A short biography of Paul Marsden

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I was born in Frodsham, Cheshire and I loved growing up on the doorstep of the dairy farming plains and the back drop of the sandstone hill to our council house . My father was a distribution manager and my mum was trained as a teacher. My big sister was always there for me growing up. 
 What fine legs on that boy!

I joined the Labour Party at 15 years old and campaigned on green issues early on. At the age of 17 years, the death of my father, Tom was a body blow and suddenly I was having to grow up very quickly. 

I took a Diploma in Building at Mid-Cheshire College and passed with distinction. I was offered a place at Teesside Polytechnic (now University of Teesside) to study civil engineering and passed the first three years including a year as a student engineer at North West Water (now United Utilities). I was elected as Communications Officer in the Students Union for one year in my first election. I campaigned for a Holocaust Remembrance Day and key green issues such as acid rain, recycling and global warming. 

Problems on the home front though meant I withdrew from my final year of civil engineering degree and was lucky to be able to start working for Taylor Woodrow Construction. I worked as an engineer, surveyor and as a Quality Manager. I then moved to the NatWest Bank as a consultant in Telford, Shropshire before being approached to work for Mitel Telecom in Newport, Gwent. 

I was selected as the no hope candidate in Shrewsbury and Atcham and took Labour from third place (in 1992) to win in 1997 with a fantastic team of supporters. I was the first ever Labour MP for the town. I prioritised agriculture, environment, health services and jobs for the first four years. I am very proud of the campaigns that secured £30 million of capital investment including a new wing at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. I was re-elected with an increased majority and had one of the biggest swings in a Labour seat.

9/11 rocked me to my core as I saw the consequences of terrorism and the causes of terrorism. I challenged the Prime Minister to let parliament have a say in deciding on war, but that challenge meant the parting of my loyalty to New Labour and Tony Blair. I became a rebel and the Whips had no idea how to handle me. I have great respect in many way for Tony but he failed to make a stand when it mattered on war. Within three months I was pushed out of the Party and after considering being a Green Party MP (no idea if they would have wanted me) I joined the Liberal Democrats. 

At first I enjoyed the freedom to speak out. In 2002, I visited Malawi and South Africa to highlight the famine sweeping the southern African region. I spoke out on many health issues including cancer care, prison health and mental health. In 2003, I visited the Milosovic trial to lend support to the due process of law in bringing those responsible for crimes against humanity, to justice. In 2004, though after a soul destroying journey in my life away from the public glare I had enough and decided to retire. My heart could not leave Labour and after witnessing undesirable aspects of the Lib Dems, I left and returned to Labour. The first MP since Winston Churchill to “re-rat”.

In 2005, I returned to business consultancy and I wrote the short history book - The Black Friars of Shrewsbury'.

In 2007, I was appointed as Director of Policy at BUAV (the noble group campaigning against animal testing and endorses products at M&S, The Body Shop and the Co-op). I oversaw the development of a new style of campaigning with bespoke marketing materials and I was delighted when the Government agreed to tighten the rules over animal testing of household products.

In 2008, I was appointed as Chief Executive of a trade association the Painting and Decorating Association, which was in a sorry state. I refurbished the head office, invested in new IT and telecoms and provided best practice HR management to the six staff. With video campaigning and a new website the painting and decorating association was well placed to begin to increase the recruitment of business members and raise its profile. 

In 2010, I have set up a new business consultancy and also created the LinkedIn group - 'Friends of Malawi', which became the largest country group for Malawi within a matter of days. I am helping to develop business opportunities in Malawi by raising its profile in a positive way. With new investment from China, new telecommunications and new projects for irrigation this tiny, poor country can develop a robust, sustainable economy. Later in the year I undertook an assignment as Interim Chief Executive of the British Dyslexia Association.

In 2011, I was the Interim Secretary General of the European Painting Contractors Association, UNIEP based in Brussels and the Project Director of a trade conference in Amsterdam. The consultancy work continues to grow from strength to strength with new assignments successfully achieved that are saving costs and improving efficiency for organisations in the private and not-for-profit sectors.