Bayley bails: York MP to quit after 23 years

5 Dec 2014 @ 6.35 am
| Politics
Our man about the House: Hugh Bayley

First elected to be MP for York in 1992, Hugh Bayley has announced that he will step down at the next General Election.

Come election day on May 7, 2015 – 23 years to the day after making his maiden speech in the House Of Commons – he will no longer be the member for York.

Last week Labour’s Mr Bayley completed his two-year term as president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. He will be 63 in January and decided it was the right time to go.

At the 2010 General Election, when he became the first man to win the newly-created York Central seat, Mr Bayley had a majority of 6,451 and a 13.88% share of the vote.

“It has been a tremendous privilege to represent York in Parliament for 22 years, which is much longer than I expected when I was first elected in 1992.

“There is never a good time to stand down. I didn’t want to announce my departure while doing the NATO job because I was pushing NATO to publish its accounts and audit reports, which they have now agreed, but they might have avoided the decision if they’d thought I was about to go.

“But it is now agreed and I think it is time to pass the baton to someone else.

“My family have been tremendously supportive, and very tolerant about me working long hours, often seven days a week, but now I want to put them first.

“It’s too early to start thanking all the many people who have supported me over the years. I haven’t gone yet, and I will still give the job everything I’ve got over the next six months.

“I’ve lots of unfinished business that I still want to do.

“And, of course, I’ll be working closely with Labour’s candidate for York Central to win the election in May.”

– Hugh Bayley, York Central MP

Labour Party tributes

Hugh speaks at Gaza rally outside York Minster, July 2014
Labour Party leader Ed Miliband led the tributes to Hugh Bayley.

“Hugh has been a fantastic Member of Parliament, serving the people of York for over 22 years, and serving as a Government Minister in the newly elected Labour government as Social Security Minister.

“Parliament will miss his integrity and will be the weaker for the loss of his expertise on international development and international relations.

“I wish Hugh and his family all the best for the future and on behalf of the Labour Party I would like thank him for his tireless dedication to social justice.”

– Ed Miliband

Viv Kind, chair of York Labour Party, called Mr Bayley “a conscientious and dedicated MP”.

“He has done an excellent job of balancing his representation of individual residents and the wider York community with his support for Labour locally and nationally. We thank him for his commitment and hard work and wish him and his family well for the future.

“City of York Labour Party will commit its support to a new candidate, and York Central’s Labour MP in May 2015.”

– Viv Kind

Highs and lows


Became a minister Mr Bayley served as a minister at the Department of Social Security from January 1999 to June 2001.

International work In July 2001 Mr Bayley was appointed to the House of Commons International Development Select Committee, being re-appointed after the 2005 and 2010 elections.

He chaired the Africa All Party Parliamentary Group from 2003-2013. Until recently he was NATO Parliamentary Assembly president. The assembly discusses security, political and economic matters.


Iraq war vote In March 2013, Mr Bayley spoke strongly against UK military action in Iraq without a second UN resolution. Eleven days later, he voted in favour of war.

Paul Kind, a member of York Labour Party’s executive, called this a betrayal of trust: “This is not Hugh Bayley standing up for York. It is Hugh Bayley lying down for Tony Blair.”

Mortgage ‘flipping’ In the MPs’ expenses scandal, it was revealed that Mr Bayley first claimed his flat in London was his second home and claimed £1,177 monthly mortgage interest. Later, he claimed York as his second home, “flipping” the mortgage payments.

Voting record

Hugh Bayley has spoken in 48 debates in the last year — above average amongst MPs

He has voted in 48.57% of votes in this Parliament — well below average amongst MPs

Social issues
Voted strongly for equal gay rights
Voted moderately for smoking bans
Voted very strongly for the hunting ban

Foreign policy
Voted very strongly for the Iraq war
Voted strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war
Has never voted on replacing Trident with a new nuclear weapons system

Welfare and benefits
Voted very strongly for raising welfare benefits at least in line with prices
Voted moderately against a reduction in spending on welfare benefits
Voted moderately for spending public money to create guaranteed jobs for young people who have spent a long time unemployed

Voted moderately for a banker’s bonus tax
Voted strongly for an annual tax on the value of expensive homes (popularly known as a mansion tax)
Voted moderately against reducing the rate of corporation tax
Voted strongly against measures to reduce tax avoidance

Voted strongly for introducing foundation hospitals
Voted moderately for smoking bans

Voted very strongly against raising England’s undergraduate tuition fee cap to £9,000 per year
Voted strongly against academy schools
Voted moderately for university tuition fees

Home affairs
Voted moderately for a stricter asylum system
Voted strongly for introducing ID cards

– Source: They Work For You

Hugh Bayley timeline

Jan 9, 1952Born in Maidenhead, Berkshire
1974Graduates in politics from the University of Bristol
1975-82Works for trade union NALGO, negotiating pay and conditions for nurses and other health service staff
1976Graduates in South African Studies from University of York
1980Elected as a councillor to the London borough of Camden
1982Sets up the International Broadcasting Trust in 1982. Makes films about the environment and international development issues for Channel 4 and others
1984Marries Fenella Jeffers. They have a son and daughter
1986-1998Lecturer in social policy at York University
1987-92Researcher in health economics at York University
1987Stands as Labour candidate for York in the General Election. Defeated by 147 votes by the Tory MP Conal Gregory
1992Wins the York seat, defeating Conal Gregory by more than 6,000 votes., makes maiden speech on May 7, 1992
1997Wins second term in Labour's landslide under Tony Blair. Becomes Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Health Frank Dobson
1997-todayServed on the International Development Committee
1998Tony Blair appoints him Minister at the Department of Social Security
2001Re-elected as York MP with a majority of 13,779 over his Tory rival Michael McIntyre. Sacked from the government by Tony Blair
2003-2013Chaired the Africa All Party Parliamentary Group. Became vice-chair in 2013
2010Serves as a temporary Deputy Speaker of the Commons for two weeks