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Ian Gibson (politician)

Ian Gibson (born 26 September 1938) is a British Labour Party politician who was Member of Parliament (MP) for Norwich North from 1997 to 2009. He resigned from the House of Commons on 5 June 2009 after he was barred by the Labour Party from standing as their candidate for the seat in the 2010 general election, following his behaviour during the parliamentary expenses scandal.[1]

Ian Gibson
Member of Parliament
for Norwich North
In office
1 May 1997 – 5 June 2009
Preceded byPatrick Thompson
Succeeded byChloe Smith
Personal details
Born (1938-09-26) 26 September 1938 (age 81)
Dumfries, Scotland
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Frances Lubbock

Early life and academic careerEdit

Ian Gibson was born in Dumfries, Scotland and was educated locally at the Dumfries Academy, before attending the University of Edinburgh where he acquired a Bachelor of Science degree in genetics and a doctorate. He continued his studies in the United States of America at both Indiana University and the University of Washington. He worked continuously for the University of East Anglia from 1965 until his election thirty-two years later. He initially worked as a scientist until 1971, was then a senior biology lecturer, then became the Dean of the School of Biological Sciences in 1991 and an honorary professor in 2003.

Parliamentary careerEdit

Gibson was a member of the executive of the Manufacturing, Science and Finance trade union for twenty four years from 1972, and joined the Labour Party as late as 1983 after seven years in the Socialist Workers Party. He unsuccessfully contested Norwich North at the 1992 General Election where he was defeated by the sitting Conservative MP Patrick Thompson by just 266 votes. He was elected to the House of Commons at the 1997 General Election, Thompson had retired and Gibson beat the new Tory candidate by 9,470, and remained the MP there until his resignation in 2009. He made his maiden speech on 17 June 1997.[2] He was the coach of the cross-party parliamentary football team.

He was most recently a member of the Select Committee on Innovation Universities Science and skills. He was a member of the science and technology select committee from his election in 1997 and served as its chairman between 2001-5. He was chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer. Whilst he was the dean of biology at the University of East Anglia he was the head of a research team investigating cancer, and has been awarded a 'Champion' award by Macmillan Cancer Relief for his work in support of people with cancer. He was a major campaigner against top-up fees for universities. He suffered a minor stroke on a visit to Ramallah, West Bank in September 2004.

He attracted controversy in August 2006 after claiming inbreeding in his constituency may have played a part in its rising number of diabetes cases. However, he did later apologise for these remarks, stating he did not mean to cause offence.[3]

Also in 2006 he took part in a BBC television Inside Out programme, Clouds of Secrecy. The programme reported on the high incidence of oesophageal cancer in the Norfolk area and the possible link with secret experiments carried out in the 1960s, when the Ministry of Defence sprayed quantities of the poisonous chemical zinc cadmium sulphide into the air above Norfolk. Dr Gibson expressed the hope that further research might take place to establish whether there was indeed a link between these tests and the high local rates of cancer of the oesophagus[4]

Expenses controversyEdit

In May 2009, Gibson became embroiled in the MPs' expenses scandal detailed by The Daily Telegraph, who reported that he claimed for a flat in which his daughter lived rent-free before selling it to her for half its market value.[5] Subsequently, he was barred from standing in the next general election by a disciplinary panel of the Labour Party.[6]

Believing that after the panel's decision his position was "untenable", he resigned as an MP (by the traditional procedural device of becoming Crown Steward and Bailiff of the three Chiltern Hundreds of Stoke, Desborough and Burnham), thereby forcing a by-election.[1] The resultant by-election was won by Chloe Smith, the Conservative Party candidate, with a majority of 7,348, reversing a previous Labour majority of 5,459.[7]

Personal lifeEdit

Gibson has been married to Elizabeth Frances Lubbock since March 1974. They have two daughters. He is a supporter of Norwich City F.C.


  • Anti-Sense Technology (1997)
  • Too Little Too Late?: Government Investment in Nanotechnology (2004), The Stationery Office Books, ISBN 0-215-01644-0.
  • Within REACH: the EU's New Chemical Strategy, The Stationery Office Books, ISBN 0-215-01706-4.
  • Science, Politics, .......and ME: A health scandal in our generation, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, ISBN 978-1543183788.


  1. ^ a b "MP quitting to force by-election". BBC News. 5 June 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
  2. ^ House of Commons Hansard Debates for 17 Jun 1997 (pt 23)
  3. ^ MP sorry for 'inbreeding' remarks - BBC News
  4. ^
  5. ^ Kirkup, James (2 June 2009). "Ian Gibson deselected by Labour - MPs' expenses". Daily Telegraph website. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
  6. ^ "Gibson barred from standing again". BBC News website. 2 June 2009. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
  7. ^ "Tories' poll triumph over Labour". BBC News. 24 July 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2010.

External linksEdit