February's Supper Club is delighted to welcome guest speaker Chris Mullin, former Labour MP and political diarist.
Join our monthly supper club with great speakers from around the UK.
Chris Mullin was born in Essex in 1947. He attended boarding school in Suffolk before reading Law at the University of Hull, where he edited Hull Fire, the student newspaper, read the Daily Telegraph and dressed like a fogey. His political shift leftwards was in response to the Vietnam War.
On graduation, he joined the Daily Mirror as a trainee before joining the World In Action team. Chris was pivotal in the release of the Birmingham Six. Between 1982 and 1984, Chris was editor of The Tribune, providing effective support to Tony Benn and sought to turn The Tribune into a workers' cooperative, much to the annoyance of its shareholders.
After two unsuccessful attempts at standing for Parliament in 1970 and 1974, Chris was first elected MP for Sunderland South in 1987 and was returned at every subsequent election until 2005. He did not stand in 2010.
Chris was to the left of the Labour Party. A confirmed Bennite, his selection for the Sunderland South seat attracted criticism from Neil Kinnock. Throughout the late 1980s, Chris was targeted by the right wing press for his left wing views. Typical headlines included, '20 things you didn't know about crackpot Chris', 'Loony Lefty MP', and 'Is this the most odious man in Britain?'
His constituency was the first to declare in every general election between 1992 and his standing down in 2010 Mullin jokes about being the UK's sole MP for a few minutes and muses about forming a government.
During his time in Parliament, Chris was a member of the Socialist Campaign Group and the All-Party Parliamentary Republic Group, Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Vietnam and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Cambodia, Member of the Home Affairs Select Committee (1992–97), Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee (1997–99).
Despite his criticism of the government, he replaced Alan Meale as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the DETR in July 1999 before taking over from George Foulkes as Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for International Development in 2001. He later returned to government in June 2003, as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, but after the 2005 election again returned to the backbenches.
Since stepping down from Parliament, Chris teaches a module at Newcastle University called 'The Rise and Fall of New Labour'.
Outside of Parliament Chris is a renown writer and diarist. His novel A Very British Coup was published in 1982 and screened in 1988. He has published three volumes of widely praised diaries that described the progress of "New Labour" from the death of the party leader John Smith in 1994 to the 2010 general election: A View From the Foothills (2009) (recounting Mullin's ministerial career from 1999–2005), Decline & Fall: Diaries 2005–2010 (2010) and A Walk-On Part: Diaries 1994–1999 (2011). Among others things, Mullin recorded his gradual disillusion with the Labour Party's left-wing and his rather reluctant support, after Smith's death, for fellow North-Eastern MP Tony Blair (whom he dubbed "The Man") as the person most likely to lead the party back to power. All three volumes were adapted for the stage by Michael Chaplin as A Walk on Part.
Guests will enjoy a meal of vegetarian starter, main, side (from the menu) and popadum. Drinks are available to purchase at the restaurant.
Tickets cost £20 per person to include a contribution to the Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party and are available online (scroll down). See the menu here.
Please contact Nicky if you would like details of how to purchase tickets via bank transfer or buy cheque.