Paul Williams (Labour politician)

Paul Daniel Williams OBE (born 23 August 1972) is a British general practitioner (GP) and Labour Party politician, who served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Stockton South from 2017 to 2019, when he lost his seat.[1]

Paul Williams

Williams in 2017
Member of Parliament
for Stockton South
In office
8 June 2017  6 November 2019
Preceded byJames Wharton
Succeeded byMatt Vickers
Personal details
Paul Daniel Williams

(1972-08-23) 23 August 1972 (age 48)
Canterbury, England
Political partyLabour
Vicky Holt
(m. 2020)
Alma materUniversity of Newcastle
University of Liverpool

In May 2021, Williams stood as the Labour Party candidate in the 2021 Hartlepool by-election, but lost to Jill Mortimer of the Conservative Party.[2]

Early life and career

Paul Williams was born on 23 August 1972 in Canterbury, England.[3] His parents worked as a teacher and a nurse. His early education was at the Queen's School, Wisbech (now Thomas Clarkson Academy) in Cambridgeshire. He began to support the Labour Party during the UK miners' strike (1984–85), and joined the party when he was studying medicine at the Newcastle University Medical School.[4] Williams also obtained a Diploma in Tropical Medicine from the University of Liverpool.[5]

After graduating, he specialised in general practice. Prior to entering politics, Williams worked as a GP partner in Stockton and was also the chief executive officer of Hartlepool and Stockton Health GP Federation,[6] which oversees 37 practices in Hartlepool and Stockton. Williams also ran a health programme in Uganda for five years involving the implementation of a community health insurance scheme.[4] This involved helping to set up a community hospital near the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest which provided HIV, malaria and tuberculosis services.[7][8]

Parliamentary career

Williams was selected to contest the Stockton South constituency by the Labour Party at the 2017 UK general election. He had previously made the shortlist for the 2013 South Shields by-election.[4] Williams went on to be elected as MP with 26,102 votes and a majority of 888 over incumbent Conservative Party MP James Wharton who had held the seat since the 2010 general election.[9] On national political issues, Williams has campaigned significantly on public health and the NHS. His maiden speech focussed on increasing efforts in preventative care in the NHS.[10] After the election, he was chosen to be part of the Health Select Committee.[11] and chaired its inquiry into health in the first 1000 days of life.[12]

Williams was a signatory of the MPs Not Border Guards pledge not to report constituents to the Home Office for Immigration Enforcement.[13]

In 2018, Williams accepted the gift of a trip to Saudi Arabia worth £8,762 from the country's government. Following the excursion, he said he saw a "modern, progressive" side to the country, which that had “totally changed" his overall view of the country.[14]

At the 2019 general election, he lost his seat to the Conservative candidate, Matt Vickers, with a vote swing 5.6% to the Conservatives.[15]

Hartlepool by-election

In March 2021, following the resignation of Hartlepool MP Mike Hill, Williams was selected Labour's candidate for the 2021 Hartlepool by-election.[16]

Williams had been Labour's candidate for Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, in a May 2021 election, but withdrew in order to contest Hartlepool.[17][18] He was criticised by an unnamed MP for his pro-EU record in a constituency that voted to leave the European Union by an estimated 70%.[19]

During the by-election campaign, he apologised for posting an inappropriate tweet; he used the term "Tory MILFs" in a tweet from 2011.[20]

Williams lost to Tory candidate Jill Mortimer by just under 7,000 votes, receiving 28.7% to Mortimer's 51.9%.[21]

Political Views

Health and the NHS

Williams supports accountable care systems in the NHS led by primary care and public health. He opposes markets within the NHS, as he feels that they promote "expensive, complex activity". He supports a move away from the partnership model of general practice to a system provided at scale by GP-led not-for-profit provider organisations, employing salaried physicians.[10] Williams said, "The law is creating unnecessary privatisation that isn’t working in the interests of patients. This is a ridiculous fragmentation of services, at a time when the rhetoric from government and NHS leaders has all been about integration."[22] He has advocated for all GP trainees and newly qualified mental health nurses, social workers and community nurses being employed directly by integrated care trusts,[23] arguing that this would reduce care costs.

