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Thomas "Tom" Harris (born 20 February 1964) is a Scottishmarker politician. He is the Labour Member of Parliament for Glasgow South, and former Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department for Transportmarker.

Early life

Tom Harris is Ayrshiremarker-born and was brought up in Beithmarker, Scotlandmarker and was educated at the Garnock Academy in Kilbirniemarker and Napier College, Edinburghmarker where he was awarded an HND in Journalism in 1986. He worked as a trainee newspaper journalist with the East Kilbridemarker News in 1986 before joining the Paisleymarker Daily Express in 1988. He was appointed as a press officer with the Scottish Labour Party in 1990, moving to the same position with Strathclyde Regional Council in 1992. He was briefly the senior media officer with the City of Glasgowmarker Council in 1996 before joining East Ayrshire Council later in the same year as public relations manager. In 1998 he became the chief of public relations at the Strathclyde Passenger Executive, where he remained until his election to parliamentmarker.

Parliamentary career

He joined the Labour Party in 1984. He was active in the Edinburgh South Constituency Labour Party and was elected as the chairman of the Glasgow Cathcart Constituency Labour Party for two years in 1998. During his time at this post, he tried to stop the closure of the ABC Muirend/Toledomarker cinema, but to no avail. He was elected to the House of Commonsmarker at the 2001 General Election for the Glasgowmarker seat of Cathcartmarker following the retirement of the Labour MP John Maxton. He held the seat with a majority of 10,816 and has remained an MP since. He made his maiden speech on 27 June 2001. His seat was abolished following the creation of the Scottish Parliamentmarker at Holyroodmarker and the subsequent reduction of Scottish seats at Westminster. He has represented the new seat of Glasgow South since the 2005 General Election.

He served on the Science and Technology Select Committee for two years from 2001, and was appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Minister of State for Northern Ireland John Spellar in 2003, and has been the PPS to the Secretary of State for Health Patricia Hewitt since 2005.As of 7 September 2006 he replaced Derek Twigg as Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department for Transportmarker. However, in October 2008, Harris announced on his blog that the Prime Minister had telephoned him to inform him that he would be returning to the back benches.

He is a committed trade unionist and was a member of the National Union of Journalists from 1984 until he joined UNISON in 1997. He introduced a bill in 2005 for tougher sentences for E-criminals. Also in 2005 he was involved in an argument over the funding of a housing charity which had called for direct action following the eviction and deportation to Albaniamarker of an Kosovanmarker family seeking asylum from a flat in Drumchapelmarker. He was a keen supporter of John Smith and is reported to be more of a Blairite than a Brownite. He writes a popular blog, which has won a number of awards. In the 2009 Top Political Blog Awards run by Total Politics magazine, it was voted top MP's blog, top Scottish blog and top left-of-centre blog, and was ranked number 8 overall.

Personal life

He has been married to Carolyn Moffat since 1998 and they have three sons, including one from his previous wife whom he divorced in 1996. He is a Christian, and enjoys astronomy and badminton.

External links


  1. Hansard
  2. Tom Harris — The Call
  3. BBC News — Penalty plea for cyber-criminals
  4. BBC News — Exchange over asylum row tactics
  5. And another thing...
  6. The Top 100 Political Blogs
  7. Conscience and Judgement

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