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Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 14:27 GMT 15:27 UK
Paul Marsden

Date of birth

18 March 1968

Education

Helsby High School
Mid-Cheshire College of Further Education (National Diploma in Building Studies 1986)
Teesside Polytechnic 1990
Open University (Professional Certificate in Management, Professional Diploma in Management 1995)
Newcastle College (Diploma in Business Excellence 2000)

Non-political career

Quality manager: Taylor Woodrow Group 1990-94, Natwest Bank 1994-96, Mitel Telecom 1996-7

Electoral history

Member for Shrewsbury and Atcham since 1 May 1997

Political profile

Paul Marsden became the first ever Labour MP for Shrewsbury when he first won the seat in 1997.

He kept a low profile throughout the 1997 Parliament, sitting on the Commons agriculture select committee and supporting the government in the chamber.

He found himself a niche as one of the most enthusiastic tablers of Early Day Motions - subjects including congratulating the Queen Mother and commemorating Jill Dando. He also writes letters to newspapers.

Following his re-election, with an increased majority, in 2001, he returned to Westminster as a fully fledged troublemaker.

He began by questioning the use of private finance in public services and hit his stride with outspoken opposition to the war in Afghanistan.

In a turbulent few months, he publicly argued with chief whip Hilary Armstrong and even accused Labour whips of physically assaulting him.

The spat came to a head when he became the first MP to defect from Labour under Tony Blair's leadership by joining the Liberal Democrats in December 2001.

But just one day into the 2005 general election campaign, Mr Marsden announced that he was leaving the Lib Dems and applying to rejoin the Labour Party.

He said he now felt vindicated over Afghanistan and that Labour was now more tolerant of dissent and willing to listen to its MPs' opinions.

Mr Marsden had already announced that he was standing down at the election but said he made his defection public because he feared many good constituency MPs could lose their seats if voters backed the Lib Dems or the Tories.

Contact

marsdenp@parliament.uk

Constituency office 01743 341422

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