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Claire Margaret Ward (born 9 May 1972[1]) is a Labour Party politician. She served as the Member of Parliament for Watford from 1997 to 2010, and was a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice from 2009-10.

Claire Ward
Claire Ward.JPG
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice
In office
9 June 2009 – 11 May 2010
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Sec. of StateJack Straw
Preceded byShahid Malik
Succeeded byCrispin Blunt
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
In office
5 October 2008 – 9 June 2009
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byLiz Blackman
Succeeded byHelen Jones
Lord Commissioner of the Treasury
In office
8 May 2006 – 5 October 2008
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Gordon Brown
ChancellorGordon Brown
Alistair Darling
Preceded byGillian Merron
Succeeded byBob Blizzard
Member of Parliament
for Watford
In office
2 May 1997 – 12 April 2010
Preceded byTristan Garel-Jones
Succeeded byRichard Harrington
Majority1,148 (2.3%)
Personal details
Born (1972-05-09) 9 May 1972 (age 47)
North Shields, Tyne and Wear, England, UK
Political partyLabour
Alma materUniversity of Hertfordshire
Brunel University
The College of Law


Early life and careerEdit

Ward was born in North Shields, Northumberland, the daughter of Frank and Cathy Ward.[2][3] Both her parents were Labour Party councillors and her father stood unsuccessfully as the Labour candidate for Hertsmere at the 1987 general election.[4] She was brought up in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, where she attended the Loreto College, an all-girls Roman Catholic school in St Albans, and studied at the newly created University of Hertfordshire graduating with a LLB (Law degree) in 1993.[4][5] She then completed an MA in Britain and the European Union at Brunel University,[6] before qualifying as a solicitor at the College of Law in London.[7] From 1995–98, she was a trainee solicitor.[8]

Ward joined the Labour Party, the Co-operative Party and the Transport and General Workers' Union at the age of fifteen, becoming an active member of Young Labour.[9][10] In 1990, she won the South East TUC Mike Perkins Memorial Award for Young Trade Unionists before being elected as the Youth Representative on Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) the following year.[10][11]

She was elected as a Councillor on Elstree and Borehamwood Town Council in 1994, where she served as Mayor from 1996–97.[6][8] She stepped down from the Labour Party NEC in 1995 upon her selection as the party's candidate for Watford.[4]

Parliamentary careerEdit

Ward became the MP for Watford at the 1997 general election, succeeding the former Conservative Party Deputy Chief Whip Tristan Garel-Jones who had retired, and defeating Conservative candidate Robert Gordon by 5,792 votes.[12] Elected at the age of 24, she was not quite the youngest MP, being 50 days older than Chris Leslie, the new MP for Shipley.[4][13]

After her election, Ward became a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.[8] From 2000 to 2002, she was the Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Chocolate and Confectionery Industry Group.[14][15][16] In the 2001 general election she retained her seat by 5,555 votes and was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to John Hutton.[12][17]

The increasing dominance of local politics in Watford Borough council by the Liberal Democrats, including the election of a Liberal Democrat Mayor, led to speculation that Ward would find re-election extremely difficult. Ward even accused staff from the council of harassment during the 2005 general election campaign.[18] However, she managed to hold off a strong Liberal Democrat challenge from Sal Brinton; despite a 12% swing against her, Ward held the seat with a majority of 1,148 votes, approximately 2.3% of the electorate. The Conservative candidate was narrowly forced into third place with 793 fewer votes than Brinton, making Watford a three way marginal seat.[19]

Upon her re-election in May 2005, Ward was appointed an Assistant Government Whip before being promoted to full Whip, as a Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury, on 5 May 2006.[20][21] She was promoted again in October 2008 to Vice-Chamberlain of the Household, the lowest of the senior Whips.[22] At the June 2009 Cabinet reshuffle, she replaced Shahid Malik as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Justice.[23]

She claimed over £90,000 in second home allowance between 2004 and 2009, despite living less than 30 miles from Westminster. Upon publication of MP's expenses in 2009, Ward defended her choice to fund a second home in Westminster from her parliamentary allowance, citing her need to balance her public duties with her duties as a mother of small children.[24][25] Ward was one of 98 MPs who voted in favour of legislation which would have kept MPs expense details secret.[26]

She lost her seat at the 2010 general election when she finished third in the election in Watford with 14,750 votes, behind the Conservative Party candidate Richard Harrington (19,291 votes) and the Liberal Democrat Sal Brinton (17,866 votes).

