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Peter John Law (1 April 1948 – 25 April 2006) was a Welshmarker politician.

Labour Co-operative AM and Independent MP

For most of his career Law sat as a Labour Councillor and subsequently Labour Co-operative Assembly Member (AM) for Blaenau Gwent. Latterly he sat as an independent Member of Parliament (MP) and AM for the same constituency.

Background

Born in Abergavennymarker, Law ran a General Store and became a councillor in Blaenau Gwent in 1974. He was subsequently appointed chair of Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust.

Political career

He was latterly a close ally of Llew Smith, MP for Blaenau Gwent from 1992, and was selected for the constituency in the first elections to the National Assembly for Wales in 1999, winning the seat easily. He was appointed to the cabinet of Alun Michael as Assembly Secretary for Local Government and Housing, but lost his post in a cabinet reshuffle in 2000 by successor First Minister for Wales Rhodri Morgan.

When Morgan formed a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, Peter Law made no secret of his opposition to the decision and was not retained in the administration. He became a vociferous backbench critic and following the 2003 election stood as candidate for the Deputy Presiding Officer of the Welsh Assembly. However, the Labour AMs voted instead for John Marek who was an Independent AM, thereby ensuring that an opposition member was in the Chair and unable to vote against the Welsh Assembly Government.

Law left the Labour Party in protest at the use of an all-woman shortlist in selecting the candidate for the general election, which was used to replace the retiring Llew Smith. Law believed all-woman shortlists were being selectively imposed on local parties only where a leadership supported male candidate was unlikely to be selected, citing the example of Ed Balls and Pat McFadden as new leadership-supported male candidates, and noting that use of all-woman shortlists had been stopped in Scotlandmarker.

Smith had enjoyed a majority of 19,313, making it the safest parliamentary seat in Walesmarker. Law won the seat with 58.2% of the vote, defeating Labour candidate Maggie Jones, and gaining a majority of 9,121 votes.

Law followed just a handful of previous MPs and AMs in Wales who won the same constituency as both a party candidate and an independent, following S. O. Davies who was MP for Merthyr Tydfilmarker from 1934 until his death in 1972, who was deselected by the local Labour Party on grounds of age prior to the 1970 general election but ran against the official candidate as an independent and won; and John Marek who remained AM for Wrexham, later forming his own party, Forward Wales.

Law died peacefully at home in Nantyglomarker, aged 58, suffering from a recurrent brain tumour first diagnosed during the 2005 election campaign. As a result of his death, there were by-elections in Blaenau Gwent for both the UK Parliament and the Welsh Assembly seats. In the by-elections Law's former agent, Dai Davies, won the election to Law's former Westminster seat, while his widow Trish Law succeeded him in the Welsh Assembly. Both stood under the banner of the Blaenau Gwent People's Voice Group.

His widow has claimed that he was offered a peerage not to stand against Labour in Blaenau Gwent in 2005, an allegation categorically denied by Labour, and also denied by Law himself in an interview from late 2005. The claim had considerable media impact because of the ongoing Cash for Peerages police investigation, although the police announced on 9 May that they would not be investigating it.

References

  1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/4952376.stm


See also

List of United Kingdom MPs with the shortest service

External links



Offices held


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