Outline | Dave writes | Getting to know Dave | Elections
My early years were spent in Sunderland. My father was a coal miner who had moved in and out of work for a number of years. When I was 10 we moved to a very small village in South West Wales, where my father returned to mining
Over the next few years we moved 3 times and ended up in South Yorkshire. I left school at 15 and started work as an apprentice fitter with the National Coal Board. Within 2 years the family had moved back to the North East and I settled in Hetton-le-Hole, where I married Eva in 1973.
I worked as a fitter on coal faces at Eppleton Colliery, but, probably, the biggest change to my life started when I became active in my trade union, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), first as youth rep and then as branch delegate.
I attended a 5 week course in 1983 at the Higher Trade Union School in Moscow. On my return the dispute over pit closures was just starting.
I was heavily involved in trying to win the fight to prevent devastation of the mining industry, but the forces of darkness prevailed. We underestimated the determination of the government of the day, who were prepared to destroy an entire industry, and, ultimately, make this country reliant on energy supplies from some of the most unstable regions on earth in order to emasculate organised labour in the UK.
Following the dispute my mine closed and we were transferred to another colliery. Three years later I was made redundant and started work as a social care worker in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Within a year I was involved in another dispute as the Council tried to outsource elderly care. This led to me being seconded as a trade union officer within the City Council.
I stayed in that role until March 2005, but also progressed into regional positions, including being Regional Chairman and then to being a member of the NEC of UNISON, the public service union. In 2000 I was elected to the General Council of the TUC and in 2003 I became National President of UNISON.
Throughout these years I had close involvement in the Labour Party, including a short spell as a local councillor and a number of years on Labour's Policy Forum.
In 2004 I was selected as the Labour Candidate for Blaydon and in May 2005 I had the great privilege of being elected as MP for this great constituency.
Many people ask why I wanted to be an MP and, ultimately, it goes back to my disgust with the attacks on working people and their organisations.
Cuts in public services wholly biased anti-trade union legislation and disastrous economic and social policies led to misery for millions. I am committed to doing all in my power to ensuring that we never go back to those dark days, and working as an MP is a huge part of that commitment.
From 1969 to 89 I worked as a fitter in four different collieries. Most of my time was spent working on coal faces or developments underground.
I started work as a care worker with elderly people in 1989.
In December 1990 I was seconded from that post to work as a trade union representative.
This followed on from many years as a representative in the NUM during my time in the pits.
I held many posts at a local, regional and national level, culminating in my being a member of the TUC General Council and the National President of UNISON, Britain's biggest union.
Dave addresses the Labour Party Conference
I was involved in politics indirectly via my union work. As someone employed in the public sector the government was my ultimate employer and decisions that they took impacted on me, my members and my community.
By far the biggest example of this was the devastating impact of the attacks on the coal industry during the 1980s and 90s. In many ways the decision I made to continue as a trade union representative and to become an MP were a re-action to those desperate days when I lost my job, my community and a large part of my culture.
Emphatically NO and anyone who has should be automatically banned from being one!
The victory night. It was a reward for standing firm for what I believed in and for refusing to be goaded into responding to personal attacks by my opponents.
Being part of the campaign to overturn a House of Lords ruling that would have had a devastating impact on people suffering from Mesothelioma, a crippling disease caused by exposure to asbestos.
Accompanying a group of local children to meet the Prime Minister and watching them grilling him over his commitment to the poor in Africa.
Playing a small part in moving the peace process forward in Northern Ireland, something in which I have been involved for many years before becoming an MP.
Being asked to lead the Labour Friends of Iraq, a body dedicated to supporting ordinary Iraqis as they attempt to rebuild their lives.
Playing my part in ensuring that a plan to open cast coal in the Derwent Valley was halted. I am not anti-coal, but we must balance energy needs with environmental damage and, in this case, there was no contest.
Winning the award: Parliamentary Champion for Education and Sport, after being nominated by the anti racist group "Show Racism the Red Card"
Being beaten by Seb Coe in the battle to be the Champion the previous year! Mind you he did win the Olympic bid.
Not being able to prevent the need for increased charges for some bus users in order to implement the concessionary fares scheme, despite closing the funding gap by around £12m.
Being treated as a new boy and having to sit for hours waiting to be called - or not - in debates in the chamber. The voice of the people should be heard equally and not be based on length of service. I am no more important that those who have been in Parliament for decades, but the views of the people of our constituency are at least as important as any others.
It is hard to keep up, but that's why I have increased both the number of staff I employ and increased the hours that they work. My team are excellent and they keep me abreast of issues on the ground while working through case work issues and addressing hundreds of enquires and problems every week.
I hope that I have made our whole operation open to our constituents and let them feel that we are representing them to the best of our ability.
I believe that I have gained the respect of colleagues in the House and they work closely with me on day to day issues.
I believe that I have built alliances with many groups who are prepared to trust me to stand up with them to the benefit of those they represent.
I fall asleep in my chair every night! I walk my dog, drive through our great countryside and spend the time at my caravan in Teesdale.
It's a great privilege to represent the Blaydon constituency, I can think of no greater honour than representing the great communities that we live in. And I want to use that representation to make life better for our people, to play my part in making our world a better place to live in and to fight injustice whenever it occurs.
|Peter Maughan||Liberal Democrat||14,785||37.9|
|Neil Bradbury||Liberal Democrat||13,180||29.25|