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Stephen Rothwell O'Brien (born 1 April 1957, Mtwaramarker, Tanzania) is a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdommarker. He is Member of Parliament (MP) for Eddisbury, and was first elected in a by-election in July 1999, after Alastair Goodlad was made High Commissioner for Australia by Tony Blair and thus had to leave Parliament.

Early life

He was born to David and Roth O'Brien. He was educated at Loretto School in Mombasamarker in Kenyamarker, Handbridgemarker School in Chester, Heronwater School in Abergelemarker (north Wales) and Sedbergh School and at Emmanuel College, Cambridgemarker. At Cambridge, he gained an MA in Law in 1979, then collected an MA from the College of Lawmarker in Chester in 1980. After two years Articles, he qualified as a Solicitor in 1983 and practised until 1988 at solicitors Freshfields (City of London). From 1988-98, he was Group secretary and Director of Strategic and Corporate Affairs at Redland plc. He was the Executive Director of Redland Clay Tile in Mexico from 1994-8.

Parliamentary career

He is currently a Shadow Minister for Health. From May to December 2005, he served as the Shadow Minister for Skills. From November 2003 to 2005, he was Shadow Secretary of State for Industry. Previously, he held the post of Shadow Paymaster General and prior to that Shadow Financial Secretary. Before that, he was appointed an Opposition Whip in September 2001. From September 2000 to September 2001, he was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chairman of the Conservative Party, the Rt Hon Michael Ancram QC MP. From February to September 2000, he was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Rt Hon Francis Maude MP.

Stephen has also served as a member of the House of Commons Select Committee on Education and Employment and on the Education sub-Committee.In addition, he has served as Secretary of the Conservative Northern Ireland Committee and Secretary of the Conservative Trade & Industry Committee.In 2001, he was appointed an Associate of the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body. He is Chairman of the All Party Group on Malaria, also of Tanzania and Vice Chairman of the All Party Aid Trade & Debt Group.

In 2000, he introduced a Private Member's Bill for Honesty in Food Labelling (country of origin and standards of production). From 1999, O'Brien has served on the Conservative Party's National Membership Committee. Between 1995-9, O'Brien was Chairman of the Public and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of BMP (National Council of Building Materials Producers, latterly the Construction Products Association) and sat on BMP's Committee of Management and Strategy sub-committee. He was a trade member of the 1994 mission to Argentina and Brazil with the Rt Hon Sir Richard Needham MP (Minister for Trade). Stephen was elected member of the South East Regional Council of the CBI between 1995-8, sitting on the CBI's International Investment Committee and Working Parties on Anti-Corruption (pan-European) and Corporate Governance (UK).

Personal life

He married Gemma Townshend, a nurse, on August 30 1986 in Bromleymarker, Kentmarker. They have two sons (born July 1988 and August 1990) and a daughter (born January 1993). They live near Tarporleymarker.

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