A politician, polemicist and plotter

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Indy Politics

Sion Simon, the MP turned spoof blogger, made a highly successful move from politics to journalism, and a rather less successful move back into politics.

After graduating from Magdalen College, Oxford, with a degree in economics he went to work for the Labour MP George Robertson, now Lord Robertson. He then had a brief spell working for Guinness, and returned to politics as a Labour press officer in the run-up to the 1997 general election.

After that victory, he cashed in on the sudden demand for newspaper commentators with an inside knowledge of the Labour Party. He became well known as a regular and well-informed columnist for The Daily Telegraph, Daily Express and News of the World, and became an associate editor of The Spectator. He has the gift - relatively rare among politicians - of being able to write well. His spoof video also shows a talent for parody - though not, perhaps, for making wise political judgements.

Having returned to politics in 2001, as Labour MP for Birmingham Erdington, he started on the path of exemplary loyalty, when the majority of new Labour MPs opted for rebellion, but did not reap the expected rewards. He was one of only five of the new MPs who had never voted against the line laid down by government whips, yet he had to wait four years before receiving his first menial government post, as unpaid parliamentary aide to a junior minister.

Part of the reason for his slow rise was trouble in his personal life, including a painful marriage break-up, and the onset of partial blindness. He revealed in June 2002 that he has a degenerative eye condition called choroideremia.

Eventually, loyalty turned to restlessness. A year ago, he was one of the first MPs to push the idea that Alan Johnson should be the next Deputy Prime Minister, when John Prescott retires.

Last month, he was revealed to be one of the organisers of a supposedly private letter to Tony Blair, urging him to retire sooner rather than later to make way for Gordon Brown. His latest political antics suggest a talented but f rustrated politician looking for a role.

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