(b. 1957) Born in 1957 the son of a Yorkshire veterinary surgeon, Alistair Campbell cites living in the Pennines, about equidistant from Bradford, Leeds and Burnley for the first 11 years of his life, as the reason for his avid support of Burnley Football Club. His family moved to live in Leicester in 1968. Later, he read modern languages at Cambridge University and by the age of 29 he had already worked for a number of publications as a journalist, including the Sunday Today newspaper, and under the pseudonym “the Riviera Gigolo”, for the pornography magazine Forum , writing from France. His career in the media continued successfully and he soon became political editor of the Daily Mirror . By 1994 he had moved from his job as political editor of the Mirror to take a major pay cut to work for Tony Blair, then the Labour Leader of the Opposition. He had also been one of the former Labour leader Neil Kinnock’s closest advisers. With the Labour election victory in 1997, he became the prime minister’s chief press secretary and began to create a formidable press office where he emerged as the government’s brightest and most influential so-called ‘spin doctors’. Campbell resigned as Press Secretary after the heated confrontation with the BBC concerning details of the reasons for Britain’s involvement in the second Iraq war in 2003. He faced intense investigations to explain major discrepancies in the evidence which he had originally given to the Hutton Inquiry into the suicide of weapons expert, David Kelly. It was alleged that Campbell had actively played down the number of changes he asked intelligence chiefs to make to the controversial “sexed-up” dossier on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. In this way, it was alleged, Campbell intentionally created a bias to the final report in favour of Britain going to war in Iraq, in line with the prime minister’s wishes, but probably without his knowledge. Alistair Campbell continues as a supporter of Burnley FC and is currently pursuing a career in broadcasting.
(Born 1940) John Stalker was a celebrated senior Manchester policeman who came to the fore of public attention during the so-called “shoot-to-kill” scandal in Northern Ireland in the mid-1980s. He had previously been a beat cop before transferring to the CID and quickly rising to the rank of Detective Superintendent. Later he had joined the Serious Crime Squad, the Bomb Squad and the Drugs Squad. In 1978, he was made head of Warwickshire CID – at 38, then the country’s youngest Detective Chief Superintendent. Later he was appointed as Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, working under Chief Constable James Anderton, at a time when it became the largest provincial police force in the country with over 10,000 staff covering a population of three million. He specialised in the study of world crime and terrorism and worked for 2 years in Northern Ireland. Here, somewhat controversially, he revealed an alleged Royal Ulster Constabulary “shoot-to-kill” policy, much to the embarrassment of the authorities, his superiors and the British government, and was probably the victim of a ‘dirty tricks’ campaign to discredit him. Accusations alleged he had attended social events where members of the so-called “Quality Street gang” were present, and he was subsequently suspended from duty. The Quality Street gang were said to be a group of Manchester’s leading criminals involved in everything from serious crime to running arms to the IRA. In the event he was absolutely cleared of misconduct in 1986 and was immediately reinstated. John Stalker now writes regularly for several newspapers including the Sunday Times, Sunday Express, the Observer and the Daily Telegraph and his book “Stalker” is a best seller with worldwide sales of over 400,000. He appears regularly on GMTV and is an adviser to several TV current affairs programmes. He has appeared as a panellist on BBC TV’s “Question Time” and “Have I got News for You” and a special guest on the “Harry Enfield Show”. For six years he presented “Crimestalker” for Central Television as well as “Inside Crime” for Carlton Television. He now regularly presents seminars and conferences for large companies and is a popular after dinner speaker. He has for many years been a front-man celebrity presenter for a major awnings and blinds company’s television commercials. John Stalker currently lives on a farm in the Cheshire countryside.
