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Barry Gardiner

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Barry Gardiner
Official portrait, 2020
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Biodiversity, Landscape and Rural Affairs
In office
5 May 2006 – 28 June 2007
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byJim Knight
Succeeded byJonathan Shaw
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Delivery and Efficiency
In office
10 May 2005 – 5 May 2006
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byNigel Griffiths
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
In office
2 April 2004 – 10 May 2005
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byJane Kennedy
Succeeded byJeff Rooker
Member of Parliament
for Brent West
Brent North (1997-2024)
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded byRhodes Boyson
Majority3,793 (9.2%)
Shadow portfolios
Shadow Secretary of State
2016–2020International Trade
2016Energy and Climate Change
Shadow Minister
2016–2020International Climate Change
2015–2016Energy and Climate Change
2013–2015Natural Environment and Fisheries
Personal details
Barry Strachan Gardiner[1]

(1957-03-10) 10 March 1957 (age 67)
Glasgow, Scotland
Political partyLabour
Alma mater
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata

Barry Strachan Gardiner (born 10 March 1957) is a British politician who has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Brent North from 1997 until the seat's abolition in 2024 and Brent West since 2024. He is a member of the Labour Party.

The son of an Olympic footballer, Gardiner was born and educated in Glasgow before being moved to Hertfordshire to be educated at Haileybury and Imperial Service College. After studying at the University of St Andrews, he worked in the Student Christian Movement and considered a career in the Episcopal Church. He then studied philosophy at Harvard University and researched the subject at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He was first elected to public office in Cambridge and became the youngest mayor of the city in 1992. Leaving local government in 1994, he worked in marine arbitration before being elected to Parliament at the 1997 general election.

Gardiner served in Tony Blair's New Labour government from April 2004 to June 2007 as a junior minister in the Northern Ireland Office, Department of Trade and Industry and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs respectively. After holding junior positions on the Official Opposition frontbench under Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn, Gardiner served in Corbyn's Shadow cabinet as Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary from June to July 2016. He subsequently served as Shadow International Trade Secretary and Shadow Minister for International Climate Change until returning to the backbenches in April 2020.

Early life and career[edit]

Barry Gardiner, the son of Olympic footballer John Gardiner,[2] was born in Glasgow, Scotland. His mother trained as a surgeon and was the first woman to win the gold medal for surgery at the University of Glasgow.[3] Before Gardiner was eight, his father had died of lung cancer; his mother moved him to Haileybury; six years later, his mother fell ill with cancer, dying by the time Gardiner was seventeen.[4] He was educated at the independent High School of Glasgow and Haileybury and Imperial Service College in Hertfordshire. He received an undergraduate Master of Arts from the University of St Andrews before serving for two years as full-time Scottish Regional Secretary of the Student Christian Movement. As a young man, he planned to become an Episcopal priest and began identifying politically with democratic and Christian socialism.[5][6]

In 1983, Gardiner was awarded a Kennedy Memorial Trust scholarship to study philosophy at Harvard University[2] under John Rawls, returning to conduct doctoral research at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge for three years from 1984.[2][clarification needed] He was elected as a councillor to Cambridge City Council in 1988 becoming Mayor of Cambridge in 1992, the youngest mayor in the city's 800-year history.[7][8] He left the council in 1994.[7] Before his election to Parliament, he worked as a senior partner in shipping insurance and arbitration.[2]

Parliamentary career[edit]

In government: 1997–2010[edit]

Gardiner contested the Greater London constituency of Brent North at the 1997 general election, defeating the incumbent Conservative MP Rhodes Boyson by 4,019 votes. Following his election, he moved from Cambridge to Hertfordshire. He made his maiden speech on 4 July 1997.[9]

Gardiner served on the Procedure Committee, the Select Committee on Broadcasting, the Public Accounts Committee and the Joint Committee on Consolidation of Bills.[7] He was Chair of the PLP Departmental Committee for Culture, Media and Sport and vice-chair of the PLP Departmental Committee for the Treasury.[7] He was the Chairman of the Labour Friends of India, and has lectured at the Academy of National Economy in Moscow. He is a former vice-chair of Labour Friends of Israel and remains a member.

