Jim Knight

Jim Knight

Infobox MP

honorific-prefix =
name = Jim Knight
honorific-suffix =MP
imagesize =
constituency_MP = South Dorset
parliament =
majority = 1,812 (3.7%)
predecessor = Ian Bruce
successor = Incumbent
term_start = 7 June 2001
term_end =
birth_date = Birth date and age|1965|03|6|df=yes
birth_place = Sidcup
death_date =
death_place =
nationality = British
spouse = Anna Wheatley
party = Labour
relations =
children =
residence =
alma_mater =
occupation =
profession =
religion =

website =
footnotes =

James Knight known as Jim Knight (born 6 March 1965, Sidcup) is a British politician for the Labour Party who has been a Member of Parliament since 2001. As of June 2007, Knight holds the post of Minister of State for Schools and Learners in the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

Early life

He went to the independent Eltham College in Mottingham, London. He studied Geography, Social & Political Sciences at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge from 1984-7, gaining a BA Hons. He was Manager of [http://www.centralstudio.co.uk Central Studio] in Basingstoke from 1988-90. From 1990-1, he was Director of West Wiltshire Arts Centre Ltd, then Director of Dentons Directories Ltd in Westbury from 1991-2001.

Election history

He first stood for Parliament in the 1997 general election as the Labour candidate for Dorset South, but lost. He was however elected on the same day to Mendip District Council, on which he served until 2001, including as Labour Group leader.

At the 2001 general election, he was elected the member of Parliament for Dorset South in, the only Labour gain from the Conservatives in that year. A high-profile anti-Conservative tactical voting campaign was conducted in Dorset, led by Billy Bragg, and Knight may have gained many votes from Liberal Democrats. It is rumoured, though not proven, that the Liberal Democrats agreed not to campaign there, on the condition that Labour did the same in other constituencies. However it has also been suggested that the campaign by the Liberal Democrats in 1997, suggesting that they were the only party capable of beating the Conservatives in Dorset South, led directly to Knight's defeat by 77 votes. Dorset South was the second most marginal seat in the 2001 elections, being only won by 153 votes. (Only Cheadle was more marginal.)

While he was generally expected to have a difficult election in the 2005 election, he won with a margin of 1,812 votes in an election in which Labour gained no seats and suffered a noticeable decline in the popular vote. This can perhaps in part be attributed to the Conservative candidate, Ed Matts, who achieved national fame after doctoring a photo in his campaign literature from a protest against the deportation of a family of asylum seekers into an anti-immigration photo. Knight also benefited from several high-profile ministerial visits during the election campaign.

Parliamentary career

He was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 2005-6. He then moved to become Minister of State for Schools in the Department for Education and Skills. On 28 June 2007, when Gordon Brown disbanded the department, Knight moved to the newly created Department for Children, Schools and Families, as the minister for Schools and Learners. It was announced he would be appointed to the Privy Council in October 2008.

In his first Parliament, Jim Knight generally voted in line with party policy, including all major votes such as those on the Iraq war and top-up fees.

Personal life

He married Anna Wheatley, who he met whilst at Fitzwilliam, in April 1989 in Basingstoke. They have a son (born October 1990) and daughter (born September 1988).

External links

* [http://www.jimknightmp.com Jim Knight MP] official site
* [http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/aboutus/whoswho/ministersinfo.shtml#knight Jim Knight - Department for Children, Schools and Families]
* [http://politics.guardian.co.uk/person/0,9290,-2955,00.html Guardian Unlimited Politics - Ask Aristotle: Jim Knight MP]
* [http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/jim_knight/south_dorset TheyWorkForYou.com - Jim Knight MP]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/vote_2005/frontpage/4435895.stm BBC Article on Ed Matts] 13 April, 2005
* [http://blip.tv/file/445515/ Opening speech at the Handheld Learning 2007 Conference] 11 October 2007, Central Hall Westminster
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/mpdb/html/198.stm BBC Politics page]

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