(Born 1949) Neil Hamilton was born 1949 in Wales. His father was a mining engineer who moved to Ammanford with the National Coal Board in the 1950s and Hamilton was brought up there, being educated at Amman Valley Grammar School. Next he went on to Aberystwyth University to study Economics and later obtained a law degree at Trinity College, Cambridge, becoming a barrister in 1979. In 1983 he was elected Member of Parliament for the Cheshire Constituency of Tatton, (then) a safe Tory seat. He had quickly risen through the ranks to become a government whip and corporate affairs minister. Hamilton’s name first came to public attention over the so-called “cash for questions” scandal in the House of Commons. So devastating to Tory fortunes was this scandal that in 1998 party leader William Hague named him as one of the MPs who had brought the party into disrepute and asked him not to attend that year’s Conservative Conference. Hamilton subsequently went to court to try to salvage his reputation, but lost his case and failed to throw off accusations of “Tory sleaze”. The former MP had wanted to clear his name of accusations that he had accepted envelopes stuffed with cash from Harrods boss Mohamed Al Fayed in exchange for asking parliamentary questions. The allegations effectively ended his ministerial career and he was forced to resign in 1994 from his post as a junior minister in the Department of Trade and Industry. In 1997 an official parliamentary inquiry concluded that he had been guilty and that the evidence that he had taken cash from Al Fayed for asking questions was said to be “compelling”. The amounts involved were said to be in the region of £25,000. In the 1997 General Election, Hamilton lost his parliamentary seat to Independent candidate and former BBC journalist, Martin Bell – whom he had scornfully dubbed “the Man in the White Suit”. Eventually, Hamilton was declared bankrupt and the Old Rectory, their home at Nether Alderley, was put up for sale. Neil Hamilton and his wife Christine have subsequently made a career out television ‘celebrity’ appearances on such shows as “Have I got News for You” , ” Celebrity Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” and “I’m a Celebrity – Get Me out of Here!” Christine Hamilton is a sought-after regular on the after dinner speaker circuits. In recent times, both he and his wife Christine have become active members of the United Kingsom Independence Party (UKIP).
Michael Meacher MP
(Born 1939) Born on 4th November 1939, Michael Meacher was Minister of State for the Environment and Privy Councillor from May 1997 to June 2003. He was educated at Berkhamstead School, New College Oxford and the London School of Economics. He joined the Labour Party in 1962 and has been Labour Member of Parliament Oldham West and Royton since 1970. He contested Colchester in 1966 and Oldham West in 1968. In a long political career, Meacher has held many government and opposition posts, including:
Under Secretary for Industry, 1974-75
Under Secretary for Health and Social Security, 1975-79
Candidate for Labour Party Deputy Leadership, 1983
Member of Labour Party National Executive Committee 1983-89
Member of Shadow Cabinet 1983-1997
Principal Opposition Front Bench Spokesman on Health and Social Security 1983-87
Principal Opposition Front Bench Spokesman on Employment 1987-89
Principal Opposition Front Bench Spokesman on Social Security 1989-92
Principal Opposition Front Bench Spokesman on Overseas Development and Co-operation 1992-93
Principal Opposition Front Bench Spokesman on Citizen’s Charter and Science 1993-94
Principal Opposition Front Bench Spokesman on Transport 1994-95
Principal Opposition Front Bench Spokesman on Employment 1995-96
Principal Opposition Front Bench Spokesman on Environmental Protection 1996-97
He is a Parliamentary representative and member of UNISON. He was a member of the Select Committee on the Treasury and Civil Service (1981-83). His other affiliations are the Fabian Society, SERA and the Child Poverty Action Group. His hobbies include reading, sport and music. He and his wife Lucianne have 2 sons and 2 daughters.
(1787- 1864) William Hulton entered the pages of history as the Manchester magistrate who ordered in the troops at the Peterloo Massacre of 1819. William was born the son of William and Jane Hulton, on 23rd October 1787 at the family home at Hulton Park, the son of the High Sheriff of Lancashire. He was educated at Brasenose College, Cambridge and married to his cousin Maria Ford who bore him 13 children. On the death of his father William inherited all the family estates, which included substantial coal-mining interests at Westhoughton as well as extensive land holdings in Harpurhey and Denton. He was to become a strict disciplinarian and a tough taskmaster to his employees. By the age of 24, like his father before him, he had become High Sheriff of Lancashire and within a year he had formally arrested 12 people when Luddites set alight a weaving mill in Westhoughton. Four of them, (Job Fletcher, Thomas Kerfoot, James Smith and Abraham Charlston – the latter no more than 12 years of age), were hanged for their pains. Another man was transported to Australia for seven years for “administering unlawful oaths”. By 1819 Hulton was Chairman of Lancashire and Cheshire magistrates. It was he who read the Riot Act on St Peter’s Fields and committed cavalry of the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry to attack a peaceful crowd who had assembled to hear orator Henry Hunt speak. The carnage and atrocity of the so-called “Peterloo Massacre” was to dog him for the rest of his days, though he refused to accept that he had done anything wrong. Hulton was staunchly set against trades unions and refused to employ any union member in his mills, which brought him into continual conflict with workers and employees. His Westhoughton mill was best by strikes. Hulton never lived down the infamy of Peterloo in the eyes of radicals and working men. During several parliamentary elections he was jeered at and met with public chants of “Peterloo! Peterloo!” So vehement was public disfavour that, though offered a safe parliamentary Tory seat in 1820 he felt compelled to decline the offer. However, Hulton went on to play an important role in the development of George Stephenson’s Bolton-Leigh Railway in 1825. William Hulton died in 1864 .