During his brief career as an MP, Williams led a debate in the House of Commons highlighting the variation in experience of new mothers when receiving postnatal GP checks, and arguing for the inclusion of a specific check six weeks after birth for maternal mental health and wellbeing to be included in the national GP contract.[24]

Williams was also the co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Adverse Childhood Experiences.[25] In his constituency Williams worked to reduce waiting times for autism diagnosis from more than four years to less than twelve months.[26]

The European Union

While 62% of voters in Stockton-on-Tees voted to leave the European Union, Williams was in favour of Britain remaining in the European Union, having stated that "no form of Brexit is better than the deal we already have as members of the European Union",[27] and broke the Labour Party whip on six occasions to support a second referendum on the UK's exit from the EU.[28]

Personal life

His long-time partner is Vicky Holt, who works as a nurse; they got married on 17 December 2020.[29][30] They have two daughters and live in Stockton. Williams continued to work as a GP in Stockton to maintain his medical licence while he was an MP. He returned to work in the NHS full time after losing his seat. He is a trustee of ARC Theatre & Arts Centre, Stockton-on-Tees and the national charity The Parent-Infant Foundation, and a former board member of Catalyst, a local volunteering organisation.[4][10][31][32]

Williams was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2021 New Year Honours for services to Parliament and to healthcare in Stockton-on-Tees.[33]


  1. "Williams, Paul". Who's Who. 2018 (February 2018 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 14 February 2018. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  2. "Elections 2021: Conservatives hail historic Labour defeat in Hartlepool by-election". BBC News. 7 May 2021. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  3. "Paul Williams MP". MyParliament. Archived from the original on 16 September 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  4. Robson, Dave (8 May 2017). "GP who enjoys triathlons is in the running for Stockton South seat". Gazette Live. Archived from the original on 25 September 2017. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  5. Carr, Tim; Dale, Iain; Waller, Robert (7 September 2017). The Politicos Guide to the New House of Commons 2017. Biteback Publishing. ISBN 978-1-78590-278-9.
  6. Campbell, Dennis. "Paul Williams MP: 'We need to transfer power from hospitals to GPs". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  7. Blackburn, Mike (13 October 2011). "Doctor returns to Teesside after five years saving lives in Uganda". Gazette Live.
  8. Fry, Stephen (1 December 2010). "Stephen Fry: People can make a difference and save lives". The Independent.
  9. "Stockton South". BBC News. Archived from the original on 19 August 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  10. "Interview: Salaried GP service working at scale is the future, says GP/MP". GP Online. 26 July 2017. Archived from the original on 3 September 2017. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  11. "Dr Paul Williams MP". Archived from the original on 11 October 2017. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  12. Willams, Paul. "We must show leadership and join the Early Years Revolution". Politics Home (UK). Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  13. "MPs not border guards – pledge signatories | Global Justice Now". Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  14. "Labour Hartlepool by-election candidate said Saudi Arabia was 'progressive' after £8,700 paid-for trip". The Independent. 19 March 2021.
  15. "Who is Matt Vickers? Meet the councillor and Brexiteer who's the new MP for Stockton South". Gazette Live. 13 December 2019.
  16. Rodgers, Sienna. "Dr Paul Williams announced as Labour candidate for Hartlepool by-election". LabourList.
  17. Nolan, Laura (19 March 2021). "Criticism after Labour's candidate for Hartlepool steps down from Police and Crime Commissioner race". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  18. "Labour unveils ex-Stockton South MP for Hartlepool seat". 18 March 2021 via
  19. "Labour Accused Of A Candidate 'Stitch-Up' Over Hartlepool By-Election Timetable". Politics Home. 17 March 2021. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  20. "Paul Williams: Labour candidate sorry for 'inappropriate' tweet". 21 March 2021 via
  21. "Tories take Hartlepool in historic Red Wall by-election victory". 7 May 2021. Retrieved 7 May 2021 via
  22. Private health firms squeeze out GP-run extended services The Guardian
  23. Campbell, Denis. "Paul Williams MP: 'We need to transfer power from hospitals to GPs'". The Guardian (UK). The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  24. "Perinatal Mental Illness". UK Parliament Research Briefings. UK Parliament. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  25. "APPG on Adverse Childhood Experiences". Wave Trust. Wave Trust. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  26. Brown, Mike. "Autism diagnosis waiting times to be slashed in Stockton from four years down to 12 months". Evening Gazette (Teesside), Reach. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  27. Paul, Dr. "Paul Williams MP: Nissan's announcement has given people a taste of the new Brexit reality". Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  28. Williams, Paul. "Public Whip – Dr Paul Williams MP". Public Whip. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  29. Breen, Julia (7 September 2017). "Stockton doctor-MP joins rally over nurses' pay cap". The Northern Echo.
  30. "Paul Williams". Facebook. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  31. "Team". Tennant Street Medical Practice. Archived from the original on 22 October 2017. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  32. "Register of Members' Financial Interests" (PDF). p. 517. Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 October 2017. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  33. "No. 63218". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2020. p. N15.