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Ann Clwyd at the last working day of Tower Colliery (Jan 2008). Photograph © Janice Lane

Ann Clwyd
Ann Clwyd Roberts (born 21 March 1937, Denbigh) is a British Labour MP. She has represented Cynon Valley in Wales since 1984.

Early life
She is the daughter of Gwilym and Elizabeth Lewis. She lived in Pentre Halkyn in Flintshire and went to the Holywell Grammar School (now Holywell High School), then the independent Queen's School in Chester. She studied at the University College of Wales in Bangor. Although a Labour Party member as an adult, as a pupil, Clwyd once won a mock election as a Plaid Cymru supporter in her school. She was a student teacher at Hope School in Flintshire. She worked as a journalist, working for the BBC as a studio manager and then became Welsh correspondent for the Guardian and Observer newspapers for 1964-79. She was Vice-Chair of the Arts Council of Wales from 1975-9. She is a member of the NUJ and TGWU.

Parliamentary career
She was persuaded to stand for Parliament by Huw T Edwards, who felt that there should be more women in parliament. She was the unsuccessful Labour candidate in Denbigh in 1970 and Gloucester in October 1974. From 1979 to 1984, Ann Clwyd was MEP for Mid and West Wales. She was elected to Parliament in a byelection following the death of Ioan Evans and became the first woman to sit for a Welsh valleys constituency. She served as Shadow Minister of Education and Women's Rights from 1987 but was sacked in 1988 for rebelling against the party whip on a defence matter. She returned as Shadow Minister for Overseas Development from 1989 to 1992 and then served as Shadow Secretary of State for Wales in 1992 and for National Heritage from 1992 to 1993.

She was the Opposition Spokesperson for Employment from 1993 to 1994 and for Foreign Affairs from 1994 to 1995 when she was again sacked, along with Jim Cousins, for taking a foreign trip without permission (in this case, visiting Kurdish sites in northern Iraq). In 1994 she staged a sit-in down Tower Colliery mine in her constituency to protest at its closure. She was accompanied by the late Glyndwr 'Glyn' Roberts (Senior) of Penywaun.

She was a member of the International Development Select Committee from 1997 to 2005. Having been prominent in her concern for the situation in Iraq before the war there in 2003, Tony Blair made her a Special Envoy on Human Rights in Iraq in the run-up to the War. She was the first journalist to put forward claims that Iraqis were killed in woodchippers. On August 9, 2004, she became a member of the Privy Council.

Clwyd was a Vice Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party from 2001 until 2005, and was elected as Chair by 167 to 156 (beating Tony Lloyd) on May 24, 2005. However on December 5, 2006 she was defeated by Lloyd by 11 votes when she sought re-election, with her closeness to Tony Blair being cited as a reason for her defeat.

Ann Clwyd, chosen for a Private Member's Bill via Ballot was pressurised by hundreds of pressure groups in order to publisise their group. Clwyd chose the Female Genital Mutilation Bill (to prohibit parents from sending, or taking, their daughters abroad for operations such as female circumcision) By Ann Clwyd speaking about this bill, Female Circumcision was banned in 1985. She has traditionally been regarded as on the left wing of the party, and has been a vocal supporter of the Iraq War.

Personal life
She married Owen Roberts in 1963.


 

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