Tony McNulty

Anthony James McNulty (born 3 November 1958) is a British politician who was the Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for Harrow East from 1997 to 2010. During his ministerial career, which began in 2003, he was Minister for London and later Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform at the Department for Work and Pensions. He resigned his position on 5 June 2009 after allegations in the press regarding his expenses.

Tony McNulty
Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform
In office
3 October 2008  5 June 2009
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Sec. of StateJames Purnell
Preceded byStephen Timms
Succeeded byJim Knight
Minister of State for London
In office
3 October 2008  5 June 2009
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Sec. of StateHazel Blears
Preceded byTessa Jowell
Succeeded byTessa Jowell
Minister of State for Security, Counter-Terrorism, Crime and Policing
In office
5 May 2006  3 October 2008
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Gordon Brown
Sec. of StateCharles Clarke
Des Browne
Jacqui Smith
Preceded byHazel Blears
Succeeded byVernon Coaker
Minister of State for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality
In office
6 May 2005  5 May 2006
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Sec. of StateCharles Clarke
Preceded byDes Browne
Succeeded byLiam Byrne
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport
In office
13 June 2003  10 September 2004
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Sec. of StateAlistair Darling
Succeeded byCharlotte Atkins
Lord Commissioner of the Treasury
In office
12 June 2001  29 May 2002
Prime MinisterTony Blair
ChancellorGordon Brown
Preceded byJane Kennedy (1999)
Succeeded byPhil Woolas
Member of Parliament
for Harrow East
In office
1 May 1997  12 April 2010
Preceded byHugh Dykes
Succeeded byBob Blackman
Personal details
Born (1958-11-03) 3 November 1958
Kensington, London, England, UK
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Gillian Travers (1994–????; divorced)
Christine Gilbert (2002–present)
Alma materUniversity of Liverpool
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Background, education and early political career

His father migrated to England from County Donegal, Ireland.[1]

McNulty was educated at the Salvatorian College, Wealdstone and at Stanmore Sixth Form College. He graduated from the University of Liverpool with a BA in Political Theory and Institutions and an MA in Political Science from Virginia Tech in the United States. Before becoming an MP, he was leader of the Labour group on Harrow council and a senior lecturer in Organisational Behaviour, at the University of North London from 1983–97. In 1986, he was elected to Harrow Council for Stanmore South ward.[2]

Parliamentary career

McNulty was an unsuccessful Labour candidate for Harrow East in the 1992 general election, but was elected as the constituency's MP in the May 1997 general election. He served as a Whip from 1999 to 2002, following a period as Parliamentary Private Secretary to David Blunkett. McNulty was then appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister with responsibility for neighbourhood renewal, housing and planning. He was moved to the Department for Transport in June 2003 as Parliamentary Under Secretary with responsibility for aviation, local transport, and London, and was promoted to Minister of State with responsibility for Rail and London in September 2004.[3][4]

McNulty moved to the Home Office on 9 May 2005 as Minister of State for Immigration, following the general election reshuffle. In May 2006 his Home Office portfolio changed to responsibility over the policing and crime, security and counter-terrorism.[5] In July 2007, he became a Privy Councillor. In Gordon Brown's reshuffle on 3 October 2008, McNulty moved to become Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform at the Department for Work and Pensions and Minister for London, and was permitted to attend cabinet meetings until his resignation on 5 June 2009. During his period as Minister, McNulty was concerned with benefit fraud suggesting that "we are absolutely determined to stop benefit thieves stealing from the British taxpayer. Our commitment extends beyond the borders of the UK. Even in sunny Spain, we're closing in on benefit fraud".[6]

MPs' expenses controversy

In 2009, McNulty was one of many MPs who were involved in a political scandal following the disclosure of expenses of Members of the United Kingdom Parliament. In March 2009, he admitted claiming expenses on a second home, occupied by his parents, which was 8 miles away from his primary residence, after details appeared in The Mail on Sunday.[7] McNulty asserted that the claim was appropriate, but he ceased claiming the allowances. Subsequently, the Parliament standards committee said that advice from the Fees Office was "mistaken". He was asked to apologise to the House of Commons and repay £13,837,[8] which he did.[9]

In an article headlined "Tony McNulty, Benefit Cheat", Alex Massie in a blog for The Spectator contrasted the statements made by McNulty regarding benefit cheats with his own claims for expenses.[10] On 18 May 2007, McNulty was one of the 98 MPs who voted in favour of exempting parliamentarians from the application of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.[11]

On 5 June 2009, after the revelations in the expenses scandal, McNulty resigned from the government.[12] At the 2010 general election, McNulty lost to Bob Blackman of the Conservative Party.[9]

Personal life

In September 2002, McNulty married Christine Gilbert, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools for Ofsted, in Hammersmith and Fulham. Gilbert was headmistress of Whitmore High School for eight years, starting when she was 32. It was the second marriage for both. McNulty had first married in 1994 to Gillian Travers, who later stood as a Labour candidate for Ruislip-Northwood in 2001.


  1. "Publications and Records".
  2. "Tony McNulty". YourDemocracy.
  3. "Tony McNulty: Electoral history and profile". Archived from the original on 5 March 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  4. "A selection of Tony McNulty's votes". Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  5. "Reid swaps immigration ministers". BBC News. 22 May 2006. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  6. McNulty comments on benefit fraud
  7. "McNulty defends expenses claims". BBC News. 22 March 2009.
  8. Mulholland, Hélène; Wintour, Patrick (29 October 2009). "Tony McNulty apologises after being ordered to repay £13,837 in expenses". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  9. "Expenses casualty Tony McNulty loses Harrow East". London Evening Standard. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  10. Massie, Alex (26 March 2009). "Tony McNulty, Benefit Cheat". The Spectator. London.
  11. "How Your MP voted on the FOI Bill". The Times. London. 20 May 2007. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  12. Rayner, Gordon (6 June 2009). "Tony McNulty quits Government in wake of expenses row". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Hugh Dykes
Member of Parliament for Harrow East
Succeeded by
Bob Blackman
Political offices
Preceded by
Des Browne
as Minister of State for Immigrstion, Citizenship and Counterterrorism
Minister of State for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality Succeeded by
Liam Byrne
as Minister of State for Borders and Immigration
New creation Minister of State for Security, Counterterrorism, Crime and Policing
Succeeded by
Vernon Coaker
Preceded by
Stephen Timms
Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform
Succeeded by
Jim Knight
Preceded by
Tessa Jowell
Minister for London
Succeeded by
Tessa Jowell
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