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Dennis Turner, Baron Bilston (1942-2014)

Former Labour MP for Wolverhampton South-East and Patron of Humanists UK

Born in 1942, Dennis Turner became a Life Peer in 2005 after a very varied career. He was a market trader and steelworker and served for 11 years as a Wolverhampton councillor, including seven years as deputy leader of the council, before entering Parliament in 1987. He served widely on select committees in the 1980s and 1990s, but his most direct impact on the life of the Commons came from his role as chairman of the catering committee, which has responsibility for Westminster’s restaurants and bars. One of his recreations was beer tasting and he once introduced a private member’s bill seeking to clarify “the legal amount of froth at the top of a pint of beer.”

He was an opposition whip for Labour between 1992 and 1997 but never held ministerial office, although he was PPS to former International Development Secretary Clare Short. A former union activist, he was on the left of the party but his loyalty to New Labour was demonstrated in his formal positions.

A brief Wikipedia biography can be found at

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