Phil Wilson (British politician)

Philip Wilson[1] (born 31 May 1959) is a British Labour Party politician. He was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Sedgefield[2] in a by-election that followed the resignation of Tony Blair, former Prime Minister, from the seat.[3][4] He lost the seat at the 2019 general election to Paul Howell of the Conservative Party.[5]

Phil Wilson
Wilson in 2017
Member of Parliament
for Sedgefield
In office
19 July 2007  6 November 2019
Preceded byTony Blair
Succeeded byPaul Howell
Personal details
Born (1959-05-31) 31 May 1959 (age 62)
County Durham, England
Political partyLabour

Early life and career

The son of a Fishburn colliery worker, Wilson has lived in the Sedgefield constituency all of his life.[4] After attending Trimdon Secondary Modern and Sedgefield Comprehensive School, Wilson became a shop assistant before moving on to be a clerical worker in the civil service where he was a lay-trade union official.[4] Wilson later worked as a gambling lobbyist for the Gala Coral Group in the lead up to the passing of the 2005 Gambling Act, and as a director at London based public affairs consultancy Fellows’ Associates.[6]

Wilson is known for being one of the "Famous Five", a group of local Labour Party members who helped a young Tony Blair get selected as the Labour candidate for Sedgefield for the 1983 general election.[3] He subsequently worked for Tony Blair in his constituency office, the Labour Party and a PR company.[7]

Parliamentary career

Wilson was a Labour Assistant Whip from 2010 to 2015.[8] In 2012, he was elected to the Progress strategy board. In his work for Progress, he was criticised for a blog post that he was accused of plagiarizing.[9]

In 2013, a letter attributed to Conservative MP John Glen accused Wilson of failing to properly declare donations from Hitachi before speaking about the matter in a House of Commons debate. Glen subsequently accepted that Wilson was not at fault and apologised personally to him, saying the letter had been drafted on his behalf and he had not read it before it was issued.[10] In his biography on his personal website, Wilson states that bringing a Hitachi Rail factory project to Newton Aycliffe in his constituency represents his "proudest political achievement so far".[7]

In his 2017 general election voter leaflet, Wilson stated he was not a supporter of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and suggested Labour would not win the election.[11] He had supported Owen Smith in the failed attempt to replace Corbyn in the 2016 Labour Party leadership election.[12][better source needed]

In 2018, Wilson called for a second referendum on Brexit. He said: "Before we retreat to the past, people should be given another chance to decide whether that is where they want to end up".[13][14] Later he supported the proposal to join the European Economic Area to mitigate the perceived disadvantages of Brexit.[15][better source needed] Wilson's constituency of Sedgefield voted to Leave the European Union by 59.4%.[16]


  1. "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8741.
  2. Yeoman, Fran (20 July 2007). "Victory for Blair's aide keeps the flame alive". The Times. Retrieved 20 July 2007.
  3. Mulholland, Hélène (4 July 2007). "Blair turns out to back Sedgefield candidate". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 July 2007.
  4. "Phil Wilson – Labour's local man". Archived from the original on 8 October 2007. Retrieved 6 July 2007.
  5. "Sedgefield parliamentary constituency - Election 2019". BBC News. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  6. "Wilson bid hides PR credentials". PR Week. 18 July 2007. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  7. "About Me". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  8. "Phil Wilson". House of Commons. UK Parliament. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  9. "Labour whip under fire over 'plagiarised blog post' claims". Political Scrapbook. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  10. Merrick, Robert (11 March 2013). "Complaint was "cooked up" by Tories, claim". Northern Echo. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  11. Horton, Helena (22 May 2017). "Labour candidate disowns Jeremy Corbyn on his leaflet as he tells constituents he is 'no supporter'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  12. Smith, Mikey; Bloom, Dan (20 July 2016). "Which MPs are nominating Owen Smith in the Labour leadership contest?". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  13. "North East Labour MPs call for second EU vote". BBC News. 10 May 2018. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  14. Walker, Jonathan (17 July 2018). "Leave campaign 'cheated' its way to victory - now MPs want Brexit to be scrapped". nechronicle.
  15. Wilson, Phil (11 June 2018). "I'll be backing the EEA – the only available Brexit option to minimise risk". LabourList. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  16. "Every Leave constituency where the MP voted Remain". I News. 12 May 2017. Retrieved 10 October 2017.