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Terry Fields (8 March 1937 – 28 June 2008) was a British politician, trades unionist and former Labour Member of Parliament for the now defunct constituency of Liverpool Broadgreen. He was a member of the Militant Tendency movement.

Early life

Terry Fields was born in Bootlemarker, a working class district north of Liverpoolmarker, the son of a dock worker. Following a period of National Service which he claimed radicalised him, and despite eye problems (which were to lead him to wear his characteristic dark glasses) he became a fireman and later a Fire Brigades Union activist and executive member.

Political career

Fields was active in the 1977-8 Fire Brigades Union national strike and shortly afterwards joined the Militant tendency. He was later selected as the Labour Party candidate for Liverpool Broadgreen for the 1983 General Election. A notable feature of his campaign was his promise that, should he win, he would be "a worker's MP on a worker's wage", a promise he kept, drawing only the equivalent of a fireman's wages and donating the balance of his MP's salary to trades union and political causes. He made his maiden speech on June 24th, 1983. His interventions in Parliament focused on issues unique to Liverpool as well as issues of Central America, unemployment and the coal mining and maritime transportation industries.

On 11 July 1991, Fields was jailed for refusing to pay his £373 poll tax bill. His court sentence lasted 60 days, meaning Fields retained his seat in the House of Commonsmarker, as MPs automatically lose their seat if they are imprisoned for over a year. Fields was criticised by members of the Labour Party, for his militant approach toward the poll tax, and his alleged lack of support for other Labour candidates, notably for Peter Kilfoyle in a by-election for the neighbouring constituency of Liverpool Waltonmarker.

He was expelled from the Labour Party in September 1991 along with other members of the Militant tendency, with the leader of the Labour Party, Neil Kinnock, stating: "Law makers must not be law breakers. I have always made that clear".

In the 1992 general election, he stood as an independent against the official Labour candidate, Jane Kennedy, but lost his seat, winning 14% of the vote.

Later life

Upon losing his seat, Fields ran the Mayflower Pub on Fazakerley Street in Liverpool for a time.Fields died at his family home in Nethertonmarker on Saturday June 28 2008 of lung cancer.

In 2002, at the age of 65, he returned briefly to the limelight – for precipitating himself into a dangerous house fire in order to rescue a woman trapped inside. "I suppose the old instincts just took over," he said. His personal courage was exemplary.

References

  1. Tam Dalyell, "Terry Fields: Labour MP from the Militant Tendency who was jailed for 60 days for refusing to pay the poll tax", The Independent, 2 July 2008. (accessed 2008-07-12)
  2. Rob Sewell, "Terry Fields, Militant MP dies – the workers' MP on a workers' wage", In Defence of Marxism Website, 30 June 2008. (accessed 2008-07-12)
  3. Terry Venton, "Obituary: Terry Fields", Scottish Socialist Website (accessed 2008-07-12)
  4. Mr Terry Fields (Liverpool, Broadgreen), "Orders of the Day: Industry and Privatisation", Hansard, 24 June 1983 (accessed 2008-07-12)
  5. Mr Terry Fields, Hansard Online Index (accessed 2008-07-12)
  6. Paddy Shennon & Ian Hernon, "Farewell to Terry Fields: a man of principle", Liverpool Echo, 30 June 2008. (accessed 2008-07-12)


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