Gardiner became Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Minister of State at the Home Office Beverley Hughes in 2002. In 2004, he was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office, moving to the same position at the Department of Trade and Industry following the 2005 general election. He moved to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in a May 2006 reshuffle and left the Government in June 2007, to once again serve as a PPS, this time to the Business Secretary.[10]

New Prime Minister Gordon Brown appointed Gardiner as his special representative on forestry in July 2007.[2] He left this role "by mutual consent" on 13 September 2008 after joining other Labour MPs in declaring an MP should stand against Brown, accusing him of "vacillation, loss of international credibility and timorous political manoeuvres that the public cannot understand".[11]

Gardiner's expenses in 2008–2009 were ranked 129 out of 647 MPs whilst his 2007–2008 expenses were ranked 369.[10] He claimed for a second home, despite his constituency being near Westminster.[10] After the 2010 general election, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority published new expenses rules replacing funding for a second home with a London Allowance of £3,760 for MPs with seats within 20 miles of Westminster. Those who kept their seats and already owned a second home had profits "recouped".[12] The Legg Report requested Gardiner repay £174.17 for mortgage interest overpaid in 2005–06 although he voluntarily repaid £15,404.07 by April 2009.[13]

In opposition: 2010–present[edit]

Early opposition career: 2010–2016[edit]

Gardiner giving his speech at the 2016 Labour Party Conference

Gardiner was re-elected at the 2010 general election with a majority of 8,028 votes.[14] Upon his re-election, he was described by Andrew Roth in The Guardian as "One of the best educated and most internationally experienced MPs".[15] He nominated David Miliband in the 2010 Labour Party leadership election.[16]

Between 2011 and 2013, Gardiner served as Ed Miliband's Special Envoy for Environment and Climate Change.[17] In June 2013, Gardiner and Conservative MP Tim Yeo jointly tabled an amendment to the Energy Bill which proposed establishing by 2014 a decarbonisation target for the UK's electricity generating sector, to be achieved by 2030. The amendment was narrowly defeated.[18]

Gardiner was appointed as Shadow Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries in July 2013.[17] In this role, Gardiner criticised the lack of prosecutions of leading players ten months after David Cameron promised that everything possible would be done to deal with crime relating to the horse meat scandal. "The extraordinary thing is that because of its clout, industry has been able to commit what appears to be a criminal offence – selling the public horsemeat falsely labelled as beef – and just say they are sorry and didn't know".[19] He gave his support in 2014 to the first annual Hen Harrier Day demonstrations in Derbyshire to highlight the illegal persecution of UK raptors.[20] In January 2015, he admitted the push by the previous Labour government to encourage car-buyers to opt for diesel vehicles in a bid to protect the environment was "wrong", identifying that a "massive problem for public health" had been created.[21]

Shadow Cabinet: 2016–2020[edit]

When Jeremy Corbyn was elected Leader of the Labour Party in September 2015, Gardiner moved to becoming Shadow Minister for the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Following a string of Shadow Cabinet resignations in June 2016, Gardiner replaced Lisa Nandy as Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.[22] In June, the department was abolished and he became Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade and Shadow Minister for International Climate Change.[23]

Gardiner supported the development of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, rejecting criticism of Chinese involvement in the project despite military and intelligence figures warning ministers that such involvement posed a threat to national security. He urged Theresa May to tell China that Britain wanted strong investment in infrastructure projects and described her decision to halt the deal as "politically stupid" and tantamount to "closing UK Plc down".[24] He criticised May for negotiating a "rip-off deal" over its development.[25]

In October 2017, Gardiner became involved in a complaint by Boeing to the US Department of Commerce. Boeing claimed Bombardier Aerospace was 'dumping' aircraft in the US by selling them below the cost of production, due to large Canadian government subsidies.[26] The US Department had suggested the solution was a 300% tariff on Bombardier CSeries being sold to Delta Air Lines, which would adversely affect prospects for the sale.[27] A major employer in Belfast, a punitive tariff again Bombardier would threaten more than 4,000 manufacturing jobs.[28] Boeing's complaint against Bombardier had made no reference to its own multibillion-dollar tax breaks from Washington state.[29] Gardiner seized on this and accused Boeing of hypocrisy, insisting all aircraft manufacturers require government subsidies; he labelled Boeing "the king of corporate welfare" and a "subsidy junkie", and suggested the company was trying to "crush a competitor".[30] Boeing replied their illegal-subsidies complaint against Bombardier was about selling aircraft below the cost of production and not anti-competitive, saying it merely wanted "fairness" in "following trade rules".[31]

In response to the murder in 2018 of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Gardiner said "We must look very carefully again at the relationship we have with Saudi Arabia. What we would do certainly at the moment, and I think the government should do this, is to suspend all arms sales to the kingdom."[32]

In January 2020, Gardiner received India's Padma Shri award for his work in the field of public affairs.[33][34] He endorsed Rebecca Long-Bailey in the 2020 Labour Party leadership election.[35] Following Keir Starmer's victory in the contest, he was stood down from the Shadow Cabinet in April of that year.[36]

