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Janet Anderson (born 6 December 1949) is an English Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Rossendale and Darwen from 1992 until 2010, when she lost her seat. Her time as MP is remembered for her role as Minister for Tourism during the foot and mouth crisis, and her role in the 2009 expenses scandal.

Janet Anderson
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
In office
2 May 1997 – 27 July 1998
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byDerek Conway
Succeeded byGraham Allen
Shadow Minister for Women
In office
26 July 1996 – 2 May 1997
LeaderTony Blair
Preceded byTessa Jowell
Succeeded byGillian Shephard
Member of Parliament
for Rossendale and Darwen
In office
9 April 1992 – 12 April 2010
Preceded bySir David Trippier
Succeeded byJake Berry
Personal details
Born (1949-12-06) 6 December 1949 (age 69)
Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, England
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Jim Dowd
Vincent Humphreys (1972–1998)
Alma materUniversity of Westminster

Early lifeEdit

Anderson was educated at Trowbridge Girls' High School (now The John of Gaunt School) and the Kingswood Grammar School in Kingswood, South Gloucestershire. She attended the Polytechnic of Central London and the Université de Nantes.[1]

In 1971, Anderson joined the offices of The Scotsman and The Sunday Times as a secretary. In 1974, she became the personal assistant to the MP for Blackburn, Barbara Castle, and to her successor Jack Straw[2] until the 1987 General Election, when she unsuccessfully fought the marginal seat of Rossendale and Darwen, losing to David Trippier by 4,982 votes.

Anderson became a campaigns organiser for the Parliamentary Labour Party, and then the northern regional organiser for the Shopping Hours Reform Council, campaigning to extending the Sunday trading laws. She also ran her own public relations company, with clients such as the Royal College of Nursing and Safeway plc.

Anderson is a member of the GMB Union, and was formerly secretary of the Tribune Group.

Parliamentary careerEdit

Anderson fought Rossendale and Darwen successfully at the 1992 General Election, winning by just 120 votes. She became the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Margaret Beckett, which she held for a year.

She was an opposition whip from 1994 to 1996, before being appointed Shadow Minister for Women. In October 1996, while in this role, she notoriously joked in an interview that women would become "more promiscuous" under a Labour Government.[3]

In May 1996, in response to campaigns to deal with the problem of stalking, she presented the Stalking Bill 1996 to Parliament under the Ten Minute Rule,[4] with support from 64 other MPs.[5] The bill failed to get government support, as it was felt that the proposed offence failed to distinguish between reasonable and unreasonable conduct.[6]

Following the 1997 General Election, Anderson became a junior whip, and Vice-Chamberlain of the Household in Tony Blair's new government, before being promoted to Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in 1998,[7] where she was the Minister for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting, and was responsible for bringing in the popular free television licences for the over 75s. During her time as Minister for Tourism, rural tourism lost £100m a week at the height of the foot and mount crisis.[8]

At the conclusion of the foot and mouth crisis, Anderson returned to the back benches following the 2001 General Election.[7] She subsequently served on the Home Affairs Select Committee, before becoming a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee and the House of Commons Administration Committee. She was also on the Chairmen's Panel Committee.

She was defeated in the 2010 General Election, by Conservative candidate Jake Berry in an 8.9% swing to the Conservatives. Berry overturned a Labour majority of 3,616 to win by 4,493 votes.[9]


In May 2009, during the disclosure of expenses of British members of parliament over MPs' expenses, The Daily Telegraph alleged that Anderson had submitted and was paid a claim form including mileage equalling 5 round trips to her constituency each week parliament sat along with rail and air fares despite living in London during the week.[10] Her expenses for car journeys were £16,612 for 60,118 miles travelled. This was £4,500 more than the next highest claimant, Laurence Robertson.[11]

The Telegraph described her as "one of the most prolific expense claimers in Parliament".[12]

Other allegations included expenses for the upkeep of the home of her partner, fellow MP Jim Dowd MP, in his Lewisham constituency under her second home allowance despite Dowd claiming the London salary supplement intended to cover the additional cost of living in London.[10] Anderson was one of 98 MPs who voted in favour of legislation which would have kept MPs expense information undisclosed.[13]

Anderson claimed near the maximum Additional Costs Allowance between 2001 and 2008, ranking joint highest in 2002/03, 2004/05 and 2006/07 also 3rd in 2003/04.[14] In January 2010, Anderson was allowed to secretly repay £5,750 in expenses for over claimed petty cash.[15]

Personal lifeEdit

Anderson married solicitor Vincent Humphreys in 1972; the couple had three children. Her son David managed her office in the House of Commons.[12] In December 1998, she had an affair and left, later divorcing, Humphreys for her fellow Labour MP Jim Dowd, though she remained on good terms with her former husband.[2] Anderson lists her pastimes as swimming, playing the piano, listening to opera, gardening and cooking Sunday roasts for her family.[16] She speaks fluent French.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Dod, Charles Roger; Limited, Vacher Dod Publishing; Dod, Robert Phipps (12 January 2019). "Dod's Parliamentary Companion". Dod's Parliamentary Companion, Limited – via Google Books.
  2. ^ a b Sylvester, Rachel (22 July 2000). "A Blair babe who amuses Her Majesty". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  3. ^ Picardie, Ruth (3 October 1996). "Promiscuity. A new war cry for Labour?". London: The Independent. Retrieved 1 March 2010.
  4. ^ "A-Z of legislation: Protection from Harassment Act 1997". The Guardian. 1 June 2006.
  5. ^ "Stalking Bill: EDM number 855 in 1995–1996". Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  6. ^ "Home Office drops support for stalking Bill". The Independent. 7 May 1996.
  7. ^ a b "Voting Record – Janet Anderson". The Public Whip. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  8. ^ "Scare Stories Blamed for. Fall in Visitors". The Guardiant. 31 March 2001.
  9. ^ "Conservative gains in Lancashire". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  10. ^ a b Rayner, Gordon (11 May 2009). "Labour MP's twice round the globe mileage claim". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  11. ^ Morris, Nigel (14 February 2007). "The Independent – MPs' travel expenses revealed after two-year battle for secrecy". London: Archived from the original on 6 July 2008. Retrieved 1 March 2010.
  12. ^ a b Swaine, Jon; Blake, Heidi (13 January 2010). "Janet Anderson: former tourism minister is one of most prolific expense claimers". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 1 March 2010.
  13. ^ "How your MP voted on the FOI Bill". The Times. London. 20 May 2007.
  14. ^ "Janet Anderson MP". TheyWorkForYou. UK Citizens Online Democracy. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  15. ^ Swaine, Jon; Winnett, Robert (12 January 2010). "Immunity for MPs who repay expenses". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 1 March 2010.
  16. ^ "Janet Anderson MP – biography". Janet Anderson. Archived from the original on 31 January 2009. Retrieved 3 January 2010.

External linksEdit