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Thursday, 17 October, 2002, 09:19 GMT 10:19 UK
Jim Cousins

Date of birth

23 February 1944 Political profile

Jim Cousins is a leading member of an 'awkward squad' of MPs on the mainstream left of the Labour Party who are happy to criticise the government while maintaining essentially loyal.

He rarely votes against the Labour whip but has publicly questioned government policies ranging from private sector provision of public services to the appointment of the 'people's peers'.

A former lecturer and a highly articulate Commons contributor, his own frontbench career stalled in 1995 when Tony Blair sacked him from his foreign affairs portfolio for unauthorised absence (he was visiting Kurdish sites in Iraq).

Mr Cousins has recently reined in his strong interest in international, and particularly Middle Eastern, affairs in favour of campaigning hard for devolution for the North-East and serving on the Treasury select committee.

Contact

Commons office: 0207 219 4204
Constituency office: 0191 281 9888

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