Return to the backbenches: 2020–present[edit]

After following government social distancing guidelines from March to June 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gardiner joined Black Lives Matter protesters in London as they marched outside Parliament. Since the protest had ignored government guidelines, he took a test for COVID-19 but tested negative for the virus.[37][38]

On the backbenches, Gardiner began organising a cross-party effort to bring in legislation banning fire-and-rehire practices by employers. In this role, he helped the Labour whips office to organise the defection of Conservative MP Christian Wakeford to the Labour Party in January 2022.[39]

Links to Chinese Communist Party agent[edit]

In 2017 The Times revealed, from September 2015 to February 2017, Gardiner had received £182,284 in disclosed cash donations from Christine Lee & Co, a firm of solicitors which acts as the chief legal adviser to the Chinese embassy. Before this, his constituency party received cash donations from the firm of £22,500 between 2009 and 2015. The paper also revealed part of this money was used to fund the employment of Daniel Wilkes, son of the firm's founder Christine Lee, in his parliamentary offices. Gardiner said the son was hired via an open recruitment process and was appointed on merit. Sir Alistair Graham, former chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, called the situation "bizarre" and said "there are clearly questions to be answered".[24] After The Times 2017 piece, Gardiner received a further £200,000 from Lee.[40] Gardiner received a total of £425,000 from Lee.[41]

In January 2022 Lee was declared by MI5 to be an agent working for the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party, who was covertly "involved in political interference activities in the UK". Lee's son was employed by Gardiner's constituency office until the MI5 classification was announced.[42][43] The Times said Gardiner generally took a pro-Beijing position in his shadow portfolio dealings, but the donations were disclosed and there was no suggestion of impropriety on Gardiner's part.[44] Gardiner wrote a letter saying the amounts he received were used to fund researchers and Lee had no influence in the appointment or management of these individuals.[42]

Personal life[edit]

Gardiner is married to Caroline Anne (née) Smith and has employed her as an office manager and executive secretary.[45] Following the 2017 general election, employing family members was banned for new MPs, however the restriction was not retroactive.[46] They have four children; one of whom, Jacob Gardiner-Smith, is a footballer.[2][47]

Honours and awards[edit]


