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Barry Strachan Gardiner (born 10 March 1957) is a British Labour Party politician serving as Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade since 2016, and has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Brent North since 1997.

Barry Gardiner
Official portrait of Barry Gardiner crop 2.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade
Assumed office
20 July 2016
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
ShadowingLiam Fox
Liz Truss
Preceded byOffice established
Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
In office
27 June 2016 – 8 October 2016
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
ShadowingAmber Rudd
Greg Clark
Preceded byLisa Nandy
Succeeded byClive Lewis (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
In office
5 June 2009 – 11 May 2010
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Sec. of StatePeter Mandelson
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byJo Swinson
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Biodiversity, Landscape and Rural Affairs
In office
5 May 2006 – 28 June 2007
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Sec. of StateDavid Miliband
Preceded byJim Knight
Succeeded byJonathan Shaw
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Delivery, Efficiency and Competitiveness
In office
10 May 2005 – 5 May 2006
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Sec. of StateAlan Johnson
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
In office
2 April 2004 – 10 May 2005
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Sec. of StatePaul Murphy
Preceded byJane Kennedy
Succeeded byJeff Rooker
Member of Parliament
for Brent North
In office
2 May 1997 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byRhodes Boyson
Succeeded byElection in progress
Majority17,061 (30.2%)
Personal details
Barry Strachan Gardiner[1]

(1957-03-10) 10 March 1957 (age 62)
Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Caroline Anne Smith
Alma materUniversity of St Andrews
Harvard University
Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
WebsiteOfficial website

Gardiner served under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as a junior minister in the Northern Ireland Office, the Department for Productivity, Energy and Industry, the Department of Trade and Industry and finally in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.[2]

Early life, education, and early careerEdit

Barry Gardiner, the son of Olympic footballer John Gardiner,[3] was born in Glasgow, Scotland. His mother trained as a surgeon and was the first woman to win the gold medal for surgery at Glasgow University.[4] He was educated at the High School of Glasgow, Haileybury and Imperial Service College and the University of St Andrews where he received an MA. He then served for two years as full-time Scottish Regional Secretary of the Student Christian Movement. As a young man, he planned to become an Episcopal priest and began identifying politically with democratic and christian socialism, identities he still holds to this day.[5][6]

In 1983, he was awarded a Kennedy Memorial Trust scholarship to study Philosophy at Harvard University[3] under John Rawls, returning to research at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge for three years from 1984. He also worked as a senior partner in shipping insurance and arbitration before his election to parliament.[3]

He was elected as a councillor to Cambridge City Council in 1988 becoming the mayor of the city in 1992,[7] the youngest mayor in the city's 800-year history.[8] He left the council in 1994.[7]

Parliamentary careerEdit


Gardiner contested the London constituency of Brent North at the 1997 general election defeating the incumbent Conservative MP Rhodes Boyson by 4,019 votes. Following his election as MP for Brent North, Gardiner moved from Cambridge to Hertfordshire. He made his maiden speech on 4 July 1997.[9]

Committee workEdit

In the House of Commons he served on four select committees, the Procedure Committee and the Select Committee on Broadcasting, the Public Accounts Committee and the Joint Committee on Consolidation of Bills.[7] He was Chair of the PLP Departmental Committee for Culture, Media and Sport and Vice-chair of the PLP Departmental Committee for the Treasury.[7] He was the Chairman of the Labour Friends of India, and has lectured at the Academy of National Economy in Moscow. He is a former Vice-chair of Labour Friends of Israel.

Government and ministerial appointmentsEdit

He became the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of State at the Home Office, Beverley Hughes, in 2002. In 2004 he was appointed the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office, moving to the same position at the Department of Trade and Industry following the 2005 General Election. He moved to DEFRA at the May 2006 reshuffle and left the Government in June 2007.

