Bill Rammell


William Ernest Rammell (born 10 October 1959) is a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Harlow from 1997 until 2010, and served as a Minister of State in several departments from 2002. From August 2012 to December 2019 he was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire.[1] He was chair of the university consortium MillionPlus from June to December 2019.[2][3] In August 2021 he became president of the University of Kurdistan Hewler in Iraqi Kurdistan.[4][5]

Bill Rammell
Rammell in 2008
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire
In office
August 2012 – December 2019
ChancellorThe Baroness Howells of St Davids
John Bercow
Preceded byLes Ebdon
Succeeded byRebecca Bunting
Minister of State for the Armed Forces
In office
8 June 2009 – 11 May 2010
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byBob Ainsworth
Succeeded byNick Harvey
Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
In office
5 October 2008 – 8 June 2009
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byKim Howells
Succeeded byIvan Lewis
Minister of State for Higher Education
In office
11 May 2005 – 5 October 2008
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Gordon Brown
Preceded byKim Howells
Succeeded byDavid Lammy
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
In office
28 October 2002 – 10 May 2005
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byDenis MacShane
Succeeded byThe Lord Triesman
Member of Parliament
for Harlow
In office
1 May 1997 – 12 April 2010
Preceded byJerry Hayes
Succeeded byRobert Halfon
Personal details
Born (1959-10-10) 10 October 1959 (age 64)
London, England
Political partyLabour
Alma materCardiff University

Political career edit

Rammell joined Tony Blair's government in October 2002 as an assistant whip but was promoted two weeks later to be a spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.[6] Rammell, a pro-European, was supportive of joining the Euro, and until 2002 he was Chair of Labour Movement for Europe.[7] In September 2004, he was the first British government minister to visit North Korea.[8]

In the 2005 general election, Rammell held his seat with the third smallest majority of any Labour MP, at just 97 votes. The result was not declared until two days after voting, following four recounts.[9][10]

In May 2005, Rammell was made Minister of State for Higher Education. He was strongly supportive of top-up fees, arguing in 2005 that without such fees it would be necessary to put "3p or 4p on the standard rate of tax".[11] In September 2007, he withdrew funding from some courses teaching English as a second or foreign language.[12]

In February 2008, Rammell announced plans to create a national database of children's school records and exam results which would make up a publicly owned CV. The CV and "Learner Number" would stay with the child throughout adult life until retirement and only the British government would be able to remove records from their database entry. The plan would only have applied to English children, with education being a devolved matter.[13]

In October 2008, Rammell returned to the Foreign Office as Minister of State, and in June 2009, was moved again to the Ministry of Defence as Minister of State for the Armed Forces. He defended the Brown government's levels of spending on equipment in Afghanistan, following a soldier's death because of a lack of available helicopters.[14]

In September 2009, Rammell confirmed he had told Libya that the Prime Minister did not want to see convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who had been serving a life sentence, die in prison.[15]

In October 2009, following Sir Thomas Legg's audit, Rammell was ordered to repay £2,782 of wrongful expenses claims.[16]

In the 2010 general election, Rammell was defeated in Harlow by Conservative candidate Robert Halfon, who gained the seat with a majority of 4,925 votes.[17]

In August 2012, Rammell was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire. He held the position until 2019.[18] He had previously worked for Plymouth University as Deputy Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for student experience and internationalisation.[18]

References edit

  1. ^ "University of Bedfordshire Vice-Chancellor announces departure | University of Bedfordshire". Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  2. ^ "MillionPlus: Bedfordshire Vice-Chancellor Bill Rammell elected Chair of MillionPlus". Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  3. ^ "MillionPlus: MillionPlus elects new Chair". Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  4. ^ "Appointment of Mr. Bill Rammell as UKH President". Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  5. ^ "Former British minister appointed as new president of university in Erbil". Archived from the original on 12 July 2021. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  6. ^ "Bill Rammell, former MP, Harlow". TheyWorkForYou.
  7. ^ Watt, Nicholas; White, Michael (22 January 2002). "Labour group highlights single currency fears". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  8. ^ "Minister discusses N Korea rights". 11 September 2004. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  9. ^ "BBC NEWS | Election 2005 | Results | Harlow". Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  10. ^ Hill, Amelia (7 May 2005). "Minister holds Harlow after triple recount". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 15 February 2023.
  11. ^ "Rammell's mission to explain fees". BBC News online. 3 October 2005. Retrieved 23 December 2008.
  12. ^ Rammell, Bill (16 January 2007). "Bill Rammell on the need for Esol cuts". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  13. ^ "Anger over pupils database plan". BBC News online. 13 February 2008. Archived from the original on 17 February 2008. Retrieved 14 February 2008.
  14. ^ "Minister defends UK forces' kit". 31 October 2009. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  15. ^ "No bomber release cover-up – PM". BBC News online. 2 September 2009. Retrieved 2 September 2009.
  16. ^ "MPs expenses: what the MPs have been asked to pay back". The Daily Telegraph. 15 October 2009. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  17. ^ "BBC News | Election 2010 | Constituency | Harlow". Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  18. ^ a b "Bill Rammell - | University of Bedfordshire". Archived from the original on 23 August 2019. Retrieved 22 August 2019.

External links edit

  • Ministerial responsibilities – DIUS
  • Guardian Unlimited Politics – Ask Aristotle: Bill Rammell MP
  • Bill Rammell MP
  • BBC Politics page Archived 13 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine

News items edit

  • Visiting Israel in June 2007
  • Getting poor people to university in November 2006
  • Visiting Cuba in March 2005
  • Visiting North Korea in September 2004
  • Talking to BBC Breakfast about Harlow in July 2002
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Harlow
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of State for the Armed Forces
Succeeded by
Academic offices
Preceded by Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire