|Member of Parliament |
1 May 1997 – 5 May 2005
|Preceded by||Roger Freeman|
|Succeeded by||Philip Hollobone|
Philip Andrew Sawford
26 June 1950
Loddington, Northamptonshire, England
Sawford was born in Loddington, a small village in Northamptonshire just west of Kettering, in 1950. He went to Loddington CE primary school. He was educated at Kettering Grammar School and became an apprentice carpenter. He went on to become a steelworker in 1977 until the closures and mass redundancies at Corby Steelworks in 1980. Sawford won a place at Ruskin College, Oxford gaining a Diploma in 1982, and later gained a BA degree from the University of Leicester in 1985. He forged a career in training and personnel development, in parallel with his political activity in the Labour Party and as a local Councillor. He was first elected as a Desborough Town Councillor, then Kettering Borough Councillor, representing the Desborough Loatland Ward from 1977 to 1997. In 1991 Labour became the largest party on the Borough Council and Sawford became Leader of the Council. In 1995 Labour won overall control of the council and Sawford was re-elected as the council Leader, a post he held until he entered Parliament. From 1985-97, he worked for a training partnership in Wellingborough.
He contested Wellingborough in 1992.
He won the Kettering seat in the 1997 election, defeating Conservative Cabinet minister, Roger Freeman. Sawford won after three recounts, which meant the election result was one of the last to declare. Sawford increased his majority in the 2001 election. Over eight years as an MP he established a reputation as a constituency focused MP who championed local issues.
He lost it to the Conservative Philip Hollobone in the 2005 election, in line with the national swing against Labour. He was re-selected as the Labour Parliamentary Candidate for the seat in 2007. The boundaries of Kettering Constituency changed at the 2010 General Election, giving the seat a notional Labour majority, however in the event Sawford was again defeated by Hollobone, by 20 percentage points.
He is on the left of the Labour Party, and a member of the Socialist Campaign Group. He is a sworn republican, an outspoken campaigner for the abolition of hunting, and was an opponent of the invasion of Iraq in 2003.