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Falklands set for ‘peaceful’ relationship with new FCO Overseas Territory official?

Wednesday, June 10th 2009 - 13:29 UTC
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Christopher John Bryant  MP Christopher John Bryant MP

The Falkland Islands may be set to have a more peaceful relationship with the new Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Overseas Territories, than with the last.

Chris Bryant, a former Church of England Curate, replaces Gillian Merron with whom the Falkland Islands Government clashed over the issue of chartered flights, as opposed to scheduled flights, for Argentine Next of Kin visits.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office official, Chris Bryant who is MP for Rhondda in Wales also has responsibility for South America, the Caribbean and Central America and Australasia and the Pacific, as well as Consular policy, the Olympics, Protocol and HR and Diversity.

Chris was born in Cardiff in 1962 and brought up in Cardiff, Spain and Cheltenham. He read English at Mansfield College Oxford (II.1) and Theology at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, before ordination in the Church of England in December 1986. He spent two and a half years as curate at All Saints, High Wycombe, before becoming Youth Chaplain to the diocese of Peterborough.

In 1991 he left the Church to work for the Labor Party and in 1993 he became the Labor Party's Local Government Development Officer. The following year he became London Manager for the educational charity, Common Purpose.

In 1996 he turned to full-time writing, publishing biographies of Stafford Cripps and Glenda Jackson and a history of Christian Socialism (Possible Dreams). From 1998-2000 he was Head of European Affairs at the BBC.

Chris joined the Labor Party in 1986 and was Chair of the Christian Socialist Movement and a Hackney Councilor from 1993-8. He stood as Labor’s candidate in the 1997 General Election in Wycombe, a formerly 'safe' Tory seat which the Conservatives held this time with a mere 2,370 majority.

Following his election as Rhondda's MP in June 2001 he has served on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee of the House of Commons, as well as the Joint Committee of the Lords and Commons on Reform of the House of Lords.

From November 2002 to May 2007 he was Chair of the Labor Movement for Europe.

Chris was re-elected as an MP (with an increased majority) in 2005 and from May 2005 to June 2006 was the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer of Thoroton (Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs).

Chris was the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal; Secretary of State for Equality and Minister for Women and Deputy Leader of the Labor Party from 2007 to 2008 when he was then appointed to the Government in his current post as Deputy Leader of the House of Commons.

He is an Associate of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and a member of the Coop Party, Amnesty International, Amicus and the Fabians.

He speaks fluent Spanish and good French. He lives in Porth in the Rhondda Fach.

By Lisa Johnston – SeAledPR - Stanley

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