The new Prime Minister Gordon Brown appointed him as his special representative on forestry in July 2007.[3] He left this role "by mutual consent" on 13 September 2008 after joining other Labour MPs in declaring that an MP should stand against Gordon Brown. He accused Brown of "vacillation, loss of international credibility and timorous political manoeuvres that the public cannot understand".[10]

Gardiner was described by Andrew Roth in The Guardian as "One of the best educated and most internationally experienced MPs".[11]


Gardiner's expenses in 2008–2009 were ranked 129 out of 647 MPs whilst his 2007–2008 expenses were ranked 369.[2] Gardiner claimed for a second home[2] despite his constituency being near Westminster and his wife working for him as an Office Manager/Executive Secretary.[12] New expenses rules published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority coming into force after the 2010 General Election allow employment of one relative but replace funding for a second home with a London Allowance of £3,760 for MPs with seats within 20 miles of Westminster.[13] Those who keep their seats and already own a second home will have profits "recouped".[13]

The Legg Report requested that Gardiner repay £174.17 for mortgage interest overpaid in 2005–06 though he voluntarily repaid £15,404.07 by April 2009.[14]

Post-election 2010Edit

Gardiner giving his speech at the 2016 Labour Party Conference

He nominated David Miliband in the 2010 Labour leadership election, but did not nominate anyone in the 2015 or 2016 contests.

In opposition he has served as a shadow minister and shadow cabinet minister in a number of positions. As shadow Environment minister, Gardiner criticised the lack of prosecutions of leading players ten months after David Cameron promised that everything possible would be done to deal with crime relating to the horse meat scandal. "The extraordinary thing is that because of its clout, industry has been able to commit what appears to be a criminal offence – selling the public horsemeat falsely labelled as beef – and just say they are sorry and didn't know".[15]

Environmental concernsEdit

Gardiner was appointed as Shadow Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries in July 2013. He had previously held the role of Minister for Biodiversity in the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs in 2006 and 2007, and had served as Ed Miliband's Special Envoy for Environment and Climate Change between 2011 and 2013.[16]

In June 2013, Conservative MP Tim Yeo and Gardiner jointly tabled an amendment to the UK Energy Bill which proposed establishing by 2014 a decarbonisation target for the UK’s electricity generating sector, to be achieved by 2030. The amendment was narrowly defeated.[17]

In 2014, Gardiner gave his support to the first annual Hen Harrier Day demonstrations in Derbyshire to highlight the illegal persecution of UK raptors.[18]

In January 2015, Gardiner admitted that the push by the previous Labour government to encourage car-buyers to opt for diesel vehicles in a bid to save the planet was “wrong”, identifying that a “massive problem for public health” had been created.[19]


In February 2017, The Times revealed that since September 2015, Gardiner had received £182,284 in disclosed cash donations from Christine Lee & Co, which acts as the chief legal adviser to the Chinese embassy. Before this, his constituency party received cash donations from Christine Lee & Co of £22,500 between 2009 and 2015. The paper also revealed that part of this money was used to fund the employment of Daniel Wilkes (son of the firm's founder) in his parliamentary offices. Alistair Graham, former chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, called the situation "bizarre" and said "there are clearly questions to be answered".[20]

Gardiner has been a supporter of China in his shadow portfolios, in particular surrounding the development of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, opposing inner-party disputes over criticism of Chinese involvement in the project, despite military and intelligence figures warning ministers that such involvement posed a threat to national security. He urged Theresa May to tell China that Britain wanted strong investment in infrastructure projects, and described her decision to halt the deal as "politically stupid" and tantamount to "closing UK Plc down".[20] Gardiner later criticised May for negotiating a "rip-off deal" over its development.[21]


In October 2017, Gardiner became involved in the Boeing complaint to the US Department of Commerce which claimed that Bombardier Aerospace was 'dumping' aircraft in the US, selling them below the cost of production, thanks to huge subsidies from Canadian governments.[22] The Department had suggested that the solution was a 300% tariff on the Bombardier CSeries being sold to Delta Air Lines which would produce a significant negative impact on the sale.[23] Bombardier is a major employer in Belfast and a punitive tariff would adversely affect more than 4,000 manufacturing jobs.[24]

