Bill Rammell

Bill Rammell

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William Ernest Rammell (born 10 October 1959) is a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 politician, who was the Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 (MP) for Harlow
Harlow (UK Parliament constituency)
Harlow is a parliamentary constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election.- Boundaries :...

 from 1997
United Kingdom general election, 1997
The United Kingdom general election, 1997 was held on 1 May 1997, more than five years after the previous election on 9 April 1992, to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. The Labour Party ended its 18 years in opposition under the leadership of Tony Blair, and won the general...

 to 2010, and has served as the Minister of State for the Armed Forces
Minister of State for the Armed Forces
The Minister of State for the Armed Forces is a middle-ranking ministerial position, subordinate only to the Secretary of State for Defence, at the Ministry of Defence in Her Majesty's Government....

 at the Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

. He lost his seat as Member of Parliament in the 2010 elections to the Conservative candidate, Robert Halfon
Robert Halfon
Robert Henry Halfon is a British Conservative politician. He is the current Member of Parliament for Harlow, and was first elected at the 2010 general election.-Early life:...


Personal life

Rammell went to Burnt Mill Comprehensive on First Avenue in Harlow. At the University of Wales, Cardiff he studied for a BA
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 in French, gaining a degree in 1982. He was president of Cardiff University Students' Union
Cardiff University Students' Union
Cardiff University Students' Union is the students' union for Cardiff University and the largest in Wales, and, like most other students' unions, aims to promote the interests of its students...

 from 1982-83. He was a management trainee at British Rail
British Rail
British Railways , which from 1965 traded as British Rail, was the operator of most of the rail transport in Great Britain between 1948 and 1997. It was formed from the nationalisation of the "Big Four" British railway companies and lasted until the gradual privatisation of British Rail, in stages...

 from 1983-84. From 1984 to 1987, he was a Regional Officer at the NUS.

From 1987 to 1989 he was Head of Youth Services for Basildon
Basildon is a town located in the Basildon District of the county of Essex, England.It lies east of Central London and south of the county town of Chelmsford...

 Council. He was the General Manager of King's College London Students' Union
King's College London Students' Union
King's College London Students' Union is one of England's oldest students' union. KCLSU is an independent charitable organisation, being a registered Charity with the Charity Commission, and exists solely to further the interests of its members, the approximately 23,500 students who are at King's...

 from 1990-4, and worked as the Business Manager of the University of London Union
University of London Union
The University of London Union is the university-wide students' union for the University of London...

 from 1994 to 1997. He was a member of Harlow
Harlow is a new town and local government district in Essex, England. It is located in the west of the county and on the border with Hertfordshire, on the Stort Valley, The town is near the M11 motorway and forms part of the London commuter belt.The district has a current population of 78,889...

 District Council from 1985 to 1997.


He married Beryl Jarhall on 1 January 1983. They have a son (born September 1989) and a daughter (born November 1992).


Bill Rammell has held the following positions:
  • 2002 - Assistant Government Whip
  • 2002-2005 - Parliamentary under Secretary of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • 2005-2008 - Minister of State for Higher Education
  • 2008-2009 - Minister of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • 2009-2010 - Minister of State for the Armed Forces

In the 2005 election, he had the 3rd smallest majority of any Labour MP, at just 97 votes. The result was so close that the final declaration had to be delayed 2 days after voting, in order to give exhausted counting officials time to rest.

As Higher Education minister Bill Rammell was strongly supportive of top-up fees
Top-up fees
Tuition fees were first introduced across the entire United Kingdom in September 1998 as a means of funding tuition to undergraduate and postgraduate certificate students at universities, with students being required to pay up to £1,000 a year for tuition...

 claiming in 2005 that without such fees it would be necessary to put "3p or 4p on the standard rate of tax". He elsewhere provided a different estimate stating that to replace the income from top-up fees, estimated by the government to be £1.4 billion., would necessitate a requirement "to put up income tax by 3%" The amount raised by the UK in income tax
Income tax
An income tax is a tax levied on the income of individuals or businesses . Various income tax systems exist, with varying degrees of tax incidence. Income taxation can be progressive, proportional, or regressive. When the tax is levied on the income of companies, it is often called a corporate...

 in 2003-2004 was £120 billion. In September 2007 he withdrew funding from some adult and continuing education in UK universities.

Rammell is a Pro-European, who is supportive of joining the Single European Currency, as verified by his time as Chair of Labour's Britain in Europe Group. He was the first British government minister to visit North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

, in September 2004.

In February 2008, Bill Rammell announced plans to create a "national" database of children's school records and exam results which will make up a publicly-owned CV. The CV and "Learner Number" will stay with the child throughout adult life until retirement and only the British government will be able to remove records from their database entry. The plan will, however, only apply to English children as education is a devolved matter.

In October 2009 following criticism in Sir Thomas Legg's audit of MPs' expenses, Rammell was ordered to repay £2,782 of wrongful claims.

Rammell now works for the University of Plymouth as Deputy Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for the student experience, and internationalisation.

Talks with Libya

In September, 2009, Rammell confirmed he had told Libya that the Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 did not want to see the Lockerbie
Lockerbie is a town in the Dumfries and Galloway region of south-western Scotland. It lies approximately from Glasgow, and from the English border. It had a population of 4,009 at the 2001 census...

 bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (who had been serving a life sentence) die in prison, but made it clear that the decision was exclusively one for the Scottish Executive
Scottish Executive
The Scottish Government is the executive arm of the devolved government of Scotland. It was established in 1999 as the Scottish Executive, from the extant Scottish Office, and the term Scottish Executive remains its legal name under the Scotland Act 1998...


Voting record

How Bill Rammell voted on key issues since 2001:
  • Has never voted on a transparent Parliament.
  • Voted for introducing a smoking ban.
  • Voted for introducing ID cards.
  • Voted for introducing foundation hospitals.
  • Voted for introducing student top-up fees.
  • Voted for Labour's anti-terrorism laws.
  • Voted for the Iraq war.
  • Voted against investigating the Iraq war.
  • Voted for replacing Trident.
  • Voted for the hunting ban.
  • Voted for equal gay rights.

External links

News items

Offices held