Clare Short was MP for Birmingham Ladywood from 1983 to 2010 and Secretary of State for International Development from 1997 to May 2003. DFID was a new Ministry created after the 1997 general election to promote policies for sustainable development and the elimination of poverty.
Of Irish ancestry, Ms Short was born in Birmingham on 15 February 1946. She was educated at St Paul's Grammar School, Birmingham, and at the Universities of Keele and Leeds. She graduated as Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Political Science.
She previously worked as a Civil Servant at the Home Office, as a Director of Youthaid and the Unemployment Unit and as a Director of AFFOR, a community-based organisation promoting racial equality in Birmingham. She entered the House of Commons in 1983 as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Birmingham Ladywood, which is the area where she was born and grew up.
From 1996 until the 1997 General Election she was Opposition spokesperson on Overseas Development. She was Shadow Minister for Women from 1993 to 1995 and Shadow Secretary of State for Transport from 1995 to 1996. She has been Opposition spokesperson on Environment Protection, Social Security and Employment. She was a member of Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) from 1988 to 1997 and Chair of the NEC Women's Committee from 1993 to 1996.
In 2003, Ms Short resigned from the Government over the Iraq war and in 2006, she resigned the Labour whip.
In November 2004, Ms Short’s book An Honourable Deception? New Labour, Iraq, and the Misuse of Power was published as an attempt to explain why Tony Blair did what he did on Iraq so that lessons could be learned and things put right. In 2005, it was awarded Political Book of the Year by Channel 4.
She stood down from Parliament in 2010, and is now active in various organisations working on slum upgrading in the developing world, transparency in oil, gas and mining, African-led humanitarian action, destitute asylum-seekers in Birmingham, Trade Justice for the developing world and for a just settlement of the Palestinian/ Israeli conflict. She is a trustee of Hope Projects (West Midlands) Ltd, Trade Out of Poverty, the Welfare Association, and Africa Humanitarian Action; and patron of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions UK. She is a member of the Advisory Committee of International Lawyers for Africa. In March 2011 she was elected Chair of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
Widowed with one son, she lists swimming and her family as her main leisure pursuits.
Clare walking in Handsworth Park
Awards won by Clare Short
Order of the Volta Companion
Conferred by the President of the Republic of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufuor in July 2008 in recognition of Clare Short’s outstanding virtues and in appreciation of her services to the country of Ghana in the field of Development Partnership
Channel 4 Political Book of the Year
Awarded in 2005 for Clare Short's book An Honourable Deception? New Labour, Iraq, and the Misuse of Power
Presented by the Wilberforce Lecture Trust on 19 October 2004 for Clare Short’s enduring work furthering International Development, Human Rights and Democracy
Honorary Degree from Bradford University
Clare Short received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Bradford University in July 2004 in recognition of her contribution to the field of International Development
Honorary Fellowship of UNICEF
Awarded to Clare Short in July 2003 in recognition of her exceptional support for UNICEF’s work for children worldwide
Honorary Degree from Newman College of Higher Education
Clare Short received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Newman College of Higher Education, Birmingham in 2003 in recognition of her work for universal primary education
Channel 4 Political Award
Awarded in the category of Politician’s Politician of the Year, 2002
Spectator/Highland Park Award
Awarded in the category of Campaigning MP of the Year, 1992