 2005-6. He then moved to become Minister of State for Schools in the Department for Education and Skills. On 28 June 2007, when Gordon Brown disbanded the department, Knight moved to the newly created Department for Children, Schools and Families, as the Minister for Schools and Learners. In October 2008 following the reshuffle, Knight was sworn of the Privy Council which is necessary considering his post as Minister of State.

In his first Parliamentmarker, Jim Knight generally voted in line with party policy, including all major votes such as those on the Iraq war and top-up fees.

As Schools Minister, he was criticised for lecturing parents about children being obsessed with computer networks such as Facebook while having close to 900 friends on his own profile.[50928]

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