  1. ^ "No. 61961". The London Gazette. 19 June 2017. p. 11776.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Barry Gardiner: Meet Barry Gardiner". Archived from the original on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  3. ^ "About". Archived from the original on 9 April 2019. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  4. ^ "About - Barry Gardiner MP". 17 June 2015. Archived from the original on 17 June 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2024.
  5. ^ Schofield, Kevin (29 June 2017). "Barry Gardiner: On taking on the media, his cult status and Labour's future". PoliticsHome. Archived from the original on 8 June 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Socialist labels for Barry Gardiner and Jeremy Corbyn". BBC News. 14 May 2019. Archived from the original on 14 June 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d "Barry Gardiner: Brent North". Parliament.uk. Archived from the original on 26 August 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  8. ^ "Barry Gardiner". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 3 April 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  9. ^ "House of Commons debates ..Health Services (London), 20 June 1997". Archived from the original on 25 January 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  10. ^ a b c "Barry Gardiner:Former Labour MP for Brent North". Theyworkforyou.com. Archived from the original on 1 June 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  11. ^ Kirkup, James; Porter, Andrew (15 September 2008). "Barry Gardiner latest MP to be sacked for plotting against Gordon Brown". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 24 January 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  12. ^ "MPs' expenses: Old rules v new rules". BBC News. 29 March 2010. Archived from the original on 1 April 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  13. ^ Legg, Thomas (2 February 2010). "Review of past ACA payments" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 February 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  14. ^ "Election Data 2010". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 26 July 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  15. ^ "Barry Gardiner: Electoral history and profile". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 12 May 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  16. ^ "Labour Leadership Election 2010 - Information & Candidates - The Labour Party". 9 June 2010. Archived from the original on 9 June 2010. Retrieved 16 July 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  17. ^ a b "Barry Gardiner appointed shadow minister for natural environment". www.edie.net. 4 July 2013. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  18. ^ "Decarbonisation amendment defeated in the Commons". www.planningresource.co.uk. 15 June 2013. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  19. ^ Lawrence, Felicity (22 October 2013). "Where did the 29% horse in your Tesco burger come from?". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  20. ^ "Hen Harrier Day – some 'thank you's". www.markavery.info. 13 August 2014. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  21. ^ "Labour's drive towards diesel cars causing 'massive public health problem,' admits shadow Environment Minister". The Independent. London. 25 January 2015. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  22. ^ "Parliamentary career for Barry Gardiner". UK Parliament. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  23. ^ Raffray, Nathalie (13 December 2019). "General Election 2019: Barry Gardiner holds on to Brent North". Kilburn Times. Archived from the original on 20 February 2020. Retrieved 20 February 2020. Before the election he was shadow minister for international climate change as well as being the international trade chief before the election.
  24. ^ a b Wright, Oliver; McGrath, Hannah (4 February 2017). "China cash link to Labour MP". The Times. Archived from the original on 4 February 2017. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  25. ^ Gardiner, Barry (29 July 2016). "The Conservatives have realised too late that Hinkley Point is a rip-off". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 3 February 2017. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  26. ^ "Petitions For The Imposition Of Antidumping And Countervailing Duties On 100-To 150-Seat Large Civil Aircraft From Canada" (PDF). 27 April 2017. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 September 2017. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  27. ^ Marowits, Ross (6 October 2017). "Bombardier's CSeries hit with another U.S. duty". Archived from the original on 7 October 2017. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  28. ^ Elliott, Larry (28 September 2017). "Theresa May hints at Boeing boycott in Bombardier US tariff row". Guardian. Archived from the original on 27 January 2018. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  29. ^ Hiltzik, Michael. "Boeing got a record tax break from Washington state and cut jobs anyway. Now the state wants to strike back". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 29 September 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  30. ^ Morales, Alex; Lacqua, Francine (11 October 2017). "Boeing a 'Subsidy Junkie,' U.K.'s Labour Says in Bombardier Spat". Bloomberg Politics. Archived from the original on 17 February 2018. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  31. ^ Pugliese, David (11 October 2017). "Boeing is the "king of corporate welfare" or Boeing has never received subsidies – you decide". Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on 10 February 2018. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  32. ^ "Jamal Khashoggi: UK government considers 'next steps' as Saudi Arabia admits dissident journalist died in Istanbul consulate". The Independent. 20 October 2018. Archived from the original on 20 October 2018. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  33. ^ "Padma Awards 2020 Announced". pib.gov.in.
  34. ^ The Hindu Net Desk (26 January 2020). "Full list of 2020 Padma awardees". The Hindu.
  35. ^ Gardiner, Barry (13 January 2020). "Despite my plane back from the Climate Conference being 4 hours late — I have just managed to cast my nomination for @RLong_Bailey & @DawnButlerBrent I will be voting for @AngelaRayner for Deputy but she kindly agreed I should help get our friend over the magic number of 22!pic.twitter.com/ceJkOaVzGJ". @BarryGardiner. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  36. ^ "Labour reshuffle begins with Barry Gardiner out of shadow cabinet". Metro. 5 April 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  37. ^ "Labour MP defends breach of social distancing rules during protest". ITV News. 4 June 2020. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  38. ^ "Labour MP Barry Gardiner criticised for breaking social distancing rules at Black Lives Matter protest". Sky News. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  39. ^ "Christian Wakeford's long walk to defection". BBC News. 19 January 2022. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  40. ^ Wright, Oliver (13 January 2022). "Who is Christine Lee? The Chinese 'agent' who rubbed shoulders with David Cameron and Xi Jinping". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  41. ^ Fisher, Lucy; Mendick, Robert (13 January 2022). "Labour MP Barry Gardiner accepted £425,000 in donations from Chinese spy". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  42. ^ a b Davies, Gareth (13 January 2022). "MI5 warns Chinese 'spy' has been active in Parliament". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  43. ^ "Chinese agent infiltrating Parliament, MI5 warns". BBC News. 13 January 2022.
  44. ^ Hamilton, Fiona; Wright, Oliver; Grylls, George (13 January 2022). "MI5 names Chinese 'agent' with links to Labour MP Barry Gardiner". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  45. ^ House of Commons. "House of Commons - Register of Members' Interests". Publications.parliament.uk. Archived from the original on 22 August 2016. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  46. ^ "MPs banned from employing spouses after election in expenses crackdown". London Evening Standard. 21 April 2017. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  47. ^ "Jacob Gardiner-Smith is back from Russia with much love". The Non-League Football Paper. 21 February 2019. Archived from the original on 19 August 2019. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  48. ^ "Padma Awards 2020 Announced". pib.gov.in.
  49. ^ The Hindu Net Desk (26 January 2020). "Full list of 2020 Padma awardees". The Hindu.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament
for Brent North

Political offices
Preceded by Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
Succeeded byas Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and Net Zero
New office Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade
Succeeded by