Voting recordEdit

The Labour Party was in Government throughout Ward's time in Parliament. As of the end of 2009, Ward has rebelled against the Government's stated or majority position 19 times out of 2,629 votes she has attended, a rebelling rate of 0.72%. She has on occasion voted against her party line on changes to the schedule of the House of Commons, and the Government's position on reform of the House of Lords. In 2004, she voted with the Conservatives in favour of introducing a ban on the "reasonable chastisement" of children.[27] In 2008, on a free vote,[28] Ward voted against her party's majority position on abortion, where she unsuccessfully voted in several separate bills for a reduction in the time when an abortion can be carried out from 24 weeks.[29]

Post-parliamentary careerEdit

From June 2011 until its closure in March 2015, Ward was executive director of the Independent Pharmacy Federation.[30][31] In April 2015, Ward became the Chair of Pharmacy Voice, an association of trade bodies representing community pharmacy contractors.[31][32] She resigned this role in April 2017 as part of the Pharmacy Voice's closure.[33][34]


  1. ^ "Claire Ward". BBC News. 16 March 2006. Archived from the original on 8 January 2006. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  2. ^ Sylvester, Rachel (17 January 1999). "Hare Krishna paid for Labour MP's trip to India". The Independent. London: Independent News and Media. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  3. ^ Ward, Claire. "Claire Ward's Biography". Watford Labour Party. Archived from the original on 22 April 2010. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d Barbieri, Annalisa (11 May 1997). "Interview: Claire Ward; Age of innocence". The Independent. London: Independent News and Media. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  5. ^ Hodges, Lucy (24 July 1997). "A-Z of Universities: Hertfordshire". London: The Independent. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
  6. ^ a b "Claire Ward- Ministry of Justice". Ministry of Justice. Crown copyright. Archived from the original on 28 February 2010. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  7. ^ "Claire Ward". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
  8. ^ a b c "Members of Parliament for Watford". Watford Observer. Newsquest Media Group. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  9. ^ Castle, Stephen; Birnberg, Ariadne (9 February 1997). "The Cabinet of Tomorrow?". The Independent. London: Independent News and Media. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  10. ^ a b McSmith, Andy (16 March 2001). "The young idealist who took on the old hand". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  11. ^ "Ms Claire Ward MP". Retrieved 24 December 2009.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ a b "Vote 2001: Watford". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  13. ^ Boothroyd, David. "The Youngest Members of Parliament". Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  14. ^ "All-Party Parliamentary Chocolate and Confectionery Industry Group". House of Commons – Register of All-Party Groups. London: Parliament of the United Kingdom. 12 September 2000. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
  15. ^ "All-Party Parliamentary Chocolate and Confectionery Industry Group". House of Commons – Register of All-Party Groups. London: Parliament of the United Kingdom. 14 May 2001. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  16. ^ "Official Report, Commons". London: Parliament of the United Kingdom. 20 May 2002. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
  17. ^ "The 'Blair babes': Where are they now?". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 8 May 2007. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  18. ^ Meek, James (6 May 2005). "Watford: a three-way junction to Westminster". The Guardian. London: Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  19. ^ "Election 2005: Watford". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 6 May 2005. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  20. ^ "The Cabinet and new members of the Government". The Independent. London: Independent News and Media. 10 May 2005. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
  21. ^ "Her Majesty s Cabinet and Ministerial list". 10 Downing Street. 5 May 2006. Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  22. ^ Jeeves, Paul (6 October 2008). "Reshuffle in full: New Minister hints he may seek to impose curb on migrant arrivals". Yorkshire Post. Johnston Press Digital Publishing. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  23. ^ "Who's who in Gordon Brown's government?". London: Guardian News and Media. 9 June 2009. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  24. ^ Neil Skinner (25 March 2009). "Watford MP Claire Ward defends expenses claim". Watford Observer. Newsquest. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  25. ^ Ward, Claire (21 May 2009). "MP's expenses". mySociety. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  26. ^ Bremner, Charles; Robertson, David (20 May 2007). "How your MP voted on the FOI Bill". The Times. London.
  27. ^ "Children Bill [Lords] — New Clause 12 — Reasonable punishment — 2 Nov 2004 at 17:50 — The Public Whip". 2 November 2004. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  28. ^ "MPs reject cut in abortion limit". BBC News. 21 May 2009. Retrieved 24 December 2009.
  29. ^ "Voting Record — Claire Ward MP, Watford (10621) — The Public Whip". 28 March 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  30. ^ "Directors". Independent Pharmacy Federation. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  31. ^ a b "New Chapter new Challenge". March 2015. Archived from the original on 28 March 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  32. ^ "Board". Archived from the original on 4 May 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  33. ^ Waldron, James (20 March 2017). "BREAKING: Pharmacy Voice office to finally close next month". Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  34. ^ "MS CLAIRE MARGARET WARD". Retrieved 7 June 2017.

External linksEdit