In its complaint against Bombardier, Boeing had made no reference to the multibillion-dollar tax breaks it receives from Washington state.[25] Gardiner, as spokesman for the Labour Party, seized on this information and accused Boeing of hypocrisy, insisting that all aircraft manufacturers require government subsidies; he labelled the company "the king of corporate welfare" and a "subsidy junkie", and suggested that Boeing was trying to "crush a competitor".[26] Boeing replied that their illegal-subsidies complaint against Bombardier is about selling aircraft below the cost of production and not an attempt to hurt a competitor. The company merely wants "fairness" in "following trade rules" as Boeing already claims to be doing.[27]

Jamal KhashoggiEdit

In response to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Gardiner said that "We must look very carefully again at the relationship we have with Saudi Arabia. What we would do certainly at the moment, and I think the government should do this, is to suspend all arms sales to the kingdom."[28]

Personal lifeEdit

His son Jacob Gardiner-Smith is a footballer.[29]


  1. ^ "No. 61961". The London Gazette. 19 June 2017. p. 11776.
  2. ^ a b c "Barry Gardiner:Former Labour MP for Brent North". Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d "Barry Gardiner: Meet Barry Gardiner". Archived from the original on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  4. ^ "About".
  5. ^ Schofield, Kevin (29 June 2017). "Barry Gardiner: On taking on the media, his cult status and Labour's future". PoliticsHome. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Socialist labels for Barry Gardiner and Jeremy Corbyn". BBC News. 14 May 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d "Barry Gardiner: Brent North". Archived from the original on 26 August 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  8. ^ "Barry Gardiner". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 3 April 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  9. ^ "House of Commons debates ..Health Services (London), 20 June 1997". Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  10. ^ Kirkup, James; Porter, Andrew (15 September 2008). "Barry Gardiner latest MP to be sacked for plotting against Gordon Brown". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  11. ^ "Barry Gardiner: Electoral history and profile". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 12 May 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  12. ^ House of Commons. "House of Commons - Register of Members' Interests". Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  13. ^ a b "MPs' expenses: Old rules v new rules". BBC News. 29 March 2010. Archived from the original on 1 April 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  14. ^ Sir Thomas Legg (2 February 2010). "Review of past ACA payments" (PDF). Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  15. ^ Lawrence, Felicity (22 October 2013). "Where did the 29% horse in your Tesco burger come from?". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  16. ^ "Barry Gardiner appointed shadow minister for natural environment". 4 July 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  17. ^ "Decarbonisation amendment defeated in the Commons". 15 June 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  18. ^ "Hen Harrier Day – some 'thank you's". 13 August 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  19. ^ "Labour's drive towards diesel cars causing 'massive public health problem,' admits shadow Environment Minister". The Independent. London. 25 January 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  20. ^ a b Wright, Oliver; McGrath, Hannah (4 February 2017). "China cash link to Labour MP". The Times. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  21. ^ Gardiner, Barry (29 July 2016). "The Conservatives have realised too late that Hinkley Point is a rip-off". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  22. ^ "Petitions For The Imposition Of Antidumping And Countervailing Duties On 100-To 150-Seat Large Civil Aircraft From Canada" (PDF). 27 April 2017.
  23. ^ Marowits, Ross (6 October 2017). "Bombardier's CSeries hit with another U.S. duty".
  24. ^ Elliott, Larry (28 September 2017). "Theresa May hints at Boeing boycott in Bombardier US tariff row". Guardian. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  25. ^ Hiltzik, Michael. "Boeing got a record tax break from Washington state and cut jobs anyway. Now the state wants to strike back". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  26. ^ Morales, Alex; Lacqua, Francine (11 October 2017). "Boeing a 'Subsidy Junkie,' U.K.'s Labour Says in Bombardier Spat". Bloomberg Politics. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  27. ^ Pugliese, David (11 October 2017). "Boeing is the "king of corporate welfare" or Boeing has never received subsidies – you decide". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  28. ^ "Jamal Khashoggi: UK government considers 'next steps' as Saudi Arabia admits dissident journalist died in Istanbul consulate". The Independent. 20 October 2018.
  29. ^ "Jacob Gardiner-Smith is back from Russia with much love". The Non-League Football Paper. 21 February 2019. Retrieved 19 August 2019.

External linksEdit