Harry Harpham Parliamentary Programme

The Harry Harpham Parliamentary Programme was launched at Congress 2016. Working with the GMB MPs, this programme will help to break down barriers between GMB members, parliament and the political process.

MPs will sign up to take reps on one or two week long work experience programmes where they shadow that MP in their parliamentary/constituency duties. Reps will gain hands on experience of how politics in Westminster/constituency offices work, as they shadow MPs in their daily role.

With another general election in 2015 which saw the percentage of registered voters who did not vote (34%) outweigh those who voted Tory (24%), Labour (20%) or UKIP (8%)  it is increasingly important that we bridge the divide between the lives and experiences of politicians and the rest of us.

Harry Harpham was likely the last deep coal miner to be elected as an MP. A miner at the Nottinghamshire pit, Clipstone Colliery, he stayed out for a full year during the miners’ strike even though many in his area went back to work.

Coming from a very working class background, Harry left school on the Friday and started down the pit on the Monday. When the pits closed, he moved to Sheffield where he did all manner of jobs from working the night shift at WH Smith to being a newspaper dispatcher and working in an advice centre. He got a second chance in education and eventually, studying at Northern College and the University of Sheffield he got a degree in Politics.

Harry believed in the ability of politics to change things. He campaigned against apartheid, he was passionate about the NHS and saw in his own life what poverty did to people, families and communities. But he never sat back and left change to someone else. He was a staunch advocate of getting working people involved in politics and building change for themselves – he always practiced what he preached.                                                                                                                       

If you’d be interested in finding out more and/or would like to sign up to the programme please send the following information by email to your Regional Political Officer or sarah.owen@gmb.org.uk:


GMB Role/Occupation:

Email and postal address:                                                                                              

Phone number:      

Would you like to do 1 week/2 weeks and in September/October/Either (delete as appropriate)                                  

Tell us what you hope to get from the experience:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

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