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Thursday, 17 October, 2002, 14:33 GMT 15:33 UK
Clive Soley

Date of birth

7 May 1939

Political profile

Clive Soley was first elected to the Commons in 1979.

A former probation officer, he served for many years as a shadow minister, most notably on housing and planning.

However, after John Smith gained the leadership in 1992, he retired from the frontbench in order to pursue the more immediate prospects offered by life as a senior backbencher.

He became chair of the Northern Ireland select committee, a subject in which he has long had a strong interest, favouring a united Ireland gained by consent.

In 1997, he was elected to the influential position of chair of the parliamentary Labour party.

He stood down from this role in 2001, after it became likely that he would lose a contested election.

He had previously been known as a figure on the mainstream left of the party.

His involvement in the controversial selection process for Labour's mayoral candidate was particularly criticised.

He has returned to a life on the backbenches, where he has continued loyally to support the leadership.

Contact

Constituency office: 0208 743 2602

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